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Shell Gas Tokosa Food Festival Returns with Reduced Shell Gas Prices

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:42

Vivo Energy Uganda, has launched the 3rd edition of the famous Shell Gas Tokosa Food Festival and announced a reduction on Shell Gas prices.

The Shell Gas Tokosa Food Festival will take place on Saturday 20th May 2017 at the Legends Grounds Kampala sponsored by DSTV, Uganda Breweries, Coca-Cola and Vivo Energy Uganda through its Shell Gas brand. This year’s festival is promising to be bigger and better with special chefs who will teach the audience how to produce complete meals in minutes. The 2017 edition will also have a dedicated kids’ corner with lots of fun activities for the children including face painting, sack races and bouncing castles among others.

Some activities that have been planned for the 2017 festival include cooking competitions for various categories including: divas sponsored by Shell Gas; bachelors sponsored by Tusker; couples by Coca-Cola; and the fathers’ cook off sponsored by DSTV. Some participants will be nominated through social media while others will be chosen from the audience. The day will also feature entertainment from Zumba dancers, performing artists and live bands.

This year the Shell Gas Tokosa Food Festival has once again identified the Bless a Child Foundation as a beneficiary partner to receive 10% of the total proceeds. The foundation provides improved childhood cancer care services for terminally ill children. Through the foundation, the children can access food, education and care, free of charge. Over 800 children have benefitted from the foundation over the past years.  The foundation will also receive a kitchen makeover at their home in Makerere-Kikoni to support care for the children.

Speaking at the media launch held at Legends Rugby Grounds on 26th April 2017, Vivo Energy Uganda’s Country Sales Manager, Edward Walugembe said the third edition of the Shell Gas Tokosa Food Festival gives Ugandans an opportunity to taste food from other countries such as Ashiana from India, Coastal from Zanzibar, Little Donkey from Mexico, Yujo from Japan and Fasika from Ethiopia, among others, as well as benefit from cooking ideas shared by special chefs to make their cooking even better.

“This annual festival gives us an opportunity to say thank you to our Shell Gas customers as they enjoy good times at the festival. Shell Gas is available in three sizes – 6kg, 12kg and 45kg, as well as the bulk solution suitable for real estate developers, schools and hospitals. We have reduced the price of the complete set of the 6kg cylinder with a burner and grill – commonly known as Ka-portable from 200,000/= to 180,000/= and the 12 kgs cylinder can now be refilled for 110,000/=.” Walugembe noted.

Gates will open at 10:00am and the entry fee is 10,000/= for adults and free for

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Samsung is working on a new app that will respond to text messages for you while you drive

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 07:48

By just reading the headline, you’d wonder if Samsung is not just try to make the existing manually triggered replies in SMS apps more automated. Yes, you guessed right– that is what they are doing. The upcoming app from Samsung is called , and it will will automatically respond to text messages when you’re in the car or riding a bike. It will be able to pull this off by using the sensors and GPS in your phone to detect when you’re in a moving car or bike and will send a preset reply to incoming texts.

The company is currently testing the app, in Netherlands, and it lets you choose two different types of replies right now. When someone sends you a message while you are driving it will automatically reply to them with the default message “I’m driving, so I cannot answer at the moment” responses or you can opt for a “fun” response with some sort of animation. We hope this app with have extensions to 3rd party apps like WhatsApp and Messenger as they are more used than traditional SMS. When it launches, Samsung plans to allow users to create a customized canned response as well.

The details on now the app will exactly how this works are currently fuzzy. Samsung’s statement on the app doesn’t reveal how the app would distinguish between drivers and passengers, for instance, but even the relatively simple functionality could go a long way toward preventing texting and driving.

 

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Xeroxing Snapchat seems to be finally paying off for Instagram

Thu, 04/27/2017 - 07:33

Instagram is on its way to hit 1 billion users, okay its not yet there but with over 700 million users, the Facebook owned company is on the right track. The photo sharing app  is growing fast if not faster and just recently, it announced that it added 100 million users in a space of 4 months to hit 700 million overall users on the video and photo sharing site after announcing 600 million users last December thanks to the new features pulled out of Snapchat’s ‘innovation labs’.

That is 300 million users short of hitting the 1 billion mark enjoyed by its bigger cousins like Facebook, Whatsapp and Messenger. Instagram now seems to have ‘curtailed’ its real threat which would be SnapChat alas copying many of the latter’s core features and integrating them into Instagram.

