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Is BRCK The Solution To Your Internet Connectivity Problem?

No network signal, no power. There’s power, but there’s no network signal. The network signal is strong, but your battery is “too low for radio use.” That’s the nature of getting online in Africa.

Enter: BRCK.

Engineered by Kenya-based non-profit tech startup Ushahidi, developers of the eponymous data crowdsourcing platform that wowed Africa a few years ago, BRCK — a solidly-built cloud-managed modem/router — may well be the solution to widespread Internet connectivity problems on the continent.

The rugged (oil/dirt/splash resistant) 510-gram box touted as a “backup generator for the Internet,”  will suck juice from Ethernet, Wi-Fi or 3G/4G mobile networks for a blissful eight hours (without a mad dash for a nearby power source), piping the good stuff to up to twenty connected devices (top that, Huawei). It also comes with USB ports so you can charge stuff off its huge 8,000 mAH battery, as well as an Arduino-compatible expansion controller that should interest would-be hack.., er, hobbyists.

No word yet on when the approximately ₦32,000 device will land on store shelves in Nigeria, but you can learn more about BRCK here and from Ushahidi co-founder Juliana Rotich’s TED Talk below.

Image via Wired

Tecno Live Smart Watch & Win Promo

Tecno Mobile recently released a set of smart hi-tech devices popularly known as the Smart Family. The Smart family members include the amazing Phantom AIII, the portable Phantom Pad mini, the unique M7, the solid P5, the beautiful M5, and the super-fast Phantom A+. These devices are the latest in town and have caught the eye of every lover of technology, keeping everyone talking about Tecno Mobile.

The demand for the members of the Smart Family has been outstanding and has taken a large market share barely weeks after release. In addition to the massive success of the brand, Tecno Mobile has enjoyed a massive growth online and enjoys one of the highest Facebook interaction rates in the country.

To reward its loyal fans, Tecno mobile launched a watch & win promo which requires the participants to watch a series of videos and answer a few questions from what they watched under a very free and fair system. Participants have the opportunity to monitor their progress against others’ by viewing the leader board from time to time. The promo is open to everyone and all participants in this promo stand a chance to win BIG this season.

To WIN BIG on the Tecno Watch & Win Promo, visit tecnolivesmart.com and watch the animated videos. After watching the released episode, take the quiz which is centred on the video you just watched. Each released video comes with its own quiz; therefore you can take part in the quiz simply by watching the videos, sharing with your friends and taking the quiz.

The quiz has 5 questions which carry 2 points each; therefore there is a maximum of 10 points to be earned. In addition, you can earn more points by taking a survey and sharing with friends. You earn 5 bonus points when you complete a survey, 1 bonus point when you share the video and additional points when your friends click your shared link. The more you share, the more your friends click the links, the more bonus points you earn. WINNING BIG has never been easy and fun. Join the league of people who enjoy the unique animated videos.

Be cool…Be informed and #LiveSmart.

[Sponsored Post]

nokia asha

Nokia Wins Most Innovative Smartphone At The 2013 African Product Awards

Country Director, Institute for Government Research and Leadership Technology, Ambassador Moses Essien explains that in a research conducted amongst various mobile phones using the parameters of “product high quality, value creation, track record and efficacy; product availability, affordability, acceptability and reliability; conformity with global quality for a good smart mobile phone brand; compliance with government regulatory laws and guidelines” amongst others, Nokia outperformed its competitors.

Speaking on this, Managing Director, Nokia West and Central Africa, Nick Imudia, said “It is an honor receiving such award. We are happy to know that our customers appreciate our products and acknowledge the value that it brings to them. It has been an interesting year, winning awards, which show that we are living up to our promise of providing our customers with innovative mobile products that connect them to what matters most. Nokia is well known for its ability to produce cool, colorful, trendy, affordable and most importantly, reliable devices to its numerous customers in Nigeria and beyond, we thank Nigerians for their patronage of the Nokia brand.”

