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Updated: 1 hour 16 min ago

These are the new Netflix originals set for release in April

Fri, 03/24/2017 - 09:40

Every new month we anticipate all the new content that Netflix will throw our way. The world’s largest on demand streaming media giant is doubling down on original content this year and April 2017 is the busiest month in the company’s history as far as original releases go. There are some huge releases in there that people have been eagerly anticipating such as the hilarious British comedy Chewing Gum (Featured Image), Louis C.K.’s new special and the return of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Here’s the full list (titles with an asterisk are feature-length films):

  1. Chewing Gum, season 2 (April 4th)
  2. Louis C.K. 2017 (April 4th)
  3. El Faro De Las Orcas (April 7th)*
  4. Dawn of the Croods, season 3 (April 7th)
  5. The Get Down: Part 2 (April 7th)
  6. Win It All (April 7th)
  7. Chelsea, season 2 (April 14th)
  8. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (April 14th)
  9. Sandy Wexler (April 14th)*
  10. Slam (April 15th)*
  11. Lucas Brothers: On Drugs (April 18th)
  12. Bill Nye Saves the World, season 1 (April 21st)
  13. Girlboss, season 1 (April 21st)
  14. Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On, season 1 (April 21st)
  15. The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show, season 4 (April 21st)
  16. Sand Castle (April 21st)*
  17. Tales by Light, season 2 (April 21st)
  18. Tramps (April 21st)*
  19. The 101-Year-Old Man Who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared (April 25th)*
  20. Vir Das: Abroad Understanding (April 25th)
  21. Las Chicas del Cable, season 1 (April 27th)
  22. Casting JonBenet (April 28th)
  23. Dear White People, season 1 (April 28th)
  24. Rodney King (April 28th)*
  25. Small Crimes (April 28th)*

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Mara Social Media Acquires Global Instant Messaging & Communications Platform “Nimbuzz”

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 11:38

Mara Social Media, an African multi-channel platform of online and mobile tech innovations that are designed to connect people across emerging markets, has announced this week that it has acquired global platform Nimbuzz Assets.

Nimbuzz, initially released in May 2008 is a powerful cross-platform mobile calling and messaging app. The app can be installed on computers, mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets. Nimbuzz offers its users the ability to make voice and video calls, enable chat and file sharing worldwide. The app has over 200 million users and is available for Android, iPhone, and Symbian, MIDP, Windows Phone, BlackBerry and PC & MAC clients.

Anubhav Nagar, CEO of Mara Social Media said “We see a strong momentum for consumer messaging apps, which are set to overtake social media apps globally. According to reports and current trends it is clear that social media apps are likely be eclipsed by messaging apps in the next two years. This is the opportunity, which we identified with Nimbuzz.”

As part of this acquisition, Mara gains access to Nimbuzz’s & Holaa’s unified platform as well as their international assets, IP & Database. The acquisition provides a strong foundation for our future growth in emerging markets. Nimbuzz Instant messenger & Holaa has a user base of 200 million registered users spread across India and the Middle East.

Ahuti Chug, Chair of Mara Social Media said “Users are now demanding a messaging app experience that goes beyond entertainment or communications. We see this as a gap in the offering of the existing messenger players in most markets and it opens up a huge opportunity for Mara to tap in to. We are extremely excited about this move and with the fact that it makes us a global player in this space.”

Mara will roll-out a new hybrid approach for the Nimbuzz messenger which would be an amalgamation of content, Incubator platform, smart market place and consumer communities. Mara plans to integrate the Nimbuzz platform with its existing Mara platforms including Mara Mentor and Mara Jobs into Nimbuzz Messenger and vice versa.

Mara Mentor is a free online mentoring platform that connects ambitious entrepreneurs and business leaders globally and can be accessed via a web-based platform and a mobile application that’s available on iOS and Android.

Mara Jobs is an online job platform in emerging markets including Africa & the Indian Sub-Continent. It is a platform specially designed to service the blue collar and white collar job markets in these regions which are currently hugely fragmented.

Through this multi-platform integration of Nimbuzz & Mara’s current consumer facing platforms, the long-term play for Mara Social Media is to enable commerce by growing and amplifying the power of the user base & engagement.

IPO PR

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Android O: Top 10 features of Google’s latest Android version

Thu, 03/23/2017 - 10:14

Google has announced the latest version of Android and unsurprisingly is Android O. O comes after N which was Android Nougat. And the first developer preview is landing today giving is a very early look of what to expect from Android O. Features that will be ready when the update rolls out later this year. So lets dive-in and have a look at the top 10 features of Android O.

