Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tech News around South Africa

Samsung introduces Daily News with their Smart TV's

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – November 22, 2013  – Building on Samsung’s innovative Smart TV experience, Samsung Electronics South Africa today announces the launch of the NewsON panel, providing easy access to timely news information and content straight to Samsung Smart TVs in South Africa. With a click of a remote users have immediate access, even in low bandwidth environments, to the day’s most popular news and weather reports, ensuring Samsung TV consumers are well informed.

NewsON is freely available for Samsung Smart TV owners via the Samsung Smart Hub. This new feature offers a snapshot of the latest news and weather via Yahoo - the first partner for the NewsON panel. Allowing users to click through, see story summaries and full articles or streaming news video clips. This interactive interface provides the most important local stories as well as weather reports for all the main cities in South Africa, with Flickr photos in the background. By updating the Smart TV firmware to version 1112.6 higher, consumers will be able to access the new NewsON panel.

"Samsung believes in making solutions that are not only technologically innovative but provide its customers with convenience that enriches their lives. NewsON is another example of this and will keep consumers updated with local and international news in the comfort of their living room," says Lance Berger, Head of Product Marketing TV/AV at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

"By enhancing the Smart Hub, Samsung is further providing innovative capabilities to its products that give users immediate benefits that positively impact their daily lives” continues Berger.

NewsON gives users a more connected life by providing readily accessible and relevant local content. This new feature is part of Samsung’s commitment to expanding the TV experience beyond simply watching television and movies, and to bring knowledge, news and the most immersive entertainment experience to everyone, everywhere.

(Source - Samsung) 

Vodacom recognised as Best Performer on JSE SRI Index

Vodacom, South Africa’s largest mobile operator, was one of six companies recognised as a Best Performer company on the JSE’s Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index. 

Vodacom is the only ICT company to be recognised as a Best Performer on the SRI Index.

The mobile operator qualified as a Best Performer in the low environmental impact category. The index recognises those companies that regard society, governance and environment as an integral part of their corporate strategy, and ultimately share this information transparently in their reporting.

(Source - Vodacom) 

Bringing home the “Holiday Magic” this December
A rugby trip to New Zealand and an opportunity to meet Pat Lambie is up for grabs

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – November 26, 2013 – Samsung South Africa has launched an exciting promotion to bring the ‘Holiday Magic’ to its consumers this Festive Season. The promotion provides great added value when purchasing any Smart TV, wireless audio product, Blu-ray DVD player or home theatre system at Samsung Experience Stores and leading retail outlets, nationwide.  

“The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to buy gifts and spoil loved ones. We too at Samsung would like to reward our loyal consumers by adding a little extra Holiday Magic to their lives. Consumers will receive 10 free movie rentals from Samsung Video Hub and the free NewsOn panel with every Smart TV purchased. With the purchase of any wireless audio product, consumers will receive three months free unlimited access to Simfy Africa; and with the purchase of any Samsung Blu-ray or home theatre product, they will receive four free movie rentals from Mr Video,” says Lance Berger, Head of Product Marketing for TV/AV at Samsung Electronics South Africa.    

When purchasing any of the above mentioned products, consumers also stand the chance to win a trip to New Zealand valued at R70 000 and the opportunity to meet and share the experience with rugby star Pat Lambie, who has become a much loved rugby icon to many South Africans. As one of its Brand Ambassadors, Samsung wanted to give fans the opportunity to stand a chance to meet Lambie and enjoy the experience of watching a live rugby game with him in New Zealand.

The Samsung Holiday Magic competition was launched on the 15 November 2013, and ends on the 15 January 2014

(Ts & Cs Apply) 

(Source - Samsung) 

Samsung Unveils Rhino Crime Fighting App
Using Smart Technologies to combat rhino poaching with the eRhODIS™ App

Johannesburg, December 04, 2013 – Samsung Electronics South Africa is the exclusive technology partner for the Rhinoceros DNA Index System (RhODIS®) - established by the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria. RhODIS® was developed as a forensic tool to assist in addressing the current rhino poaching crisis in South Africa by linking recovered rhinoceros horn to poaching cases which has supported in the successful prosecution of poachers and wildlife crime syndicates.