Instagram’s stories feature, borrowed from SnapChat now has more active users than SnapChat’s total monthly active users. SnapChat is now grappling with its CEOs alleged racially charged comments touting the app as only for rich kids and Instagram is drawing numbers boosted by low end Android devices, web signups and Stories.

If Instagram is to continue with this growth trend, within a year or two, it will be counting 1 billion users of its service and will join the billionaire club enjoyed by a paltry of apps as mentioned above and Google’s own Gmail, YouTube among others.

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Twitter is adding new active users but not revenue

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 17:04

Twitter is now an old guard when it comes to influential  social networks but its growth has stumbled over the years to somewhat being stagnant while new kids on the block like Instagram and SnapChat are growing faster than it is.

However, its new Q1 2017 earnings report  shed some light about the social network’s growth during the quarter since it has added over 9 million new monthly active users to bring the total of its monthly active users (MAUs) to 328 million. It should be noted that Twitter has over 900 million accounts on its service, many of which lay dormant.

Of the 328 million, 259 million are outside the United States which itself saw an average of 70 million monthly active users during the same period. This represented a 14% YoY increase in MAUs.

Its wasn’t all rosy for Twitter though, it registered an 8% drop in Year on Year revenue which now stands at  $548 million against the analyst’ projected $511.9 million. It beat analyst’ projections but the company neither turned a profit, it instead accumulated a net loss of $60 million which is better than what the company posted in the same quarter last year of $80 million.

Twitter remains central in online conversations happening across the world but its active user base is dwarfed by Facebook and new entrants like Instagram with over 700 million users and is adding many more in droves not forgetting SnapChat. Twitter revealed that it will now focus on livestreaming to increase its growth now that it has big guns on its service.

 

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Samsung has not yet given up on selling the Note 7: Renamed to Galaxy Note 7 R

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 14:06

Last month, Samsung said they will sell the Note 7 as refurbished device, and now according to a report from ET News (via SamMobile) the recycled Note 7 will be available in South Korea after June.

Branding and pricing are still being negotiated, but the handset will reportedly go on sale as the Galaxy Note 7 R with a price-tag of around $620 which is $266 cheaper than the original. Around 300,000 units of the three million to four million Note 7 phones recalled in the region will reportedly go on sale. There is no word if the Note 7 R will reach this side of the Sahara.

ET News notes that the Note 7 R is said to have a smaller battery than 2016’s Note 7 — which about 3,200 mAh instead of 3,500 mAh. This is a rumor we’ve heard before, and one that makes sense considering it was Samsung’s difficulty fitting a large enough battery into the original Note 7 that caused the phone to explode in the first place.

This isn’t an official announcement from Samsung, and these details may change.  As Samsung said in March: “The objective of introducing refurbished devices is solely to reduce and minimize any environmental impact. The product details including the name, technical specification and price range will be announced when the device is available. Samsung will not be offering refurbished Galaxy Note 7 devices for rent or sale in the US.”

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Datacentre investment leaders highlight Africa investment opportunity

Wed, 04/26/2017 - 13:43

Large scale datacentre investment opportunities are increasing in Sub-Saharan Africa as key commercial hubs benefit from the critical combination of high quality international backbone infrastructure (subsea cable) connectivity and mushrooming local demand for data, say investment leaders.

Michael Tobin OBE, former chief executive of data center operator Telecity, who is a key speaker at the upcoming TMT Finance Africa 2017  event in London, said there is massive potential for datacentre investment in Sub-Saharan Africa and conditions in three markets especially standout.

“Clearly South Africa is the core environment,” said Tobin. “We’re just starting to see the big boys go there: Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Netflix arrived last year, and you are seeing burgeoning volumes on the internet exchanges. Teraco, which is owned by Permira, is the standout asset by a million miles. It has the NAPAfrica infrastructure within it, so much of the traffic in all of the 53 countries in Africa goes through that.”

“Kenya is becoming increasingly interesting as the sub-sea cables coming into Mombasa drive more traffic through Nairobi. There is also significant traffic going up the east coast of Africa, through Tanzania and beyond. However, Lagos offers even more potential,” added Tobin. “As well as the massive demographic potential, it has the benefits of both sub-sea cables coming in, and acting as the central commercial hub for Nigeria, which are the two key drivers for datacentre location.”

