Archive for ‘South Africa’ Category


Facebook Zero and Lite for low bandwidth connections.

February 26th, 2010

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Great news for Africa and other areas with low bandwidth coverage. Facebook already has a Lite version which is a stripped down version making it a lot faster when you don’t have a fast connection. This site still covers most of Facebook’s options, including photos, but is significantly faster and ideal for slower and poor internet connections.

And now Facebook is planing an even “lighter” version called Zero. A spokesman for Facebook said: “We are discussing it… as an option to make Facebook on the mobile web available to everyone, anywhere and allow operators to encourage more mobile internet usage” The Zero version will be text only so the speed and data usage will be much better. Especially for African countries where mobile data costs are extremely high and connection speed often also relatively slow. Facebook said the new site “omits data intensive applications like photos”.

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Apple, Android, and RIM winners in 2009 smartphone growth, Nokia and Symbian still dominate

February 23rd, 2010

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A few interesting numbers according to a recent study by Gartner and an article by Thomas Ricker on Engadget.

Globally about 20% more smartphones were sold in 2009 whilst overall mobile phone sales remained roughly the same. Smartphones still only represent 15% of the overall market but that is obviously changing quickly.

Apple more than doubled its sales whilst RIM grew by close to 50%. Android has gone from nowhere to the 5th largest smartphone OS.

Despite impressive growth of the above Symbian is by far the largest (nearly as large as all other OS put together !!!) although not growing as fast as the other three. The new Symbian 3 OS could change all.  Microsoft is actually selling less but I expect they should turn things around with the new Windows 7 OS coming later this year and stay in the picture.

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The world’s cheapest phone coming to South Africa?

February 18th, 2010

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If you are reading the Nimbuzz blogs you will know that the World Mobile Congress 2010 is taking place in Barcelona. One of the exciting bits of news is that Vodafone, and so hopefully Vodacom soon too, announced the “world’s cheapest phone” which at todays exchange will sell for R115.

What will you get for this:

  • 5 hours of battery
  • SMS
  • 2 games
  • a tourch :)

For an extra R40 you will get a Vodafone 250 with a larger colour screen and a FM radio.

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The FIFA World Cup 2010 – Soccer City Johannesburg

February 2nd, 2010

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As promised in December this is the first in the series. I want to give you a short overview of the stadium, the city and useful facts you as a Nimbuzz user might need.

This is the largest stadium in South Africa with a capacity of 94.000. I is located just south-west of the city centre of Johannesburg with good access from the highways.

Both the opening game and the final will be played here and the countries that are sure of playing here in the group round are South Africa, Mexico, Holland, Denmark, Argentina, Korea Republic, Brazil, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Germany. The stadium is the home of the Orlando Pirates and the infamous Vuvuzela is heard a lot here!

Johannesburg is a vibrant city and I am always amazed how sophisticated the city is. All over the city, in every neighbourhood you will find plenty of places with lots of restaurants and bars. If you stick to the main areas and be observant and careful there should be no major security concerns.

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What I used to want and what I want now – old versus new!

January 29th, 2010

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For me as a fan of many Apple products this was a week I was looking forward to for some time now. On the day of the “big news” I read a review about the Sony Ericsson Aino Touch Phone on Chris Rawlinson’s blog. It reminded me of the days when I was a huge fan of anything that was Sony and Ericsson. My first mobile phone in 1994 was a Ericsson GH377 which did not even allow SMS although it was very much the same size as most mobile phones now. Look at that beautiful little gadget:

thumbgh337I was living in London at the time and still vividly remember during a trip to Holland how a friend thought it was impossible to have a phone so small and thought it was some kind of practical joke, even after she made a call to one of her friends. Ten years later I bought a P910 and then a P990 with which I was able to listen to radio, take photos and browse the internet on a colour screen. Now, only a few years later all that is “normal” but then it was pretty revolutionary.

Nokia and (Sony)Ericsson were only a very short while ago the manufacturers of nearly all “must-have” phones but they have made way for Blackberry’s, Androids and iPhones. Although Nokia is still global market leader in mobile phone sales.

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Use your cellphone when travelling (to South Africa)!

January 26th, 2010

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South Africa is becoming more and more a popular destination for travellers and holiday makers. And while we are travelling most of us still like to stay in touch with the world we left behind. One of the recent Nimbuzz polls showed that most people are afraid of unknown and large costs related to keeping that connection. I will cover some general tips and a few South Africa specific tips in the following. I know now from experience that my communications costs when travelling can stay at roughly the same level as when I am at home.