1. Notification Channels

In Android O, notifications can now be grouped by type, and you will have more control on the Notification that you see. For example you can change how new Apps notify you or how a music player might show you a persistent notification. Basically, this means we are getting more ways to control the flood of notifications coming to our devices. This will help people separate the signal from the noise with the more important notifications filtered to the top.

2. Background Limits (Better Battery life)

This is a big under-the-hood change that would potentially give a big difference to battery life on Android O. The new version puts certain restrictions of what Apps can do in the background like location updates, broadcasts of other apps to pick up on and activities that continue running on the app in the background. This is a continuation of the work Google started in Nougat, like dose on the go which is part of this push to make Android more battery efficient.

3. Picture and Picture (PnP) on phone and tables

This is the ability to have two app screens like a minimized video in front of a spreadsheet app. PnP lets you shrink down an App to the floating section which you can then bounce around in the foreground, while you work on other Apps in the background. Now PnP, was technically possible on Android Nougat, although in practice it was basically limited to Android TV, so bringing it to phones and tables is going to open this feature up to many more people. This feature is already available to iPad users so they know how useful it can be.

4. Auto-fill APIs

Google is making it easier to use Password Managers and similar tools in Android O with these new APIs. In O, Apps can set themselves up as Auto-fill providers and Save Passwords and other types of information that you might want to otherwise copy and paste. The idea behind this just like you can switch between keyboard apps on Android with this feature you will still be able to switch between Password manager Apps with Auto fill.

5. Adaptive Icons

This is built on the work that Google has done with circular icons on the Pixel devices but it also helps manufacturers (OEM) wanting to bring their own look and feel to Android’s App icons.

In O, Apps can be given a custom mask kind of like a cookie cutter and they can be in form of a square or circle or in between. We’ve seen some custom implementation of this in Huawei, Samsung, LG and others and it has always been kind of a mess each OEM  doing things doing things a little bit differently. So bringing this to the OS level in this new version of Android will ensure that wherever icons appear look nice and consistent.

6. Fonts for developers

This doesn’t make a huge difference for normal users, but for developers its just an easy way to have full control over the fonts used in your apps. This doesn’t affect any fonts that your device maker might have included it just makes it easier for developers to work with fonts in their own Apps.

7. Wide -gamut color support for Apps

In O, developers will be able to use wide-gamut color profiles in their apps such as Adobe RGB, Pro-photo RGB and DCIP3. So what does this mean? As phone and tablet displays become better, it opens Android devices to professional apps that use these profiles. There have been all kind of rumors that Google might be talking with Android tablet convertibles, and this is a small piece of the puzzle which makes better for content creators.

8. Connectivity Features

The new version will be support for high-quality Bluetooth audio through Sony’s L-DAC codec. This is important as most people are shifting to wireless headphones. On top of that, O introduces the new A-audio API for audio latency. Audio latency has been a weakness in Android and just like wide color gamut, this is something that will be important for Audio content creators.

Android O will be support to WiFi Aware. This is something that will work like Apple’s i-Becon. This will enable device connect to each other without a separate WiFi Access  point. With WiFi Aware in O, an App can send you information from other devices around you or you can share information and messages to people around you without using mobile data or a separate WiFi access point. This could be useful at shopping malls and concert venues.

Finally the tele-call framework has been updated for third-party calling apps.

9. Better Webviews

Webviews are the things that let developers show you web content in apps like when you click a weblink in Facebook or Twitter, Android O makes Webviews more secure. Web content is still an important part of Android and so helping developers make it more secure and less crashing is a win for everyone.

10. Improved Keyboard Navigation

This is going to be an important part of Android on Chrome books even though most high-end Chrome books include a touch screen, you still need a solid keyboard experience. And in O, Google is helping developers include better support for navigating around with Arrow keys and tab keys.

We shall get to know about more of these features at the Google I/O event in May.

 

 

 

 

 

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Internet Society announces first ever Africa Regional Internet and Development Dialogue

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 10:05

The Internet Society today announced that it will hold the first ever Africa Regional Internet and Development Dialogue from 8-9 May 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda, in partnership with UNESCO and Republic of Rwanda.

The two-day meeting will bring together experts including government and inter-governmental organization officials, business and educational leaders from throughout the continent to discuss how Africa can use the Internet to advance education, innovation and job creation.

The event aims at gathering various organizations working on Internet and development across the region to identify synergies and create opportunities for coordination and collaboration.

