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Have they gone too far?

It seems the days of the excitement and high expectation over the next mobile launch is well and truly over.

When I started in the industry in the mid 90’s, we had perhaps three or four launches to attend a year. Every launch cycle offered innovations and great leaps forward in tech. We started with brick phones and monochromatic screens, moved to the tiniest phones with colour and changed from numeric keypads to full qwerty keyboards and now to full touch.

I can still remember the excitement of holding that curved Nokia 8110, the tiny Ericsson 788, seeing the colour screen on the Siemens S10 and showing off my Nokia 9110 Communicator with its full keyboard, the Samsung D500 slider… the list could go on and on!

This excitement carried over to the revolution heralded by the Apple iPhone, and it appeared this excitement curve trajectory would continue unabated.

Alas, it appears in the last two years, the mobile magic has gone.

I had no desire to upgrade my iPhone 7 when the iPhone X launched, partly because it always has better to wait for Apple to iron out any kinks in their “S” version but mainly because the price differential between new and old had become somewhat glaring.

In my wait for the next Apple launch, I have been using a Huawei P20 Pro and, after five months, I haven’t had a reason to move back. That was of course until the lead up to the Apple announcement on the 12th of September. Ohhhh I thought, perhaps the new model is going to be awesome, maybe we could fall in love again…

After the announcement, I was left feeling even more disappointed. The price of the new iPhone is sky high and, I feel not much has been offered to enhance my user experience. I find myself thinking… has Apple gone a step too far this time?

Apple and Samsung have been chasing the title of world’s best smartphone for the past ten years, with Apple always commanding a premium for its devices. Samsung, in hot pursuit, began increasing the prices of its iconic top-end phones to try and mirror the exclusiveness of the Apple brand.

In November IHS Markit estimated it cost around $370.25 to make the iPhone X which retailed at $999, that’s a massive $628.75 in profit per device. Understandably for most manufacturers, you spend a lot on R&D and then advertising and marketing, but a 170% markup is astronomical.

Much of the R&D tech is licensed or on-sold to other manufacturers. For example, Samsung is the biggest supplier of screen components for electronics. Sony provides camera tech to many manufacturers. Through technology licensing, R&D costs are recovered and often become profit centres. Face recognition and fingerprint tech were initially introduced exclusively on premium devices, but they were quickly adopted in mid-tier devices. The economies of scale made the tech cheaper for everyone.

Now, Samsung and, more recently, Apple have announced their new iconic premium devices, both starting at $999 and with little in the way of advances over their predecessors. I once again question the sustainability of launching a premium device annually with little more than a few tweaks.

My MacBook Pro has lasted me five years, and my iPad is pushing its 3rd year of use. With Mac and iPad offering a pleasing level of performance for an extended duration, they were shrewd buys. I don’t mind paying a premium for this longevity.

With that said, has the need for the latest iPhone quietly died and been replaced with a more sombre approach to affordability and lifetime usage. I predict it has. Perhaps the mobile industry needs to rethink its obsession with launching a flagship phone every year to try and push more profits and focus instead on sustainability.

Much like the car market, most supercars can go 0-100 in under five seconds. If you can afford it, you buy the brand that appeals to you the most – be it a Porsche, Lamborghini or a Ferrari. For those of us that can’t, you can still buy a car for way, way, way less and still be a happy robot racer.

With basic usage and functionality remaining almost on a par, consumers will seek a solid middle ground. So, this year I won’t be getting a new iPhone XS or the Samsung Note 9. But, I will consider upgrading my MacBook Pro or my iPad – at least that’s a sensible long-term buy.

By Chris Henchel

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Upgrade or UpCycle?

With phones becoming ludicrously expensive and mobile technology seeming to have plateaued in terms of feature sets, is it really worthwhile upgrading to the latest flagship model?

If we take a look at the car market in the early 90’s, it was all about whom could go the fastest from 0-100. By the 2000’s most sports cars where doing sub 5 sec runs and by the 2010, you could get more than a few hot hatches doing sub 7 second runs.

So as technology starts to become more accessible, the middle and entry level tiers start catching up in performance. You then start questioning the price to performance ratio of say buying a Ford Focus RS (4.7 secs 0 to 100 kmh) for R699 900 against buying a Porsche 718 Cayman for R920 000 to go slower at 5.1 secs, but having a perceived quicker flashier car.

 

The vast majority of us use our phones for the “bare” basics – give me a good camera, whatsapp, a decent battery life and an easy enough user interface and I am happy. The days of having the latest phone and proudly displaying it on the coffee shop table to elicit ohhhh’s and ahhh’s from your friends are long over. Today, most of the phones look pretty much androgynous and few deliver little in the way of a revolutionary experience.