The mobile application, which provides the information technology backbone to support RhODIS®, was unveiled at the recent international DNA training workshop held at the South African Wildlife College in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).

South Africa is currently facing a crisis as the number of rhinos killed has increased drastically. This can be seen in the large leap from 333 rhinos poached in 2010 to 860 this year. The report further showed that the Kruger National Park continues to bear the brunt of rhino poaching, as reported by the DEA this month. The continued fight against rhino poaching has united the nation – with valiant and well-coordinated efforts implemented by government, law enforcement agencies, South African National Parks and private organisations.

Craige Fleischer, Director of Mobile Communications at Samsung Electronics South Africa explains, “The availability of eRhODIS™ will enhance data accuracy, increase access of information to authorities and have a positive impact in convicting criminals of these crimes. Samsung is honoured to be in a position to contribute innovative technology solutions aimed at supporting this great cause and assist in protecting South Africa’s wildlife, and more specifically the rhino.”

The eRhODIS™ mobile app is used to gather DNA evidence, geographical data and upload photographs. Collected information has already been used as evidence to support several cases involving poachers and traffickers. It links the suspect to a specific crime scene through matching DNA from recovered horns and weapons used to kill animals. The database also includes DNA profiles of live rhinoceros and horn in stockpiles, which further provides a powerful tool for authorities to trace and link each animal and horn individually. The archive presently includes over 10 000 samples from black and white rhinoceros from all over Africa.

The eRhODIS™ app has been designed to guide the user through the standard procedure of collecting samples and completing required data fields. It is intended to support the use of the rhinoceros sampling kits developed as part of the project and is available to all investigators, the environmental management inspectorate, veterinarians and officials trained and authorised to use the RhODIS
Ò kits.

During a rhino poaching investigation, data is initially collected at the crime scene. Equipped with a Samsung GALAXY Note 8 loaded with the application, investigators are able to collect data related to the DNA evidence and upload information to a secure cloud server as soon as the device is within network range. The laboratory receives this information instantly and is able to view who submitted the report. A completed sample collection form, in PDF format, is emailed to the investigator which is then printed and added as a paper copy to the evidence bag with samples for submission to the laboratory.

Dr Cindy Harper, Director of the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of Pretoria, said, “RhODISÒ continues to play a vital role in fighting rhinoceros crime in South Africa and its implementation and utilisation internationally could play a key role in bringing people and syndicates involved in wildlife crime to book.”

“There is an urgent need to curb rhino poaching in South Africa and we are proud to be associated with this project that assists with the prevention and combat of environmental crime. Conservation success depends on innovative private and public sector partnerships which offer accelerated access and exchange of information to link groups involved in environmental offences to specific offenses,” concludes Fleischer.

(Source - Samsung) 
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

BBM Channels Launching and Samsung partners with Danny K

Today BBM Channels, a forum for active, real conversations between people, brands and communities, will be made available for BlackBerry users on BlackBerry OS 5 and above and BlackBerry 10 through BlackBerry World. BlackBerry users can simply update to the newest version of BBM to have access to the BBM Channels beta when it becomes available later today.*

BBM Channels builds on BBM’s strengths of engagement and communications and gives BBM users a rich community-building tool that will allow them to connect with brands, influencers and people of shared interests.

BBM Channels maintains the BBM core value of giving users’ control over their content by allowing users to join or opt out of channels at their discretion and gives channel owners the ability to deliver content their communities are looking for. Channel owners can post messages, share pictures, spark discussions, post animated GIFs and chat directly with subscribers.  Integrated live chat allows channel owners to offer “scheduled chat hours” where BBM users can directly engage with their favorite channels one on one.

During the limited beta for BBM Channels that began on May of 2013 we have seen people creating channels based on their passions and building communities with each other. This broader beta will give BlackBerry users the chance to try out a growing number of channels and build their communities, either through their own channel or through new contacts made through shared interests on other channels.  