The African Product Forum is an annual event organized to contribute to the expansion and increment of knowledge with the aim of encouraging businesses through sponsorship of trainings, seminars and public enlightenments in respect of product development. The 2013 edition of the forum held with notable guests and experts from various fields present to impact knowledge to business owners and potential entrepreneurs while also featuring product exhibitions, music and dance.

Earlier in 2013, Nokia received two awards namely the Coolest Phone Brand Award at the maiden edition of The Businessday Generation Next Survey Awards and Mobile Phone Brand of the Year Award at the 2013 Marketing World Awards.

Press Release

Are You Ready To #GoSolo?

On November 22nd, SOLO launched its brand with a bang into the Nigerian market. The company is, “a global device manufacturing company with a mission to develop and market affordable smartphones combined with THE best entertainment and consumer experience to emerging market consumers starting right here, in Nigeria.”

The SOLO team has launched two devices into the market, the SOLO S350 which is currently available for sale for N18,500 and the SOLO S450, which will arrive in the markets soon.

SOLO believes that it has, hands down, put together the best consumer experience in the Nigerian market today: the purchase of a SOLO device allows for unlimited streaming and downloading of up to 20 million local and international songs for the life of the device and has partnered with leading operators to offer consumers amazing FREE data bundles to complete the experience–some are even offering up to 500MB/month for 12 months, FREE!!!*

IYANYA has signed on to SOLO as their Brand ambassador–as long as you have a SOLO device, you always have FREE music….so you can stream or download Iyanya’s album and your choice of other Nigerian and International songs from SOLO’s up to 20 million song catalog for FREE!

Buy your SOLO smartphone now with FREE Music + FREE Data for up to 12 months.

The SOLO S350 comes with a 3.5 ” HVGA and runs on the Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) operating system. It has 4GB of internal memory (512 MB RAM) and an expandable 8GB SD card and a 3MP camera. The SOLO S450 will come fully loaded with even more features–a 4.5’ FWVGA IPS display, 16GB eMMC ROM and 1GB RAM and a 5MP Main + VGA Front camera.

SOLO devices come ready to go, right out of the box, with all of your favourite apps pre-installed: BBM, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & more!

Are you ready to #GoSolo?

Follow SOLO on Twitter @SOLO_Phone and on Facebook at SOLOPhone. For more information, visit their website at gosolo.ng

*(minimum monthly recharge conditions may apply)

[Sponsored Post]

Verge Now Offering SaaS Business Intelligence Solution

Verge, a fully scale SaaS Business Intelligence solution recently launched by technology entrepreneur and developer, Francis Osifo, aims at giving businesses full control and insight into operations of their entire business process and chain.

According to the founder, having seen the many challenges that businesses face including: problems with inventory management, loss of inventory and revenue generated from sales to theft, and lack of the necessary infrastructure and in-depth business performance and analysis report to enable business owners make more informed data driven decisions, there was a need for a solution like Verge.

Here are some use cases for Verge:

Do you have POS terminals?

Verge seamlessly integrated to the POS terminals of all your outlets and sync’s the data with the Verge cloud service ensuring you have access to manage and control your business wherever you are.

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No basic infrastructure?

Verge’s strategic partnerships with hardware(Laptop, mobile, tablet) and data partners ensures you have the required resources to get started immediately in ensuring you enjoy the immense benefits of Verge.

Don’t have POS terminals?

Relax; as Verge can act as your POS terminal generating receipts and controlling the sales process. Verge automates the entire transaction flow of your business.

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Have several Outlets to manage?

Verge allows you to create multiple outlets, warehouses, users, products etc while allowing you to determine where they fit into your business operations.

Want to move content to/from Verge

Verge allows you to seamlessly import and export customer, transaction and product information making the process of dealing with large dataset
a breeze.

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With Verge, common operations such as managing, controlling and planning the direction of your business is guaranteed to be easy, fast,and virtual. It is also quite affordable with three different pricing offers – basic(N2000), complete(N5000), and premium(N7500) monthly subscriptions.

