Podcast-SAFM3FebClick here to listen to a recording of the show

Here are the top tech stories (chosen by me) that made the news the past week which I have discussed on @SAFMRadio with @AshrafGarda during Tech Media today:

1. A new taxi app called Taxify to rival Uber in South Africa was launched 1 February 2015. This app is set to take on the country’s biggest players, Uber and SnappCab. Taxify is an international service that launched in Europe in 2013 and currently operates abroad.  Taxify has four different apps, consumer apps in the form of  a taxi and driver app for ordering, and enterprise apps for  fleet management and despatch for taxi companies to manage their businesses efficiently. Why is Taxify different to Uber – Taxify acts as a link between customers and the taxi services as it isn’t a taxi company. Taxify partners with businesses in each country to run the service and local ICT company Revnetek SA is the S.A partner.  Taxify lets you choose between various options available according to the type of vehicle, fare, user feedback and the distance to the pick-up point. A request for a taxi is sent to the closest one that is not busy at that time. If the closest taxi is busy, the request automatically goes to the next closest vehicle.

By including details about the individual taxis and drivers, the app helps to wean out any poor quality or unsafe services that might otherwise cause concern to potential customers.

The CEO of Revnetek SA chatted to htxt.africa and more information can be found here.

2. Chat app “Line” moves towards selling and delivering groceries in Southeast Asia. Japanese chat service Line, will offer a range of perishable and non-perishable goods via its messaging app, beginning in Thailand this week. It is initially testing the concept using a daily deals model, which will include three daily deals and two heavily discounted offers per week, but there are plans to do more over time.  The longer-term plan is to build out a fuller channel for food (and general) shopping across Southeast Asia.  Thailand has over 2million more registered Line users than Facebook (second largest Line user base to Japan), and this pilot comes after releasing a shopping app in Thailand which proved to be popular.  Line is also promising free next day delivery and have partnered with an eCommerce startup in Bangkok to facilitate this. Line claims to have 92 million active users across Japan, Thailand and Taiwan, and it seems feasible that mobile commerce could work in these markets.

3. Facebook has reported its earnings and disclosed it has not over 3 billion video views per day and in Q4 2014, the average ad revenue it earns from its user group grew by 24% (from just their US and Canadian user base).  Facebook said that in the last year, the number of video posts per person on Facebook increased 75% globally and 94% in the U.S. And as a sign of just how much Facebook is pushing video growth, it was only in June 2014, that the company passed 1 billion video views per day.  COO Sheryl Sandberg made the direct comparison between consumer video take up on Facebook and how the social network is building out its video advertising business. “It’s exciting that we’ve gotten to 3 billion video views per day because it shows that consumers like video,” she noted. “That gives us an opportunity to grow our video advertising.”

Also in the U.S markets,  through better ad targeting to connect customers to the brands they’re likely to buy from, and improved online and offline sales measurement to track those purchases, Facebook has been able to grow ad revenue about 25X faster than user count. The company is clearly working aggressively to improve its ad tools and measurement and will not try and make this work in developing markets.

4. Apple had its most successful quarter of any company ever and now holds the record: $18.04 billion in profit, fiscal Q1 2015, and is making around $8.3 million dollars per hour.  According to one estimate, Apple spent $150m developing the iPhone. In the final three months of 2014 alone Apple sold 74.4 million iPhones, worth $51.1bn . That $150m surely now ranks as one of the best product investments ever. The phenomenal sales figures, which surpassed Wall Street’s expectations, helped Apple to record the most profitable quarter of any public company, ever. The company made a profit of $18bn (£12bn), surpassing the $15.9bn oil giant ExxonMobil made in the second quarter of 2012.   5. Tim Cook announced that Apple Watch will start shipping in April.  The Apple Watch will start shipping in April to consumers, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who revealed that April is the expected target launch date. Setting a more definite timeline for the Apple Watch does set expectations, however, ensuring that no one will be surprised when the wearable doesn’t appear in March as originally rumoured. It also helps developers time their software releases correctly. Developers wanting to target the platform have so far depended upon using a virtual simulation of the wearable, and haven’t had any set deadline to work towards, so an announced April shipping target provides a clear goal to aim for. App of the Week: FillApp for iOS and Android ( A South African fuel price estimation app) Price : Free Once FillApp knows the size of a user’s fuel tank and what fuel they use, it will send a reminder each month informing them of the fuel price change, how much they’ll save and whether they should fill up before or after the change – depending, of course, if it’s a price increase or decrease. Features of FillApp:

  • View the current price of all fuel types
  • View Predictions on the upcoming price of fuel (I suppose this is coming soon as I don’t see this feature yet on the iPhone app)
  • Receive notifications when the price of fuel is set to change and when it’s best to fill up
  • Monitor LRP, Diesel and regular Petrol prices for both inland and coastal regions

Gadget of the Week: Sony Experia Z3 Price : R9000 – A high end flagship device that does what one would expect for the price

  • Weight: 152g
  • Dimensions: 146x72x7.3 mm
  • Display: 5.2″ Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels)
  • Waterproof and dust tight
  • Android 4.4. (KitKat)
  • Snapdragon 2.5 Ghz Qualcomm Quadcore
  • Battery : 3100 mAH – Talk time of up to 16 hrs and Standby time of up to 920 hours; Music listenting time of up to 130 hours and video playback of up to 10 hours
  • Camera: 20.7 MP camera with auto focus, 2.2 MP front-facing camera