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Google Maps Nigeria Adds Local Accent

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Between my friends and I, the robotic voice of the woman giving directions on most GPS apps is definitely a lady name Vivian. I can’t recall how we came to that name, but Viv is that girl not missing a beat alerting you of all the potholes in North Riding.

She just doesn’t sound like a Noxolo or a Nambitha.

Well, commuters in Nigeria have now met a new local voice showing them around town because diversity and representation and tech shouldn’t have to function so exclusively.

She’s also more intuitive to the travelling needs of the local commuters, who must navigate around one of Africa’s most populous cities.

The new feature was announced in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria.

According to Africanews.com, it will now also be available on Google Assistant. This marks the first time the tech giant rolled out a service of this kind in Africa.

The move, which is part of the company’s aim to attract more African users, will also simplify navigation around the most crowded parts of the city, which has been identified as densely populated while poorly signposted.

Google partnered with local startup Road Preppers Technologies Ltd to gather data on the different routes available, and aims to tell users the best options available based on traffic, weather and road conditions.

Information that will be available on the map include the anticipated fare, travel time and photos of the bus stops. Beyond Lagos, Google is expanding street view imagery to Abuja, Benin City, Enugu and Ibadan.

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Tech

Our Experience With The HP Envy x360

We recently unwrapped the stylish and compact HP Envy x360 2 in 1 convertible, which alternates between laptop and tablet modes with much ease.

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When the HP Envy x360 13 2 in 1 convertible was delivered to my desk recently, I was as eager to explore the interesting features as I was excited to reunite with an HP.

My last personal relationship with the brand ended in a devastating crash, leading me to flee entirely.

It looks and feels very compact at first glance, an element I’m always looking for in a standard laptop. As a content creator, I need a laptop that fits into the agile and always-on-the-move schedule that requires holistic technical adaptability.

Power and performance are next considerations.

Lehlogonolo Mohlala, a trusted day one and attorney based in Johannesburg, who’s used the laptop, told me that she enjoyed how the design works well if you trot around frequently. “It’s great when working remotely or traveling. Being able to convert and use it in a plane or car while on transit is a great plus”, she said.

Adding; “It is not a conversional tablet as the screen is as big as a laptop thus giving a great view. The quality of the screen, colour definition and clarity is easy on the eyes and the definition is great for a lawyer who is always reviewing and typing documents.”

Further to the thin and close packed silhouette, the HP Envy x360 also boasts a superb exterior. Its smooth and gleaming texture gives it a premium feel when it’s in your hands.

It’s a ‘x360’ purely because of its functional capability to transform into a tablet with smooth ease. But my encounter with this premium HP was also a full circle -360- moment for me. The last time I actually used an HP laptop was in 2013.

It was an entry level HP laptop that sufficed for most of my student needs. However, when I began exploring more demanding creative technologies and softwares, which included music production and animation tools, its limits undercut its relevance.

ALSO READ: GOOGLE MAPS NIGERIA ADDS A LOCAL VOICE 

Until that point, however, it had done a decent job for the price point.

The HP Envy x360 therefore marks the first time I’ve really used the brand’s premium products for both professional and personal purposes.

The attraction lies in a host of features which promise to make it ideal for the millennial.

It knows what we want – a good looking compact laptop that converts into a tablet, and can bend to your needs. It also comes with powerful features which fit the complex requirements that attend to our ever evolving relationship with technology.

I, for one, need a whole lot of space as I use many software programmes and tools to manage multi-platform projects that overlap amongst others graphic design, video editing and editorial functions. The device promises ‘lightning-fast responsiveness’ to accelerate your engagement with it.

Is it worth buying?

MEET THE HP ENVY x360

SPECIFICATIONS INCLUDE

  • With four ways to work, the ENVY x360 13 convertible bends beautifully to your needs with power and performance. This additional versatility is great for artists who require portable devices to create or students who need flexibility when taking notes
  • A full touch screen display enables users to bring their content to life in mesmerizing quality with 178° wide-viewing angles and Quad HP Speakers supplied by Bang & Olufsen
  • Protect your privacy with a built-in Privacy Camera Kill Switch and an integrated fingerprint reader for a seamless login experience
  • Accelerate everything you do with lightning-fast responsiveness. With the 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Mobile Processor, the ENVY X360 delivers performance in a slim and sleek design
  • Get a laptop built for how you live. 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen™ Mobile Processors put extra power where you want it most. Explore, connect and create all at the same time.

The HP Envy x360 focuses its design and features to the most pressing needs of a modern day consumer, who is looking for a user-friendly, visually appealing machine that elevates their interaction with technology while complimenting their fast-paced lives.

The laptop is pretty. The smooth surface on the lid and chassis are visually appealing, giving it a cute ultra modern finish. The downside to that, however, especially with the matte body, is the fact that it tends to retain and reflect fingerprints.

The entire laptop is smaller than the Apple MacBook Air (2017), giving it serious competitive edge when the convertible design is thrown in the mix.

The compact design also supports the logistics involved with turning it into a tablet, which happens with the kind of ease that wouldn’t bring attention to you during a meeting. The dual hinge system also allows you to position the lid in interesting angles.