This beta period is also a great time for notable brands to test content and engage with users. For instance, Toronto Maple Leafs fans can go behind the scenes via the Leafs’ BBM Channel to get up close and personal with the team and engage in genuine conversations around their shared passion for Leafs hockey. In return, the Maple Leafs are seeing strong user engagement on BBM Channels.

Another example is PriceCheck, which lets its customers do fast and relevant searches of product listings from trusted brands and credible vendors. Through PriceCheck’s BBM Channel bargain hunters can stay up to date on featured offers and competitions. Customers can also engage by sharing online shopping tips and great bargains.

BBM Channels for iPhone and Android devices will launch in the coming months.

For more information on BBM Channels, please visit

(Source - Blackberry) 

Samsung Partners with Danny K 

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – November 22, 2013 – Samsung Electronics South Africa has partnered with music maestro Danny K on the release of his new album “Good Look”. The multi-award winning artist’s latest album will be available from 25th of November, and Samsung GALAXY smartphone users will have direct access to the album through the Danny K Good Look app, at no cost. This initiative makes Danny K the first South African musician to launch an album through a mobile application.

“Technology has changed the way people interact, discover and listen to music and Samsung is proud to be at the forefront of the mobile experience that pays tribute to local artists,” says Craige Fleischer, Director of Mobile Communications at Samsung Electronics SA.

Samsung SA has purchased twenty thousand copies of “Good Look” and loyal music fans are able to download the full Danny K album for free, exclusively to their Samsung Galaxy devices for one month. This is Danny K’s sixth album, including hits such as Brown Eyes - that rocketed to the top of the 5FM, YFM, MTV and Trace charts in South Africa.

“Not only will this innovative launch set the backdrop for upcoming collaborations, but similarly break new ground in the way music is embraced and consumed in South Africa,” concludes Craige.

Danny K Good Look app is compatible with GALAXY smartphone devices that run Android 4.0 (Ice-Cream Sandwich) and above. Data charges may apply, as determined by local operators and service providers. T&C’s apply.

(Source - Samsung) 
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Look out for the Samsung Photography Club Roadshow in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 26, 2013 – Samsung Electronics South Africa, a leader in digital media and convergence technologies, in partnership with award winning and internationally acclaimed photographer, Michael Meyersfeld will be hosting the Samsung Photography Club roadshow. These events will showcase the NX Range including the newly launched Galaxy NX, while sharing insights and trends with photography enthusiast. The roadshow will kick off today 26 November in Johannesburg and will extend to Durban on the 3rdDecember and end in Cape Town on the 13th December.

The GALAXY NX is the latest and most connected compact system camera (CSC), with an Android operating system offering Wi-Fi connectivity to allow uploading, sharing and users are able to post directly to social media sites from the device.  The camera helps you to deliver the most out of your photography with mirror-less technology - encompassing faster, smarter, lighter and smaller features that personify ’BLISS’ in photography.  

“The art of photography is one that is constantly changing and with innovative technologies, we are able to meet these dynamic changes. Samsung is proud to bring this advanced digital technology to Photography Clubs around the country and offer the ultimate experience in compact system cameras,” said Michael Gibson, Business Leader: Digital Imaging at Samsung Electronics South Africa. 

The Photography Club roadshow will include informative discussions with Michael Meyersfeld and the digital imaging team from Samsung, showcasing a wide range of demonstrations – including not only the GALAXY NX but the entire Samsung NX range, namely: the award winning NX300, the NX1100 and NX2000. The technical team will also be on hand to answer questions and offer practical advice.

Advanced sensor technology will bring pictures to life and engineered with Hybrid Autofocus (phase detection plus contrast), the GALAXY NX’s 20.3MP APS-C CMOS sensor delivers high-quality images and lifelike colors with the highest resolution in its class. The sensor in the mirror-less system lens produces incredible depth-of-field and out-focusing effects. Measuring 23.5mm x 15.7mm, the sensor captures the most light to create beautiful, noise-free pictures and video.