When you start paying upwards of R15 000 for a phone you have to start questioning your behaviour. The latest Samsung Note8 is going to set you back R17 899 and the latest iPhone X costing $999 before taxes and duties you will be looking at around R15- 17K.
What can you get for R15K in todays tech space?

A new cool camera? Nikon Coolpix B700 @ R6499
A smartwatch / fitness tracker? Tom Tom Spark 3 @ R1899
A new LED TV? 50″ Hisense UHD LED TV @ R6999
A new decent smart phone? Huawei P10 Lite @ R4999

Justifying a phone over 15K becomes increasingly difficult! But us humans are a funny old species, and having the latest trinkets and desirables is pretty hard grained into some of us. For those such afflicted, we crave the newest, fastest and flashiest gadgets on the planet, all to ensure that we stay ahead of the pack. For an increasingly online, social media driven world our mobile is our gateway to our interwoven digital and physical existence and if we going to have a gateway, it better be damn magical.

So do you succumb to the iPhone 8, wait out for the iPhone X (its referred to as the “ten”) or keep on trudging along with your 7, or even your faithful old iPhone 6? That my friends is the question indeed.
If you have a 7, I wouldn’t bother with the 8, hell even if you have the 6S theirs not much incentive to go rush out and get the 8. My bet is waiting out for the Ten, at least the tech has been enhanced and the new camera features and animoji only work with the new Ten hardware.

Then of course if you throw the price in the mix, paying an extra R3 – R5K cash (roughly R175 a more per month on contract) for the Ten is hard to justify if you are replacing an iPhone 5 or an old 6. The new “old” 8 becomes an option but even more so would be the iPhone 7 which is certain to drop in price.

Best of all, if you have an old iPhone 5/6/7 which is still in great working order but the battery is getting a little tired, the folks from Apple Doctor can “UpCycle” your old faithful with a new battery and make her as good as new. An “UpCycle” costs as little as R289 fully installed – Upgrade or #UpCycle?

cellucity.co.za

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What’s in a name? Breaking into the market

Even after 10 years in the industry I still wonder about how clients make choices on phones. I mean, for instance, what makes one choose a mid-range phone from a “Premier Brand” (read “popular”) phone rather that a similar priced premier rated phone produced by a newcomer? Continue reading What’s in a name? Breaking into the market

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Porting

Back in the day if you were unsatisfied with your service provider, had poor signal or just wanted a change you had to kiss your cellphone number goodbye. Porting has revolutionized the cellular industry allowing customers to be selective without having to worry about losing their number.

With over 30 stores nationwide and as an industry leader, Cellucity is positioned to provide you with unparalleled service. Offering friendly sales expertise, onsite data support and a range of accessories to kit you out – I believe Cellucity offers a complete and uncomplicated mobile shopping experience. Continue reading Porting

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South African Lingo

They call us the Rainbow Nation, a multicultural diversity of different people from different walks of life all living together in South Africa, a country alive with adventure. Arguably one of the more popular tourist destinations, as a visitor you are likely to hear a number of strange words and confusing sentences. We have 11 official languages so they were bound to mix together to create what we proudly know as South Africanisms. As always we like to make sure our clients are well informed, so here is a handy guide to some of the more popular South Africanisms:

Continue reading South African Lingo

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B4i Travel – Talk Like a Local

I don’t know about you, but as much as I love a holiday, I hate the planning that’s involved! I mean Visas, travel arrangements, hotel arrangements, currency (yuck)! I wish there was a magic wand that I could wave and have it all sorted! Now what I can do to make your life a little easier, you intrepid traveller you, is to introduce you to a service called B4i.travel. Continue reading B4i Travel – Talk Like a Local

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Pokemon GO – the effect

So the craze that has gripped the world! If you don’t know about it already, you are probably not ever going to play it 🙂 A game played on your smartphone, that uses Google maps and augmented reality to encourage players to get outside and be active – purpose explore the world outdoors whilst trying to catch Pokemon creatures! Once you have got a little menagerie going you can train them, power them up and battle fellow players.

By using your smartphones GPS location and Google maps, the app has a big drain on your battery and to a lesser degree a drain on your data bundle! Firstly an hours playing can deplete around 20% of your battery life, so if you going to be going on an epic Pokemon catching spree, having a power bank is an ideal option (check out our online store for some great options). Secondly how much data will you use whilst catching and training your Pokemon’s? Data from Verizon in the USA tallies it up at around 10MB per hour, we tested it at our Cape Town Head Office and were using 12MB an hour, so it is relatively light on data usage. It is advisable however to ensure you have a data bundle loaded so you don’t get stung by the OoB (out of bundle) shark.

Forewarned, forearmed… now GO track down Pikachu!

Pikachu - the original pocket monster

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Whatsapp Scams

WhatsApp is popular in South Africa, which has resulted in it gaining the attention of fraudsters and scammers.

