Another year is almost done and 2012 has certainly been a busy one for South Africa’s technology industry. We know what our favourite stories were in 2012, but which articles did you, TechCentral’s readers, click on the most. This are the pieces, in ascending order from 10 to one, that generated the most reads during the year, according to our analytics software. (Note that the best-read gadget reviews are listed separately at the end of this article.)
LED lighting: everything you need to know
LED lighting became a big topic for South African consumers in 2012, not least because of Eskom’s residential subsidy. This first piece TechCentral published on the subject, following an interview with Philips SA regional marketing manager for lighting John Westermeyer, was also the most popular.
Why Knott-Craig quit Mxit
The resignation of Alan Knott-Craig as CEO of Mxit and his exit from his investment company World of Avatar had tongues wagging. The move followed an apparent disagreement with major Mxit shareholders, including former FirstRand executive Paul Harris. Knott-Craig also stepped down as head of investment company World of Avatar, which he had founded.
LTE shoot-out: MTN vs Vodacom vs 8ta
Armed with the coverage maps for 8ta, Vodacom and MTN, TechCentral’s intrepid deputy editor, Craig Wilson, travelled to five disperse locations across Johannesburg to test the performance of these mobile operators’ 4G networks. MTN came out tops, although Vodacom won based on “pings” — the time it took for packets of data to traverse its network. 8ta came last, but it’s important to remember that its network is still in testing phase and is not yet available commercially.
Price war erupts in SA mobile
Vodacom moved within minutes of smaller rival Cell C cutting its voice tariffs to 99c/minute with a similarly priced tariff of its own. This price war in South Africa’s mobile industry was short-lived, though. Vodacom was in such a hurry to be seen to be beating Cell C to the punch that it forgot to follow the correct procedures with its regulator, landing it in hot water. It had to pull Sunday newspaper advertisements. Later, it withdrew the plan altogether, perhaps figuring it needn’t have been so aggressive in reacting to its rival after all.
iPhone 5 boost for MTN?
This speculative piece, published in September, wondered whether MTN would be able to take advantage of 4G connectivity built into the iPhone 5 handset, which went on sale in South Africa last week. At the time, MTN looked set to be the first operator in South Africa with a commercial 4G network. Since then, Vodacom has also launched a network, using similar spectrum, so both operators are able to offer 4G services to users of Apple’s shiny new iGadget.
MTN’s new smartphone deals: no BlackBerry required
When MTN South Africa introduced new smartphone packages in February, promising BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS)-type benefits on non-BlackBerry devices, it wasn’t long before consumers began criticising the offerings for not providing true uncapped on-device access like BIS. TechCentral’s Craig Wilson also weighed in on the issue, saying in a column that the products didn’t offer anything new and didn’t compare well at all to BIS.
Crackdown irks MTN BlackBerry clients
In an effort to curb excessive use of BlackBerry’s BIS on its network, MTN South Africa changed its policies for the service, angering customers in the process. Many slated the move and expressed their displeasure on social media. The operator said it had implemented new measures to monitor BIS users who downloaded and streamed large amounts of content to ensure that all users hade an improved and always-on Internet experience.
Kindle vs Kobo: battle of the e-readers
The recent launch of the Kobo e-reader in South Africa — at a price of less than R1 000 — certainly generated a lot of interest among TechCentral readers this year. The device, available exclusively through Pick n Pay, is the first serious challenger in the South African market to the more expensive Kindle from Amazon. In this article, Lloyd Gedye reckoned that Kobo’s entry-level option would grow the local e-reader market substantially.
Cell C forced to pull 99c ads
Cell C was told to withdraw two advertisements after the Advertising Standards Authority found in favour of rival MTN. The bigger opereator argued that Cell C had discredited its brand. The first target of MTN’s ire was a television ad featuring a man looking at his mobile phone and complaining about being “out of the zone”. MTN submitted that the ads — the other one was for radio — disparaged its “Zone” discounted calling product.
Why SA doesn’t want dual-Sim phones
While many emerging markets have seen sales of dual-Sim mobile phones flourishing, giving device manufacturers like China’s ZTE and Huawei the chance to gain a foothold with innovative new devices, the market for dual Sims in SA has remained negligible. TechCentral investigated why this was the case.