“Through these roadshows we hope to provide valuable insight for photo enthusiasts and amateurs alike. Samsung empowers consumers to be able to capture great moments, to create everlasting memories, anywhere and anytime. With this range of cameras, photography is truly fun, pleasurable, rewarding and pure bliss,” concludes Gibson.

(Source - Samsung) 

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tech News from Around South Africa

BBM Welcomes over 20 Million New Active Users in the First Week

After the amazing launch of BBM on Android and iPhone devices, with more than 10 million downloads in the first 24 hours, BBM has now ended its first week with more than 80 million monthly active users, including over 20 million new users on Android and iPhone devices.

Useful Links
Inside BlackBerry Blog – BBM posts

(Source - Blackberry) 

Samsung and Mindset Network Partner to enhance the education experience

In line with the Metric Examinations which kicked off yesterday, Samsung Electronics South Africa a leader in mobile technology and digital solutions are proud to announce their partnership with the Mindset Network aimed at assisting learners nationwide with revision and guidance to master particular concepts in subjects such as Mathematics and Science. Students with an eligible Samsung GALAXY device will be able to access Samsung’s Learning Hub and browse free content and revision material for Grade 10 – 12’s, until  31 December 2013.

 During the promotion period, 50% of the content can be accessed at no cost, where course material retails for R8.37 per piece. The revision resource focuses on providing overviews and summaries of the most difficult and yet important sections of the exam paper.

Seventy two live shows are scheduled across 4 channels viz, DSTV, Top TV, ETV’s new Open View HD and Sentech’s Freevision channel featuring the Samsung Note 10.1, Learning Hub and instructions on how to get the content at the beginning of the show – with the assistance of a live demonstration. 

Content is currently available for:
·         Grade 10, 11, 12 Mathematics
·         Grade 10, 11, 12 Maths Literacy
·         Grade 10, 11, 12 Physical Sciences
·         Grade 10, 11, 12 Life Sciences
·         Grade 12 English FAL
·         Grade 12 Geography

DSTV Channel 319
·         Grade 10 revision at 16:00 to 16:59 Monday to Thursday
·         Grade 11 revision at 17:00 to 17:59 Monday to Thursday
·         Grade 12 revision at 18:00 to 18:59 Monday to Thursday

For more info visit

(Source - Samsung) 

The winners of the 2013 Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards nationally are:

2013 CSI/Sustainability winner
Sipho Kings of the Mail & Guardian for his critical look at how a biofuel project was not worth the costs in terms of agriculture and issues affecting people. Kings’ exposition showed that CSI/Sustainability reporting requires journalists to dig deep, to move away from desks and press releases and to apply critical thinking and investigation into stories. Kings, who was the regional winner in the category for the Northern Region, wins for his exposition of a biofuel plant entitled Biofuel Plant Backfires on Community.

2013 Financial/Economic winner
Jacques Pauw takes the national prize in this category, after winning the award in the Northern Region, for his coverage of alleged tender irregularities surrounding the construction of stadiums for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. His coverage in Rapport/City Press Nes van Bedrog, shows how journalism can act as a watchdog when the journalist is prepared to look beyond the hype and excitement of an event such as the World Cup and take a long, hard look at the facts. 

2013 Online winner
Greg Marinovich of the Daily Maverick takes this award. His coverage of the Marikana Massacre, The Murder Fields of Marikana, stood out for the manner in which he combined traditional media values of meticulous professionalism while working within the flexible publication advantages of the relatively new field of online journalism. His coverage broke not only new angles on the story, but also contributed to the establishment of the Marikana Commission. Marinovich took the regional award for the Northern Region with a painstaking photographic and analytical investigation which stood head and shoulders above other submissions.

2013 Photography winner
Brenton Geach of Independent Newspapers Cape takes the photographic award. His coverage in a body of work on the farmworkers’ strike, service delivery protests and the sheer horror of the revival of necklace murders in the Western Cape told a grim story, combined with a lyrical quality, combining split-second artistry with high-level techniques capturing the most telling moments of news action. Geach was the recipient of the regional awards in the Western Region. His work proved that having the latest technology doesn’t make a great photograph; it requires the skills of a photo-journalist.