Criminals try to take advantage of the platform’s popularity by looking to make a quick buck off unsuspecting victims.

Some of the biggest scams reported on the messaging platform in South Africa and around the world are described below.

WhatsApp users in South Africa should keep their eyes open for fraudsters who use these tricks.


WhatsApp-Vodacom-Call-Sponsor-scamWhatsApp OTP favourites scam

new scam doing the rounds in SA involves a scammer tricking you into believing he is someone on your contact list whose number has changed.

In reality, the scammer has gained access to a contact list which contains your number.

Once he believes he has you hooked, he tells you an SMS is being sent to your phone that contains a number – which you must forward to him so he can add you to his favourites.

This is a one-time PIN, which is meant to protect your accounts from fraudsters. Never send these PINs to anyone in a text message.

 


WhatsApp-malware-link-sharing-scamWhatsApp malware link-sharing scam

Another scam doing the rounds promises discounts from popular restaurants or stores.

To redeem the offer, it asks you to share the promotion to 10 contacts – which appears in your chats as a “Look [link]”.

BT has warned that clicking the link will install malware on your device, which can be used to steal your identity or access your banking details.

 


WhatsApp-free-ultra-ligh-Wi-Fi-scamWhatsApp “Ultra-Light Wi-fi” scam

A variant of this scam doing the rounds, according to Hoax Slayer, promises a new WhatsApp feature – Ultra-Light Wi-fi – in return for sharing a link 10 times.

When you click on the link your are tricked into providing your personal information via a survey website. In some cases the website will infect your phone with malware.

 


WhatsApp subscription competitionSMS-Scam

WhatsApp “competition” is doing the rounds, where users receive a message which links to a Facebook page.

Navigating to this page lets you spin a prize wheel, which promises a prize, such as a new smartphone. Spinning the wheel takes you to a new page, where to claim your prize you have to share your result 10 times.

Clicking the continue link after sharing your result takes you to a new page where you are told your prize has been reserved.

To claim the prize, you have to enter your cellphone number and click a “Yes, I want” button.

This takes you to a new screen which informs you an SMS will be sent to your phone, and you are instructed to reply “Yes” to this SMS.

Doing so opts you into a R7-per-day subscription service.


WhatsApp-survey-subscription-scamWhatsApp subscription link-sharing scam

Another con doing the rounds involves using the names and logos of well-known brands.

In the example below, you are promised a Spar shopping voucher in return for completing a survey and sharing it with 10 contacts.

According to reports, once you have completed the survey, you have been signed up for a R7-per-day SMS service.

 


WhatsApp-SMS-campaignWhatsApp “add-on upgrade” SMS

This SMS campaign can cost WhatsApp users R210 per month, and involves users clicking on a link that initiates a daily deduction.

An SMS that reads: “You have not updated to the latest WhatsApp add-ons. Click here now [URL]. (Free MSG) 31655 optout dial 0110621424”, is sent to smartphone users.

Clicking on the link in the SMS takes users to a screen which asks them to “Update your wall 4 WhatsApp”.

The fine print below a green “Continue” button shows that the message is for a subscription to a social network called Buddiechat, which costs R7 per day.

 


WhatsApp-updateWhatsApp pop-up update scam

A pop-up window posing as a WhatsApp update can infect a device with malware if clicked on.

Users are advised to only update the messaging app through official channels, such as your smartphone platform’s app store.

The pop-up asks users to download an update, or install a new version of WhatsApp while they are browsing the Internet .

The pop-ups are not linked to WhatsApp in any way and are created by malware pushers.

 


Wangiri fraud

WhatsApp Wangiri fraud is where local WhatsApp users are urged to call international numbers.

Wangiri is a type of phone fraud where the perpetrator dials random numbers and then hangs up after one ring. Victims call back, and are charged premium rates.

The WhatsApp-based version of Wangiri fraud sees local users receive a WhatsApp message with a contact attachment.

The number in the contact is different to the number the message originated from. Calling this number back could cost you a lot of money.

Source: MyBroadband.co.za

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Btrfly Lounge – the social app for airports

When travelling alone, waiting at the airport can be a dull experience to say the least! There is only so much duty free shopping one can do before you are beyond bored.

Cue the entry of Btrfly Lounge:

“btrfly connects air travellers in real-time and real life. You can chat and meet up with people travelling on the same flight – or someone just passing through the same airport. Create your own profile, then simply check in with your flight number to see who else is heading your way, browse traveler profiles, request connections, and share your travel experiences. Make flying more social today – with btrfly.”

It is a great way to connect with other travellers on the same flight and the possibilities are endless, share a cab, get someone into a business lounge or just hook up for a coffee or drink, or arrange to sit together on the flight.

App is available on iOS and Android.Available on the iPhone App Store