“One of the key topics of discussion will be what needs to be done for Africa to benefit from the transformational opportunities of the Internet for the benefit of the African economy and education,” explains Dawit Bekele, Regional Bureau Director for Africa at the Internet Society. “While there are many challenges, we know it can be done. Countries such as Kenya and Rwanda have created policy environments that enable innovation and they are now seeing the benefits of the Internet economy. Universities throughout the continent are also using e-learning opportunities to increase their reach as well as to give flexibility for their students.”

“Africa is on an unstoppable move toward digital transformation. However, the room for increasing speed and impact is limitless,” says Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Rwanda’s Minister for Youth and ICT. “This can only be achieved if we are able to harness effectively the power of partnerships. We therefore welcome and are pleased to co-host this dialogue which is a great platform for advanced partnerships ahead of the transform Africa Summit that Rwanda will host from May 10 to 12, 2017.”

The Africa Regional Internet Development Dialogue is an opportunity for key stakeholders to:

  • discuss not only the challenges, but also the achievements in building the Internet economy and education in Africa;
  • review the successes and setbacks of various initiatives throughout the region and share lessons-learned;
  • identify the next steps different stakeholders need to take to build the Internet economy and improve education in Africa.

“I am honored to participate in this very meaningful event. UNESCO is committed to working with all stakeholders to harness ICTs in a way that serves the interests of learners and the larger teaching/learning community,” said Indrajit Banerjee, Director, Knowledge Societies Division, Communications and Information Sector, UNESCO.

This conference is part of a global series of Internet development conferences organized by the Internet Society with the aim of furthering the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that aim at tackling the world’s main development challenges by 2030. Regional Internet Development Dialogues were held last year in Asia Pacific, hosted by UNESCAP, and in Latin America & Caribbean in partnership with Inter-America Development Bank and hosted by the Government of Argentina.

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Tecno explains why you should try out the Camon CX’s camera

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:42

It Is no longer news that yearly, TECNO raises the bar on smartphone camera technology via its CAMON flagship. In the past, the CAMON C8 and CAMON C9 have displaced rival brands and successfully carved a niche for themselves in the market; still delivering value for money till date.

Interestingly, recently leaked pictures of the next CAMON flagship, the CAMON CX is about to create a paradigm shift in smartphone design and photography experience. Let’s make sense out of the leaked pictures

The nicely positioned front camera has 16MP rating and dual flashlights. This camera focuses on object with great speed and captures stunning high-resolution photos just the way they are – beautiful and colorful. Interestingly, under extreme lowlight, the dual flash ensures that the CAMON CX still captures sharp and bright images. With the lowlight optimization on CAMON CX, I believe its time to finally bid bye to dark pictures. Yes, now people will stop appearing like shadows in their own pictures because of poor background lighting. Upon its release, the CAMON CX is expected to be the best lowlight Selfie camera.

With an anticipated 120-degrees wide-angle capacity, group Selfies can effectively capture everyone just the way they are arranged. Remember that your college graduation picture which some of your classmates who posed at the edge were cut off? Now, that will no longer be a problem with the release of the CAMON CX due to its wide-angle mode that enables it to effortlessly squeeze several people into a single frame. By simply tapping anywhere on the screen or using the fingerprint scanner, you can capture moments on the device as fast as in 0.1second.

The CAMON CX cameras are designed to reduce visual distortion that looks like grains usually present in pictures taken under lowlight. Its 16MP rear camera has a 0.1second focus that makes capturing moving object possible without the images being blurred. Also, the ring flash positioned just beneath the rear camera combines four bright flashes to increase background light by 100% when compared to regular flash and casts evenly over darkness. These set of ring flashlights do not only prevent users from having to recognize their friends in the photos using their eyeballs and teeth however, it also helps capture every color in the environment clearly.

This is definitely a 5.5” Full HD IPS screen, with high pixel density to make sure that every detail on the screen is clear and sharp. Whether under direct sunlight or under your blanket, the CAMON CX super-bright screen delivers vibrant displays all day long.

Indeed, the design of the CAMON CX is epic and its camera has finally addressed problems with photography under lowlight, which other smartphones have not being able to fix in the past. No doubt, TECNO’s effort on this device will serve as a benchmark for further technological developments in smartphone photography.

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How to seamlessly send and receive Mobile money across the East Africa region

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 08:50

With East Africa getting ‘closer’ by the day, you can send and receive cash fast and conveniently across the region through M-PESA using your MTN line. Whether it’s sending cash to your business partners in Rwanda, sending pocket money to your college going children in Uganda, sending money to family in Tanzania or suppliers in Kenya, you can do it all through your phone.