“Whereas Kenya has Mombasa and Nairobi; Lagos is the only point you would need to put a site in Nigeria so I see tremendous investment opportunity.”

Tobin will make a keynote presentation on African datacentre investment and feature on the datacentre and cloud leadership panel at TMT Finance Africa 2017 in London on May 24.

The executive only event, which is in its eight year in London, gathers international telecom, media and tech investment leaders, investment bankers and advisers to assess the latest pan-African opportunities for investment.

Participating companies include: Orange, MTN Group, Airtel Africa, Millicom, Liquid Telecom, Google, Microsoft, American Tower Corporation, Eaton Towers, Helios Towers Africa, SEACOM, MainOne Cable, Digital Bridge, Intelsat, WIOCC, Africa Mobile Networks, Rack Centre, Societe Generale, Savannah Fund, Citi, Standard Bank Group, African Capital Alliance, Credit Suisse, IFC, the World Bank, iColo, Atlas Mara Ltd, WorldRemit, PayStack, Vanu, African Broadcast Network,  Fibersat, Sliide Airtime, Connect Africa, Government of Benin, Draper Dark Flow, Ringier Africa, Norton Rose Fullbright, Amadeus Capital Partners, Chanzo Capital, Intelsat, Digital World Capital, Jumia Food, M-KOPA Solar, Flexenclosure and Hardiman Telecom.

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Uganda ranks 7th in Africa in Use of Mobile Financial Services – Report

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:36

According to the latest report released by Quantum Global’s independent research arm, Quantum Global Research Lab has revealed that Uganda ranks 7th in the use of mobile financial services at 27%, behind Kenya 68%, Sudan at 52%, Gabon at 50%, Algeria 44%, Congo 37% and Somalia 34%.

The scores are based on a range of factors that include mobile phone penetration, financial and conventional infrastructure development, regulation and the appetite of private players to pursue new initiatives that have driven the the variation in digital financial services, unlike countries like Cameroon where only Banks are allowed to offer digital financial services directly.

“There are 203 Million registered mobile money accounts in the world, almost half of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa with East Africa accounting for the highest share. At least 19 African countries have more registered mobile money accounts than Bank accounts.” read part of the report.

Uganda was also ranked number four in Financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa, with 28% of the adult population using formal financial services. Kenya ranked first at 67% and Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, was ranked second at 60 per cent as shown below.

Our neighbors (Kenya) have a high rate of financial inclusion which is mostly supported by having the highest percentage (at nearly 60%) of people who own a mobile banking account. Safaricom’s M-PESA mobile money platform is ranked highest with approximately 30 Million subscribers, making it the most successful digital financial services initiative globally.

The report further notes that Ugandans receive nearly 70 per cent of their remittances through mobile phones, followed by Ivorians at 50%. This is well above the Sub-Saharan Africa average of 30 per cent, and a comparable markets including South Asia and Latin America each at 5 percent.

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Google founder Larry Page, has published the first video of his prototype “flying car”

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 08:48

With every passing day the future draws near, and all those concepts you watched in sci-fi movies are becoming a reality one by one. Kitty Hawk is the “flying car” company that’s financially backed by Google founder Larry Page, has published the first video of its prototype aircraft.

The Kitty Hawk Flyer is an “all-electric aircraft” this currently limited to operating over water and the beauty about it all, is that it doesn’t require a pilot’s license to fly. According to video commercial below, the company promises that people will be able to learn to fly the Flyer “in minutes.” A final version of the car will be ready for consumer use by the end of this year.

Kitty Hawk hasn’t said exactly what the Flyer is for, and no price has been set yet for the retail version. But the company is using some kind of membership priority placement to entice eager pilots to sign up. Members will also get a $2,000 discount off the eventual retail price. Here is the sad part for international users, Kitty Hawk says that there are no plans to ship the vehicle outside the US due to regulation limitations.

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This is what you can do with the new Google Earth

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 13:19

Every April 18th the world celebrates Earth Day, and Google found it wise to revamp Google Earth for web and Android. The latest version of includes a slew new features that let users see 3D maps of specific locations,curated video content, learn about random places around the world, and take guided tours.