2013 Print Feature winner
Msindisi Fengu of the Daily Dispatch won in this category in the Eastern Region for his story Hostels of Shame. In tracking and researching this story, which revealed an extensive pattern of institutionalised abuse, Fengu showed how hearing a chance remark by a government official led to a two-month journey to tell the story of the disintegration of school hostels. He wins the award for exposing a shameful story, and for his tenacity in following through on a single tip-off. His story proves that journalism is best done away from a desk.

2013 Print News winner
Rob Rose, Mzilikazi wa Afrika, and Stephan Hofstatter took the Northern regional award for their coverage of the Dina Pulestory for the Sunday Times. The team, which takes the National Award in this category, also won the overall Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award, followed this story while remaining undeterred by attempts to thwart their efforts to uncover the truth. This was a story that exposed conduct unbecoming of a government official and contributed to her removal from office.

2013 Radio Feature winner
Tashreeq Truebody of Radio 786 takes the national award in this category for his coverage of the farm workers’ strike in the Western Cape. This was a hotly contested category across all regions and Truebody won the award in the Western Region. Tashreeq ticked the boxes in terms of coverage that was focused, had impact, and appeal to listeners beyond the region. His coverage displayed all the criteria for a great radio feature: high-quality scripting, use of sound, in-depth research and remarkable presentation.

2013 Radio News winner
Gia Nicolaides of Talk Radio 702 impressed the judges with her coverage of the Marikana Massacre. Gia took the regional award for the Northern Region. Nicolaides’ coverage showed great courage and determination. She delivered content that was rivetting, balanced, and newsworthy. The story, often a dangerous one to cover, saw the reporter making Marikana her second home as she delivered news to the nation of the highest quality and integrity.

2013 Sport winner
Sameer Naik of the Saturday Star took the national award in this category for excellent research, quality of scripting and presentation, as well as showing originality and creativity in the telling of the story of Team South Africa’s golden road to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. Naik won the Regional Sport Award for the Northern Region. His passion for his topic and the way in which he sought to tell the whole story over all sporting codes made for compelling coverage.

2013 Television Feature winners
Mpho Lakaje, Dzivhuluwani Ramabulana, and Dirk Fourie of e-TV share the national prize in this category for their featureAgainst All Odds. This crime feature chronicles the story of the Ncholos family whose son and brother was killed in a hijacking. The coverage goes beyond the obvious and tells the story from every possible angle. We are used to crime stories, but this one chronicled the family’s story and sensitively covers their act of forgiveness and generosity to the convicted killer. The Ncholos family has undertaken to pay for the killer to study in jail and for his medical expenses. By showing the final twist in the story, through showing the victim’s family’s response this team took what could just have been another crime story, and followed it through to the very end. 

2013 Television News winner
Janine Lee of SABC news takes the national award in this category for her coverage of the killing of Reeva Steenkamp. She receives the award for her powerful, innovative profiling and general news coverage around a tragic breaking story. Lee managed to keep the public informed while balancing her coverage against sketchy facts. Being able to package information on her own, without the benefit of a producer – she won the Regional Award for the Eastern Region - and dealing with people who were close to Steenkamp and closing ranks, she showed sensitivity and commitment to doing the story justice without resorting to sensationalism.

(Source - Vodacom) 

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Over 10 Million Downloads of BBM for Android and iPhone in First Day

BBM achieved top ranking in the App Store in over 75 countries within the first 24 hours.

·         A reminder that for Samsung customers in Sub-Saharan Africa, BBM is available to download from the Samsung Apps store. iPhone and other Android users in Africa will be able to download the app from 20h00 on 24 October 2013. 
·         Additional Resources and Information: To help new, and previous, BBM users, we have posted some how-to videos on the BlackBerry YouTube channel ( to help people get familiar with, or re-familiarize themselves with, BBM.

(Source - Blackberry) 

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