Sender or receiver must be a Safaricom subscriber and registered on M-PESA in Kenya,  MTN – Uganda customer, MTN – Rwanda customer or Vodacom –  Tanzania customer.

The Process of Sending the money

To a MTN Uganda Subscriber

  1.  Dial *840#
  2. Enter your preferred PIN
  3. Select Send Money
  4. Enter destination phone number in the international format e.g. 256xxxxxxxxxx
  5. Enter amount and confirm

To a MTN Rwanda Subscriber

  1. Dial *840#
  2. Enter your preferred PIN
  3. Select Send Money
  4. Enter destination phone number in the international format e.g. 250xxxxxxxxxx
  5. Enter amount and confirm

To a Vodacom Tanzania subscriber

  1. Go to M-PESA menu and select Lipa na M-PESA.
  2. Select paybill and enter business number 255255.
  3. Enter recipients mobile number as account number in the format 2557XXXXXXXX.
  4. Enter amount, M-PESA PIN and confirm the transaction.

NB: If you do not have Lipa Na M-PESA on your menu, go to M-PESA, select my account and update menu. A new menu will be sent to you at no cost.

How to know how much will be delivered

In Ugandan Shillings?

  1. Dial *840#
  2. Enter your service PIN
  3. Enter amount in Kenya Shillings that you want to send
  4. Enter destination phone number in international format e.g. 256xxxxxxxxx You will receive a pop up message with Total to send (UGS) Total charges (KES) Total M-PESA used

Use the same procedure for other countries, just change the Number in the approved format.

You Should also Know this:
  • To send money from Kenya to Uganda and Rwanda simply dial *840# on your phone.
  • To send money from Kenya to Tanzania, simply go to M-PESA and select Lipa Na M-PESA. Select Pay Bill and enter business number 255255. Enter recipient’s mobile number as account number in the format 2557XXXXXXXX then Enter amount, M-PESA PIN and confirm the transaction.
  • When in TZ simply dial *150*00# and then “Send money to MPESA Kenya” on your Vodacom line
  • When in Rwanda; dial *830# to send money to Kenya from your MTN line.
  • When in Uganda; dial *165# to send money to Kenya from your MTN line.

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What is Bixby? Here are the 3 key features of Samsung’s digital virtual assistant

Tue, 03/21/2017 - 08:48

Today, Samsung has officially announced its own take on the virtual assistant, and it’s calling it Bixby. The company believes that a new intelligent interface on our devices will change the way we interact with our phones placing it as a major differentiator from other voice agents or assistants in the market like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Google Assistant.

Samsung has employed artificial intelligence, reinforcing deep learning concepts to the core of their user interface designs. Bixby will first appear on the Galaxy S8, expected to be announced later this month. The phone will have a dedicated button to launch the assistant, but Samsung says that its initial capabilities will be limited to a handful of preinstalled apps, with others added over time.

The new Virtual Assistant offers a deeper experience thanks to proficiency in these three key features:

1. Completeness

When an application becomes Bixby-enabled, Bixby will be able to support almost every  task that the application is capable of performing using the conventional interface (ie. touch commands).  Most existing agents currently support only a few selected tasks for an application and therefore confuse users about what works or what doesn’t work by voice command. The completeness property of the new Virtual Assistant will simplify user education on the capability of the agent, making the behaviors of the agent much more predictable.

 

2. Context Awareness

When using a Bixby-enabled application, users will be able to call upon Bixby at any time and it will understand the current context and state of the application and will allow users to carry out the current work-in-progress continuously.  Bixby will allow users to weave various modes of interactions including touch or voice at any context of the application, whichever they feel is most comfortable and intuitive.  Most existing agents completely dictate the interaction modality and, when switching among the modes, may either start the entire task over again, losing all the work in progress, or simply not understand the user’s intention.

 

3. Cognitive Tolerance

When the number of supported voice commands gets larger, most users are cognitively challenged to remember the exact form of the voice commands. Most agents require users to state the exact commands in a set of fixed forms. Bixby will be smart enough to understand commands with incomplete information and execute the commanded task to the best of its knowledge, and then will prompt users to provide more information and take the execution of the task in piecemeal. This makes the interface much more natural and easier to use.

Samsung knows it can’t compete with the big guys like Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and others when it comes to raw machine learning power and putting vast amounts of information at your fingertips, so it’s using Bixby to solve a simpler task that those companies have largely ignored. The company argues that its deeper integration of Bixby within apps will make it more useful and more reliable than prior efforts.

Still confused about how the whole Bixby thing will work? We’ll find in a matter of weeks when the Galaxy S8 is announced.