These are some things to try with the new Google Earth, which runs in Chrome on desktop and on Android for mobile users:

View entire world in 3D Accacia Mall in 3D Google Maps

When Google Earth was first introduced, you were able to view certain buildings in 3D, provided you checked off “3D Buildings” in the Layers portion of the app. But in the newest release of Google Earth, you can view, well, the entire world in 3D. For any location searched, a clickable 2D/3D button appears on the lower right-hand corner of the screen, making it easy for users to switch views.

Epic Hunts Caught on Camera

You can also check out “Epic Hunts Caught on Camera.” Thanks to a partnership with BBC Earth, Google Earth now offers a series of short video clips narrated by Attenborough, which play in YouTube along the right-hand side of the usual Earth view. If chimpanzees or underwater expeditions are more your thing, there’s also content just for you.

Take the helm with Voyager Try out the new Voyager feature

There is a new “Voyage” tab in Google Earth, you can take a virtual tour of the Sese Islands, the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya, or any other UNESCO World Heritage sites; and check out the architecture by Zaha Hadid, and global perspectives on the different structures we call “home.”

Feeling lucky?

Ripped right out of its own search engine page, Google has ported its “I’m feeling lucky” button to the new Google Earth, and it’s a glorious way to distract yourself at work or plan your next spontaneous trip.

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Orange Bank wants to overhaul mobile money as we know it

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 11:42

The advent of mobile money has had notable effects on the way we do mobile transactions especially here in Africa. It’s a public secret that there are more mobile money accounts than there are bank accounts. Surprisingly, telecoms that control mobile money are neither banks nor financial institutions except, they partner with banks and provide the technology over which we carry out mobile money transactions and with their arsenal of network infrastructure and subscribers, banks seem no match (for now at least). They also control the entire value chain that leaves traditional banks as mere accomplices than stakeholders. Orange bank wants to change the status quo (more on this later)

It would however surprise you that most of mobile money is liquidated instantly and most often is not kept on the mobile account thus services like Mokash, Wewole which act more like traditional banking accounts springing up to allow mobile money users retain money on their accounts. Now, Orange with its Orange bank seems to have overhauled what we know as mobile money to a fully fledged bank account, now with a debit card, overdraft protection and an interest-bearing savings account. A credit and insurance services are in the coming soon mode according to Techmoran.

Let’s say, Orange bank is more like mobile money owing to its mobile nature but on steroids. Orange Bank will gradually replace Orange money and it will allow for contactless mobile payments, sending of money over SMS, instant bank balances, a debit card and a 24/bank advisory service.

Orange bank users will be able to transact and check their transaction history on the go, online and it’s network of in walk in stores in its areas of operations that includes Europe and Africa. Every transaction over the service can be tracked in real-time but the mere sending and receiving of money over text messages plus the debit card option places it far ahead of mobile money.

In hindsight, mobile money transactions happen over a USSD interface. Savings often occur over a different service though still tied to mobile money but they’re protected by the central bank given the mobile money service is just an overlay of the actual bank account, which in this case is held by traditional bank.

Over to Orange bank, everything is under one roof where the Orange bank accounts acts as a one size fits all.

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Gaming Smartphones to watch out for in 2017 

Sat, 04/22/2017 - 13:19

One of the most exciting tech events in the calendar is the unveiling of the new versions of smartphones. Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia, LG, OnePlus, Sony, Google, and Vodafone are all set for new releases during 2017 – the year of the smartphone – and each one packs its own unique blueprint for the tech-savvy consumer. While it’s easy to get lost in the small details that cause certain features to differ, when it comes to mobile gaming, it’s critical to choose the phone that would provide you with the optimal user experience.

The biggest push for smartphones in 2017 will come courtesy of the Snapdragon 835 chip, which offers a 25% increase in graphics rendering compared to half the power used by its forerunners. For big gamers, this means game-play on a mobile device will be nearly as crystal clear as it is on a console or PC. Gaming on the move has never been as accessible as it will be in 2017.   
via GIPHY

When choosing a new smartphone for gaming, many features stand out as affecting play: touch responsiveness, battery life, processing power. The perfect smartphone would have the ability to combine all these features to create the optimum device for mobile gaming. But we’re still a little way off that yet, so choosing the feature that would make or break gaming on your phone is the next best strategy.