More information available at Verge.com.ng

BBM Passes 20 Million New Active Users Mark After 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.

During its first week, BBM was the top free overall app in 35 countries in Google Play and in 107 countries in the App Store, and continues to maintain a strong position in key markets such as Canada, the US, the UK, Indonesia and much of the Middle East, to name a few.

“It is great to see so many people downloading BBM, but the true measurement for us is engagement – the connections being made and the conversations in which our BBM community engages. The power of BBM has always been the active, real conversations and interaction that our customers enjoy,” said Andrew Bocking, Executive Vice President of BBM at BlackBerry. “From here on out, we will focus on active users of BBM and will no longer focus on simple download numbers.”

With the BBM community now at more than 80 million active users around the globe, users are connecting on the private social network like never before. This past weekend, BlackBerry was able to remove the virtual line-up so that Android and iPhone users can now immediately download, sign in and start using BBM without having to wait.

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BBM users are enjoying the immediacy and control that BBM offers as they chat with their new contacts – either one-to-one, in multi-person chats or as part of a BBM Group. The delivered and read statuses, as well as the message-in-progress alert, keep people engaged and active in conversations on BBM.  BBM users can also share files such as photos, and voice notes, as well as update their statuses with ease. BBM Groups allows photo, calendar, chat and file sharing for up to 30 people in a user-generated community.

Every BBM user has a unique PIN that helps maintains their privacy, so users never have to give out their phone number or email address to a new or casual contact. BlackBerry ID connects with a person’s PIN, BBM contact list and services to make device switching quick and easy.

The BBM experience will continue to evolve.  In the coming months, BlackBerry will deliver BBM Video calling, BBM Voice calling and BBM Channels – a new community building service to connect BBM users even more broadly – to Android and iPhone users.

Android and iPhone device users can download BBM by visiting BBM.com.

[From BlackBerry Press Release]

Nigeria: Microsoft Windows 8.1 Operating System Now Available

Microsoft recently announced the global availability of Windows 8.1,a feature-rich update to its Windows 8 operating system, enabling customers to create experiences that keep pace with their lives—at work, at home or on the go. Consumers with a Windows 8 device in more than 230 markets and 37 languages can download the free update via the online Windows Store. Windows 8.1 will also be available on new devices and as boxed software starting Oct. 18 at retail locations around the world.

Windows 8.1 evolves the Windows vision for highly personalized computing while showcasing Microsoft’s continued commitment to rapid and responsive development.It marks a wave of new, innovative devices coming for consumers and businesses—from the convenience and mobility of tablets and 2-in-1s to the productive experience expected from laptops, all-in-ones and specialized industry devices.Many of these new devices are touch-enabled and will deliver advancements in processing power, battery life and design, across a range of price points.

With Windows 8, we introduced an era of highly mobile, touch-enabled, and always-connected computing,” said Awawu Olumide-Sojinrin, Acting Country Manager, Microsoft Nigeria. “Windows 8.1 evolves this vision and brings together everything people do across all their devices whether at home, at work or on the go. Windows is delivering the most personal computing experience out there, making your device a unique extension of you and offering more ways to create an experience that is personal, expressive and keeps pace with your life.

Windows 8.1 offers a host of increased customization refinements and functional improvements from personalization, and upgraded user interface and experience, to enhanced search and wide range of apps. Other features such as multitasking, productivity, cloud integration with SkyDrive, and a redesigned Windows store come with the new 8.1 OS.

Customers can go to vist the Windows Shop online to learn about the wide variety of new Windows devices available now and throughout the holiday season to find the one that best fits their needs and budgets. More information about Windows 8.1 is at blogs.windows.com.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. More here

Stay Connected On The Move With Nomad Mobile Powerbank

A friend once joked that now, people don’t ask for food or water when they visit, they ask for a charger for their mobile devices. But my own charging drama stopped after gotten Nomad power Storing Charger.