Although the dark ash is a beautiful colour, it’s the only colour currently available.

The brightness and colour display was decent enough for me. Thanks to the full HD resolution, the pictures appear sharp and crisp. This is ideal for all kinds of things, from streaming to surfing social networks that are driven mainly by imagery.

The touch response was decent during my use of the laptop. Its a feature that I didn’t use much because I was generally more drawn to laptop mode, but there were no instances when input didn’t register.

The quality of the webcam is also impressive, producing clear visual outputs through varying lighting.

As far as booting is concerned, the laptop boots into Windows pretty quickly, which does not place any frustration when you need to resume work.

I’m also particularly excited about the built-in Privacy Camera Kill Switch, which enables the user to take some steps to protecting privacy. With all the alarming user data breaches in the radar, this feature offers some kind of relief.

VERDICT

The laptop is stylish, compact and convertible, making it ideal for modern use and interactions with technology.

The display is brilliant, and the touch responsiveness works fine. Professionally, you will also love how it can adapt to various atmospheres and environment, and the laptop can enhance personal experience. The main downside during our testing is the battery life, which was disappointing.

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Music

Spotify Lite Arrives In SA – What You Need To Know

Spotify extends their reach by debuting a version of their standard app that is compatible with older devices.

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Spotify has introduced Spotify Lite, a smaller, faster and more simplified version of their standard music streaming app.

Users of the Lite version of the streaming platform will still enjoy the features and functions of the main app, such as searching and playing their favourite songs, save and share them with others, discover new music and enjoy playlist curated and tailored for their personal tastes.

Though, Lite does come with a few extra features that will the app more ideal for older devices and operating systems.

Spotify Lite South Africa

“Spotify Lite was built from the ground up based on user feedback from around the world, allowing millions more to enjoy the world’s best music experience — especially in areas with limited bandwidth and phone storage,” says Kalle Persson, Senior Product Manager at Spotify.

RELATED: 6 SPOTIFY STREAMING HACKS YOU NEED TO KNOW 

Lite can be downloaded separately, both for Free and Spotify Premium users, and used either alongside or independently from the main Spotify app on all Android phones running version 4.3 or higher.



With Spotify Lite, you can easily control your data and storage.

It’s only 10 MB, so it’s quick to install and load while offering the same great listening experience that lets you discover, play, and enjoy millions of songs.

Spotify Lite also comes with the ability to set a data limit and get a notification when you reach it. This way, you’ll be able to focus on finding your next favourite song—not worrying about data.

No need to worry if you’re running low on storage—Spotify Lite also allows you to control your cache, and clear it with a single tap.

Spotify Lite is now available in South Africa on Google Play.

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Music

6 Spotify Hacks That Will Enhance Your Music Streaming

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Spotify

There’s a lot of music streaming platforms and apps out there, and each comes with hundreds of features.

This is one of the main reasons most of us tend to use the most basic functionality, thereby missing out on the opportunity to explore and make the most of an app’s fullest potential. I for one sometimes struggle to discover what the hype was about as soon as I get an app, and it’s mostly because I never take the liberty of navigating beyond basic use.

But just like you tailor your mobile phone to make using it easier and suited specifically to your tastes, why not find new and interesting ways to format your favourite apps and increase your entertainment pleasure?

With a catalogue of over 35 million tracks across a host of different music genres, to use, Spotify is every music fan’s dream. To ensure you’re getting the most from the service, Spotify has a few tips to enhance your listening experience:

  1. It’s free!

You can access Spotify’s full catalogue, including expertly curated playlists for every moment, and personalised playlists just for you, as well as create your own playlists for free. You can also upgrade to Spotify Premium for an enhanced experience and offline listening for R59.99 per month.

  1. Create collaborative playlists

Just like fighting for the television remote or the AUX cable during a car ride, deciding what’s best to watch or listen to can be a nightmare. What better way to solve this than to share a playlist? You can create a collaborative playlist that everyone can add their favourite songs to. Problem solved!

  1. Filter your searches

So often we search for an artist and end up with results that are nothing we wanted. Did you know that you can focus your artist search on Spotify by using the word ‘NOT’ in your search?  Like this: Prodigy NOT The Prodigy – so your search would be filtered down to Mobb Deep’s rapper Prodigy, and not the electronic dance group The Prodigy. You can do the same with songs that have similar titles.

  1. Find new gems

If your playlist runs out and you don’t know what else to take a listen to, simply hit the Browse button. That will give you access to charts, new releases and recommendations under Discover, personalised just for you. There’s also a weekly New Music Friday South Africa playlist featuring the latest local and international artists.

  1. Get more than just music

You can stream more than just music on Spotify. Perhaps a podcast while you finish some chores could get you by? Spotify has a host of podcasts including The Daily Show’s Ears Edition for something light-hearted or find out best to use social media through The Science Of Social Media and much more. There’s also a comedy section with the best picks from top comedians.

  1. Hide your sessions

We all have those secret hits (yes, Hanson’s Mmmbop), that we don’t want our friends to know we didn’t leave back in 1997. If you don’t want your secret listening pleasures exposed to the world, simply change your account setting to private. Click the drop-down next to your profile and select Private Session and voila!

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