Early reports indicate that the Samsung Galaxy S7 holds the title of best phone for mobile gaming. With a 5.5-inch AMOLED display powered by a Snapdragon 820 chipset, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage space rounding out its features, the S7 was seemingly designed to be a gamer’s new top dog. Samsung’s leap into allowing Vulkan APIs means players will be first in line for top-graphic games. Game Tools and Game Launcher allow for an optimized gameplay mode that allows users to block notifications and keep games in one place. The camera also means that when new AR (Augmented Reality) titles are released, users will be fully optimized for it. 

However, back to the days of playing Snake on an old Nokia, not everyone looks to have a mini game console in their hand. A lot of mobile games don’t necessarily require the highest processing power and the top-of-the-line graphics offered by Samsung and Apple. Older games such as Worms and Tetris don’t take much out of your mobile to play them – and even Angry Birds isn’t as difficult for a phone as one might expect (although the graphics may suffer slightly at lower resolutions). For those into iGaming, games such as mobile bingo use up very little processing power from your phone. Different variants of bingo such as Bargain Bingo and Bingo Linx available at Fabulous Bingo have quick-fire rounds, and enable players to choose how much they want their phone to process at once, making it suitable for lower spec phones.   

 

via GIPHY

No smartphone debate can be complete without a mention of the latest iPhone. The iPhone 8 is due for release later in 2017. While Apple remains quiet about its features, an oft-debated topic for tech fans, Imagination Technologies, a company Apple use heavily for their hardware, have revealed they are developing an Augmented Reality chip. Apple recently dropped its licensing of hardware for a chance to go it alone. Could this mean that Apple themselves are developing the AR chip to enhance gaming? Should Apple be using the chip in their new devices, then this will be a massive game-changer for the world of mobile gaming. The capabilities and graphics from the chip will allow Apple to soar above its competitors for gameplay style and looks.

But not every version of gaming requires the features that the latest smartphones offer. The enhanced graphics can be detrimental to certain games, and the processing power and battery consumption of the enhanced features may be a massive con for anyone wanting longevity when it comes to gameplay. At the end of the day, choosing the best smartphone for gaming really depends on what exactly you need it for. With the market saturation as it is, there is a smartphone optimized for every kind of gaming, and there really is something for everyone out there. 

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Uber expands its services in Kampala. Check out the new places you can make an Uber request. 

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 19:28

Since it’s launch, the Uganda’s leading ride Sharing service has been committed to connecting its customers to safe, reliable and affordable rides – be it for your daily commute or for a night out on the town.

Starting April, 21st, Uber is updating their service area from where you can request trips to make sure that there is more reliability in the core areas of Kampala. The new service area means more reliable rides when you need them. Check out Uber Uganda’s new coverage footprint

Uber Uganda footprint

The key benefits to this expansion include:

  • Lower estimated times of arrival as more driver partners are made available around the core service area
  • Riders can still be dropped off outside the service area, they just can’t request from outside the service area.

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Cable System connecting Africa and the Americas reaches a major milestone to create a new route for Internet traffic

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 19:13

Taking a step closer to completing a valuable new route for the global telecommunications sector, Angola Cables today announced the completion of the marine survey for the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS), as well as the start of cable loading on the Angolan side of SACS. Marking an important milestone in the development of the globally relevant project , when completed, SACS will interconnect with the Monet cable system — connecting the United States and Brazil — and WACS, the West Africa Cable System.


SACS is a 40 Tbps cable — 6,165 km in length — with four fibre pairs that will connect Angola to Brazil, linking Africa and the Americas. (Each fibre pair is capable of transmitting 100 wavelengths with a bandwidth of 100Gbit/s.)  Angola Cables is one of the 12 members of the consortium that manages WACS (and one of its largest shareholders), a cable system which provides carrier level services to operators in Angola and Sub-Saharan Africa across 11 countries. As a 14,530 km cable running from Yzerfontein (South Africa) to London (UK), WACS has four fibre pairs and includes 14 landing points, 12 along the western coast of Africa (including Cape Verde and Canary Islands) and two in Europe (Portugal and England).

With the marine survey successfully completed, Angola Cables assures that the cable will be deployed in the best route, thus avoiding hazardous points, a crucial factor in ensuring longevity of SACS. Completion of the marine survey means that final manufacturing can be completed and any minor route and/or cable type adjustments can be fine-tuned based on the actual survey findings. With the loading of the Pre-Laid Shore End (PLSE) the construction of SACS is underway. For this aspect of the cable system, Angola Cables commissioned NEC Japan and contracted Ocean Specialists, Inc (OSI) to oversee the construction process, all to assure the highest levels of quality.