1. If you use your home sim-card you will be charged for international roaming. Roaming charges are extremely expensive so try to limit your use. Be aware that email and internet browsing incur international data roaming charges that can be a few dollars per MB so webpages or emails with attachments will cost you a few dollars for each email or webpage you receive on your phone!! On most phones you can deactivate international data roaming and I advise you to do this before your trip starts!

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Google phone Nexus One in South Africa?

January 14th, 2010

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One of the big questions everyone is asking is when the Nexus One will be available in South Africa. News24 reported that it will be nowhere soon.

I really don’t want to settle for that answer and looking at the specs (via imod.co.za) and the live demo with Nimbuzz below I am sure you are at least interested. I want one, or at least play with one for a while !!

Google will soon be making street view available for South Africa…. imagine replacing your boring GPS maps for satellite images and street views of where you are going! And then there is Wave, which seems to have gone from a 15 footer to a 2 foot wave, but nonetheless highly anticipated by me at least.

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Use Nimbuzz when visiting the FIFA 2010 World Cup football.

December 7th, 2009

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On Friday evening I went down to Long Street in Cape Town to celebrate the draw for the 2010 World Cup football with 50.000 other enthusiasts from South Africa and many other nations competing in this event.

When I left I was so proud of the display of South Africa I was on a high all weekend. The party that lasted all day saw no negative incidents worth mentioning (sorry tabloids :) ) and showed the world what a fantastic month of football and festivities we are going to be witnessing next year.

Subsequently the latest batch of tickets was released and over the last few days hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have applied for tickets to come and watch their favourite teams and celebrate with us in South Africa.

Many of these people will also be Nimbuzz fans who will be able to keep those who stay at home up to date on their undoubtedly unforgettable trip at minimal costs.

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FIFA World Cup 2010 fever is starting!!

October 23rd, 2009

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I live in Cape Town which is one of the cities in South Africa where the FIFA World cup 2010 is going to be staged. In another 6 weeks the world of football is going to descend here for the draw on December the 4th. We will then know which teams and their supporters will be visiting us here in June next year.

It is expected that 500.000 supporters will be arriving in South Africa next year and we are all very excited to have you here and I hope your team will have a chance to play here in Cape Town. If you are planning to come here you are obviously going to want to keep the home front up to date with what is happening and send them updates and pictures. You will want to call them from the middle of all the excitement to  share your experiences with them. If you have Nimbuzz on your cellphone you will be able to make use of South Africa’s impressive 3G coverage and services, as well as numerous WIFI points of which many are free, to make free or very low cost calls using Nimbuzz and it’s mobile VOIP capabilities. You will be able to chat with them and send pictures to all your friends no matter on which IM they are, whether it’s on Skype, Facebook, MSN, Yahoo, AIM, Myspace and or many more. So make sure you and your friends and family who are staying home have Nimbuzz on their phone and you will be able to keep them up to date with live coverage of your experiences in beautiful South Africa during the FIFA World cup.

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Poll Results: International Phone Calls

September 15th, 2009

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Thanks for your votes at the last poll. Half of you spend more than an hour on international calls each month. That can be a costly activity with South African telephony rates. Hopefully these will come down soon especially now the media (did you see Carte Blanche on Sunday?) is focussing on this subject.
I read an article this morning in Venturebeat that Mobile VOIP is driving net neutrality. A few interesting things in this article are:

“Making telephone calls (that have the same quality as a landline) over Wi-Fi takes up, on average, 24-32 Kbps. An HD voice call made via WiFi takes around 22- 96Kbps. The difference, you can see, is negligible.

HD voice, for those new to the concept, is telephone voice quality similar to digital or FM radio. Regular telephone quality, using this analogy, is akin to listening to AM radio while you drive under a bridge.

So while mobile VoIP appears to pose a challenge to the $692.6 billion global mobile voice market, there’s also a huge market opportunity for carriers. Data usage would rise dramatically, helping offset any loss in mobile voice minutes. Consumers, meanwhile, would have a superior telephone quality with HD voice.

Mass-market mobile messaging solutions that aggregate popular instant messaging and social network communities are pioneering the way. Some, like Nimbuzz, are offering one-click access to instant messaging and mobile VoIP calls with HD voice quality.

Nimbuzz users make more than 200 million VoIP calls each year, and the company is growing at a rate of one million users per month. This clearly demonstrates a demand for VoIP/HD voice. And, like Skype in the early days of VoIP, small companies focusing on it are growing at exponential rates.”