Nomad 5-port universal charger is a mobile power storing charger with 11,000mAh which gives up to 83 hours of talk time charge on a smartphone and the opportunity of charging multiple phones at a go with its eight phone connectors. Although the 5-port universal charger is not pocket size, with 131mm x 80mm x 20mm, it looks smart and can be used even in a meeting for people to connect with it.

Facts about Nomad 5-port Universal Charger:

  1. Nomad 5-port universal charger can charge all phones, phablets and tablets. All Nomad chargers come with charging cable and connector tips for microUSB, miniUSB, Nokia, Apple 30-pin, SonyEricsson, PSP.
  2. A Nomad charger only loses 6% of its charge if you store it for one whole month without using it.
  3. The Nomad Laptop charger has switchable voltage settings of 12v, 16v and 19v. It comes with connectors for virtually every laptop
  4. Nomad chargers are backed by a 30-day money back guarantee. If you’re not happy with what you get, they’ll refund your money.
  5. In these days of electrocuting iPhones and exploding S4 phones, a Nomad Charger is the safest way to charge your phone because it includes multiple protection features to keep you and your devices safe.
  6. A Nomad 10H weighs about the same as an iPhone5
  7. A Nomad 5-port weighs less than an iPad and can fit in the back pocket of your jean

The Nomad Charger Online Store can get your Nomad delivered same day in Lagos if you order before noon.

Photo Credit: mzeuner via Compfight cc

New BlackBerry 9720 Comes With A BBM Shortcut Key And More

For customers that want a smartphone that’s built for a communications centric experience, BlackBerry today introduced the new super social BlackBerry 9720 smartphone. Designed for a premium look and available in a variety of vibrant colors, the new BlackBerry 9720 smartphone takes everything you’d get from a starter smartphone to the next level, and comes packed with all of your favorite social apps to let you spark the conversation.

“The BlackBerry 9720 smartphone gives you all the essentials of the BlackBerry smartphone experience to support a communications centric lifestyle. It has the best keyboard and functionality for BBM, as well as an updated BlackBerry 7 OS that adds many enhancements. It’s perfect for customers upgrading from a feature phone or entry-level Android or Windows Phone device, as well as existing BlackBerry smartphone customers, that want a richer experience and jump up in style and performance,” said Carlo Chiarello, Executive Vice President for Products at BlackBerry.

SEE ALSO: BlackBerry And Oracle Organize Mobile Apps Challenge

The BlackBerry 9720 smartphone features a spacious BlackBerry Keyboard with distinct keys for optimal typing, a 2.8” touchscreen and trackpad for easy navigation, offers generous battery life, and numerous enhancements including:

BlackBerry 7 OS – The new BlackBerry 9720 smartphone comes with BlackBerry 7 OS version 7.1, which features an updated interface that lets you swipe to unlock the phone or access the camera from the lock screen, as well as additional enhancements.

BBM – The new BlackBerry 9720 smartphone features a dedicated BBM™ key that makes it quick and convenient to access the globally popular mobile social network, and with its BlackBerry Keyboard, messaging your BBM friends is easy and accurate. It also includes BBM Voice, which lets you chat over Wi-Fi for free. The latest version of BBM, which features BBM Channels, will also soon be available for download on the BlackBerry World storefront, letting you tune in and connect with the businesses, brands, celebrities and groups you are passionate about.

Built-in FM Radio – With the BlackBerry 9720 smartphone you can listen to local FM stations, and automatically let your BBM friends know what station you’re currently listening to.

Multicast to Make Yourself Heard in an Instant – The refreshed BlackBerry 7 OS lets you quickly type your message once and post it simultaneously and instantly to your friends on BBM, Twitter and Facebook. You can even snap a picture and post it to multiple social networks all at the same time, right from the camera app.

Discover New Possibilities – With access to BlackBerry 7 apps and games on BlackBerry World, the BlackBerry 9720 smartphone can make you more productive and better informed, and keep you well connected and thoroughly entertained, while on the move.