“We have worked closely with our partners and suppliers to ensure the highest possible value of the SACS network for our customers,” said Antonio Nunes, CEO of Angola Cables. “As part of our global connectivity strategy, SACS will offer the first direct, high-capacity southern transatlantic connection.”

SACS to be ready by the middle of 2018 
“These key milestones illustrate that the SACS cable is on target for completion as Angola Cables continues to build sales momentum for delivery of services on SACS by the middle of 2018. Increasingly, customers are turning to the southern transatlantic route for diversification and security. SACS, coupled with Monet and the existing WACS cable, provide unparalleled value for which we are seeing very high demand in the marketplace,” added Artur Mendes, Chief Commercial Officer for Angola Cables.

This is a press release 

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5 Android Virtual Assistant Apps ideal for Entrepreneur

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 08:25

Written By: Maina Ndugo

The typical day of an entrepreneur comes with its share of challenges. Slow traffic, difficulty in reaching out to new customers and inadequate capital are just a tip of the iceberg. In short, most startups’ directors endure overwhelming schedules while in pursuit of maximizing returns on their capital.

Fortunately, Google’s Android operating system has significantly made life easier. A typical Android smartphone has default applications which enable business directors use their time more effectively. Google Maps, for instance has made order deliveries convenient because truck drivers can rely on Google’s highly accurate maps, to guide them right to a customer’s doorstep. Default social media apps pre-installed in the smartphone are great tools for effectively promoting one’s brand online.

The Google Play Store has amazing Android virtual assistant applications which are beneficial to entrepreneurs. Here are 5 highly rated personal assistant apps that will take off the stress off your back.

1. Indigo

Indigo, a Canadian based online book and music store launched this app in 2013. It has a vibrant user interface that implements easy access to basic features such as voice activated calls. You can count on Indigo to translate Chinese to English. Quite handy, because it eliminates language barriers whenever you’re on a business expedition in China.

Indigo will regularly back up your contacts, appointments and calendars online to your personal cloud and email accounts. This feature is great because you can easily update your growing customer database. Users can also update their Facebook and Twitter statuses by speaking rather than typing. How cool is that?

Download Indigo

2. Dragon Mobile Assistant
Nuance Communications launched their virtual assistant app for Android users in 2012. The app has continuously improved in terms of stability and increasing features since its debut. A user can activate Dragon via voice command even when their phone’s screen is off and locked. This means you can focus on driving while Dragon searches and downloads maps to your destination.
Dragon enables its users to dictate and send emails on-the-go. When you’re stuck in traffic, you can redeem the time spent through sending your email sales copies or response to customers’ queries via speech. The location sharing feature is ideal for fast food and restaurant owners because it pin points their exact location in the city or town. Hence, new customers can easily locate the advertised delicacies.
3. Cortana
Microsoft initially launched Cortana as a virtual assistant for Windows 10 users. Cortana made its PlayStore debut in 2015 and has garnered thousands of positive reviews globally. Users can operate its intelligent search engine features to receive results that match individual tastes and current geographical location. Sellers can also track packages en route to clients’ destinations using Cortana.
Users can synchronize Cortana with their personal computers or tablets. It’s a huge plus because you will stay updated on recent developments in the office, while you’re miles away from home on a business trip.

4. Google Now
Google launched their virtual assistant Smartphone app in 2012 with an aim of neutralizing Siri’s immensely growing popularity. Google Now has a feature that enables users to search for items and places online through activating the smartphone’s camera. Online entrepreneurs can schedule website updates e.g. posting new articles, podcasts and videos, through voice command.
This virtual assistant app also provides accurate foreign exchange conversions for multiple currencies. Its Android user face closely resembles the Windows 10 simplistic interface.

5. AIVC (Alice)
AIVC stands for Artificial Intelligence Voice Control. AVIC was among the pioneer personal assistant apps and still ranks among the best, thanks to its user friendly features. Unlike other Android personal assistants that offer users a limited list of voice commands, you can create your own voice commands using AIVC. Creating additional voice commands will enable you delegate low priority tasks to AIVC while you focus on product development and effective marketing campaigns.
Stock market investors can get information on local, regional and international financial securities by simply asking Alice. Users can also remotely control devices installed with AVIC.

Final thoughts
For best user experience, you require KitKat or recent Android OS versions on your smartphone or tablet. Download your preferred virtual assistant apps today for free on the Play Store.

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How to manage your Android Apps using the Google Play Store

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 08:26

Getting rid of apps you rarely use is getting easier by the day, especially in such times when one can have over fifty apps installed on their smartphones. Google has unleashed a new feature in the play store  in the “My Apps” section, a place where you go to update apps or reinstall past downloads. This area has been updated with a better, more condensed layout that utilizes the phone’s space. The new update is rolling out to everyone on the Play Store now and there is no need to wait for the next big Android system update.

So, lets try and understand how bad the situation was before. As you see from the images below, on the left shows you how this section of the Play Store looked before the big update. As you can see with the new update;

  • The unused white space is gone.
  • Icons has been made smaller and more ergonomic
  • App rating for an already installed app is gone
  • App updating has been made easier
  • Uninstall apps
Left: the old “My apps” section in the Play Store. To the right is the new, revamped look.

From the above screenshot in the right, a lot of great aesthetic progress has been made. Now with sizable app icons , you can now simply tap “update” next to a specific app if it gets a cool new feature you want to try — without bulk updating all the others at the same time.

How to manage your apps

That is just beginning, here comes the best part, of Google’s new look in the Play Store. The  “Installed” tab, has been revamped and now lets you sort the dozens or hundreds of apps you’re carrying around by four common-sense criteria:

  • Alphabetical
  • Last updated
  • Last used
  • Size

And the “Last used” is one of the best ways you will use to manage your Android apps.  You will get to see apps you has not used in days, weeks or months. This is an excellent tool for reducing those apps that could really don’t need to use.

Another way of managing your apps is the “Size” option. It helps you view the entire size of the app — including any downloaded content. For example in my case, Spotify shows up as a 1.7 GB beast, which accounts for the app itself and all the offline music I’ve saved. So this was a great way of uninstalling apps that are hogging up your precious memory. You will be able to delete large-but-rarely-opened apps by just takes sorting the list by size.

Manage Android Apps in Play Store

Truth be told, there are other places in Android to find some of this information and manage your apps effectively, it however involved digging through endless setting menus which can be quit cumbersome. But this time round, Google is making things easier for Android users by baking the functionality right in the Play Store where it was meant to be in the first place.

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Govt extends SIM card registration exercise

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 22:00

With less than a few hours to the SIM card re-registration deadline set by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), the Prime Minister of Uganda Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has called for an extension or the registration exercise that was due to end 20th April. The government has given the public and extra month to ensure that they are able to register their SIM cards with their respective carriers.

In a letter to all stakeholders including the regulator UCC , the Prime Minister said “The Government has reviewed  the said timelines and taken a decision that the ongoing SIM card verification exercise should be extended to the 19th May 2017” See full letter below.

PM’s letter to UCC to extend SIM card registration exercise

 

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Apple Music is coming to Facebook Messenger as an extension

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 08:14

Apple Music will soon be backed into your Facebook Messenger chat app. This integration will allow people to browse Apple Music from inside of Messenger, find a song, and send it into their chat.

This was announced yesterday at the Facebook’s F8 conference, David Marcus, head of Messenger, said, “I’m really excited to share with you that Apple Music will soon be on the platform as well.” And while it’s not available yet details of this partnership are still sketchy and Apple Music only got a “coming soon” label, so there isn’t even a firm ETA on when it’ll be available.

The choice to pick Apple as a partner to integrate its Music is pretty awesome, as Apple Music is one of the few Music streaming apps used worldwide even here in Africa unlike Spotify where you need to do have some “trickery” to listen to it on your mobile.  It should be noted that Spotify has been working in Messenger for over a year now, you had to go out to Spotify to both find and listen to a song making the experience horrible.

From what it seems like, everyone will then be able to play the song back in Apple Music without leaving Messenger, which is a huge plus over how Facebook’s older integrations work, kicking users out to separate apps. Of course, you’ll almost certainly still need a subscription to hear a full song.

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High Court squashes SIM card registration deadline

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 20:03

Mobile telephone subscribers spent the whole Easter weekend struggling to get their SIM card details registered with their respective carriers. UCC was dragged to court by Norman Tumuhimbise, an activist working for Rights Trumpet Ltd on 18th April and by evening the High Court had granted a restraining order against the exercise which was due to end on Thursday 20th April.