Smart for Business Too – With BlackBerry Enterprise Server or BlackBerry Enterprise Server Express, the BlackBerry 9720 smartphone offers superior business productivity features with market-leading mobile device management, application management and security, and is a very cost-effective solution for any organization.

Beginning in the coming weeks, the new BlackBerry 9720 smartphone will be available in select markets from retailers and carriers in Asia, EMEA and Latin America. A variety of accessories from cases to carrying solutions, to chargers and audio peripherals, will also be available from select retailers.

About BlackBerry

A global leader in wireless innovation, BlackBerry revolutionized the mobile industry when it was introduced in 1999. Today, BlackBerry aims to inspire the success of our millions of customers around the world by continuously pushing the boundaries of mobile experiences. More at blackberry.com

Image Credit – IBN

Apps Developed In Africa – iCow

Showcasing applications that have found relevant problems to solve in our society and that deploy corresponding solutions is why we started this series. Or as Hillary Clinton said while speaking on the Apps 4 Africa competition, we are showcasing apps that are “lending [an] innovative spirit and creativity to the enterprise of building a better future for [our] communities.” One such app is iCow.

Overview

iCow, an agricultural information service based in Kenya, is a subscription service that uses a mobile number or code to help farmers enhance productivity.The app emerged as the winner of the first Apps 4 Africa competition held in July 2010 where the team won $5,000. The competition, funded by the United States government, demanded that developers in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania build a mobile application that would be widely accessible and easy to use. Each application had to offer a unique approach to improving life in the regions and the aim was to unite the brightest African developers with people who could benefit most from innovative mobile technology.

Problem It Solves

iCow is an application that helps cow farmers maximize breeding potential by easily and efficiently tracking the fertility cycle of their animals. Before the application was available, most dairy farmers would resorted to traditional ways of milking their cows and keeping dates in their heads. As such, productivity was stemmed, especially because there was no organized means of support or innovation which could be deployed to boost dairy production and to enhance the health of the farm animals.

Unique Feature

iCow is  a voice-based application, which means farmers do not have to own a special mobile device to use it. All they would need is an ordinary phone with which they can dial a toll-free number and eventually dial specific but simple codes for special products subscription.

The use of MPESA in the advent of mobile money in Kenya also makes it an easier proposition to consider for the farmers. iCow has partnered with Safaricom to help more farmers access the application, boosting the provision of information and professional advice to farmers based on rearing of their animals.

Value Proposition

Developed in 2010 by Charles Kithika, iCow helps dairy farmers manage their cows more sustainably. The application offers value added services such as Mashauri-Farmer Tips, which upon subscription grants the farmers the opportunity to receive three SMS tips per week at a token fee. It also offers other products such as a Kalenda, a cow calendar which also makes available tips customized to each specific cow, calf or heifer. Another great product on offer is the Vetenari, which helps to find the nearest vet doctor or artificial inseminator. All of these products are made available at a token price of three Kenyan shillings per SMS for respective products. iCow is currently available in English and Kiswahili.

Potential Coverage

With the robust nature of products on offer and a continuous sense of innovation inspired by real problems and an efficient rapport with the dairy farmers, iCow is developing into a great all-in-one solution. This could be adopted as a total package template to be implemented across Africa, South America, and the more agricultural parts of Europe and the United States.

Critique

Offering video tutorials, a facebook page, a blog and other technical outlets, it is hoped that such outlets are also made available in the local languages with support bases on ground to assist farmers in their use. This would ultimately increase their interests or, at the least, transform into a hunger to get their kids educated so that they can make the most of such facilities and somehow build and sustain a potentially lasting family business.

Conclusion

iCow prides itself as being the farmer’s best friend. By creating conversations and solutions around dairy farming, enhanced animal health and farmer enlightenment, it has produced a great mix of innovation blended with the effort to solve a very relevant problem in the Kenyan society.

Image Credit - Spreadshirt.