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) had issued a seven-day period during which all subscribers has to register or verify the registration of SIM cards using strickly National ID for the locals and Passports for non-Ugandans or be switched off.

“An interim order restrains the respondent and the telecommunication service providers from enforcing or implementing the directive of Sim card subscriber details update/verification by Thursday April 20 or recognizing the National Identity card as the sole document of identity—until the final determination of the main application for a temporary injunction,” the court order to the UCC and telecom companies reads.

The court will on Wednesday April 19 hear this case is seeking to stop UCC from implementing the directive.
The plaintiff also wants the court to review UCC’s requirement that requires all Ugandan of age to register their SIM card using a national identity card and passports for foreigners. Refugees were also expected to obtain certification from the Prime Minister’s office before their SIM cards are verified within the stipulated seven days, raising concerns among various groups.
The Uganda Law Society for example has argued that it would make sense if the registration was extended so that it takes at least three months.

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Smile customers can now register or update their SIM card data using WhatsApp

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 19:05

Smile communications customers can now conveniently register/update their SIM card registration details using WhatsApp, email or SMS using the steps below;

To Update National ID Number details:

  1. Use your SmileVoice number or alternative contact you registered with Smile.
  2. Send an SMS with your National ID Number (NIN) details to 0720197197.

To Check Registration Status:

  1. Use your SmileVoice number or alternative contact you registered with Smile.
  2. Send an SMS with the word “Registration” to 0720197197.

Whatsapp or Email:

You can send us a clear copy of your National ID or Foreign Passport and Smile account to our WhatsApp number 0720076453 or e-mail customercare@smile.co.ug

As per the UCC directive, please update your SIM details before Thursday 20th April 2017 to avoid disconnection from the network.

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SIM card registration drama continues: This is what will happen to your Mobile Money account after the deadline

Tue, 04/18/2017 - 09:04

The Easter holidays are done but one thing still lingers — SIM card registration. With a a few days left to the April 20th deadline imposed by UCC, after which those who have not registered their SIM cards with will be disconnected by their respective carriers. So what happens to your precious MTN Mobile Money, Airtel Money , Africell Money, MSente or Smart Pesa account in case you have not been able to register your SIM with a national ID on time?

In a telephone interview with the New Vision, UCC boss Mr Godfrey Mutabaazi said that for those subscribers who use their SIM cards to carry out Mobile Money transactions and who will have not registered by 20th April, the regulator will work with Bank of Uganda to freeze whatever money they have on their accounts until they have the SIM cards registered.

This has pushed many Ugandans to register their SIM cards even over the Easter holidays. This has caused systems of some telcos to malfunction. Mr Mutaabizi said that the regulator had received complaints that the Airtel’s systems (USSD *197# registration) was temporarily down and they instructed the carrier to rectify the issue. Which was later rectified.

More than 5 million people would be switched off

NIRA statistics indicate that close to 17 million people (16 years and above) registered for National IDs but the number of mobile phone subscribers stands at 22 million. Which means at least 5 million Ugandans who use either voice, data or mobile money services will be disconnected after the deadline. This is a huge loss to the telecos, especially the big players with massive numbers. According the initial directive, people below the age of 16, who don’t have National Identity Numbers (NINs), but own phones, can register using their parent’s details.

Several bodies have come out to criticize the move by UCC including the ICT Association of Uganda (ICTAU) and Uganda Law society. The Uganda Law society wrote to the commission informing it that the directive was not supported under the current exiting laws. According to the letter to UCC from the law society, “The current law that can be used is the Regulations of  Interception of Communications Instrument No. 42 of 2011. This law under regulation 7 (3) allows valid identification documents recognized and issued by the Government agencies such as national IDs, work permits, national passports, driving licences, Students Identity cards and voter cards to be used for registration.”

In his response to the Law Society letter, Eng. Mutabazi said the registration of personal Act 2015 allowed the use of the “harmonizing” NIN. He said that “The Act, makes it mandatory for persons to produce National IDs to access any public service or office and documents, etc”.

Repeatedly, the regulator also banned the vending of SIM cards on the streets. So far, several people have been arrested and charged by Uganda Police in bid to enforce the UCC directive. Banning of street vending of SIM cards averts the risk associated with the use of unregistered SIM cards.

 

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