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The new Qualcomm 205 platform will bring 4G to more affordable smartphones

Mon, 03/20/2017 - 10:18

It’s been three years since Qualcomm last updated its entry-level mobile platform, fast speed internet connectivity like 4G and other services to phones designed for sale in markets like Africa, India, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. The latest Qualcomm 205 platform announced today, includes its 205 System-on-Chip (SoC), capable of 150 Mbps download speeds on 4G, 3G, and 2G networks, as well as a dual-core 1.1 GHz CPU, Qualcomm’s Adreno GPU, and not forgetting the much popular dual-SIM support.

Don’t expect the 205 platform  to have the advanced capabilities of the company’s top- of the range features. It will support front and rear 3 MP cameras, a 480p VGA display running at 60 frames-per-second, and let users stream videos. With the growing number of 4G connections in Africa and other developing nations, the new platform will enable users upgrade from 3G or even 2G phones to 4G devices.

The feature phones that use the 205 SoC can also run longer on one charge, making phones useful in rural areas or places with limited electricity. On top of bring new feature to affordable mobile devices, Qualcomm says that these phones will enable easy access to financial transactions for people who run small businesses, enable the use of Voice over LTE and Voice over Wi-Fi, as well as opening up a world of streaming video and music to users. The platform is available from today, but should start to reach the market later this year.

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The 2017 Airtel Internship Program: Check out all details on how to apply

Sun, 03/19/2017 - 17:14

Every year, Airtel has prided it’s self in the ability to nurture Ugandan talent in several disciplines as they try to shape their customers future through their 2017 Airtel Internship Program.

Airtel is offering career opportunities for talented and motivated individuals. Currently the departments and careers include but are not limited to

  • Customer Service
  • Administration
  • Human Resources
  • Marketing
  • Networks
  • IT
  • Legal&Regulatory
  • Finance
  • Mobile Money
  • Enterprise
  • Sales&Distribution
  • Supply Chain Management
How to Apply
  1. Visit the Airtel Uganda Website
  2. Click on Careers Tab
  3. Go to the Internship Tab section
  4. Fill in Your Information
  5. Answer the 20 Questions in 9 minutes
  6. Submit your answers
Terms & Conditions
  • Internship places are available for the period of 1st June – 31st August 2017 in several departments depending on the course being pursued.
  • Only students who are recommended to undertake internship by their university should apply i.e. students should possess a letter of recommendation from their university.
  • Participants must have a LinkedIn account and follow Airtel Uganda on LinkedIn to qualify.
  • All applications for internship should be submitted online through the Airtel Uganda official website page.
  • All those who had delivered their applications to Airtel Uganda are advised to re-apply online.
  • Participants will be expected to answer the 20 Questions in 9 minutes and after 9 minutes the system will time out and submit the answered questions by then.
  • Applications should be submitted not later than 1st May 2017 at midnight. The Internship Application tap will thereafter be disabled from the Airtel website page.
  • Successful applicants’ may be subjected to a secondary interview afterwards the names will be published on the website and social platforms on 15th May 2017.

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Super Mario Run for Android finally gets launch date

Sat, 03/18/2017 - 19:53

Last year, Nintendo announced its nostalgic game Super Mario Run for the iPhone and promised that it will soon be rolled out to Android users by March 2017. Yesterday, Nintendo America has revealed when Android users will get to download the game and that will be on March 23rd.

Since Nintendo launched the game exclusively on the iPhone, it has so far been downloaded 78 million times. The company expects more usage when the game finally launches on the worlds most popular Operating System. Android users will get version 2.0.0 upon release, while iPhone users will get an update to the version on the same day. The update will add some new playable characters to the game.

Android version of #SuperMarioRun will be available on 3/23 with the Ver.2.0.0 update! Pre-register now: https://t.co/dAxzTlppnG pic.twitter.com/nQ0T4znOBt

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 18, 2017

If you can wait any longer, Super Mario Run is now available for preorder in the Google Play store.

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The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) warns media houses against broadcasting of gruesome images of slain AIGP Andrew Kaweesi

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 18:33

Today’s shocking assassination of Police spokes and Assitant Inspector General of Police, Andrew Felix Kaweesi (RIP) and his two colleagues, Erau Kenneth (RIP) and Mambewa Godfrey (RIP)  has been a cornerstone in the way media disseminates information to the public. While some notable houses have deliberately posted these gruesome images of the deceased without user discretion information, the regulator has come up to condemn the move.

In a letter sent out to television stations, UCC has expressed its dissatisfaction as a regulator with media houses against such actions which also the public have condemned in equal measure.


May the souls of the slain rest in peace.

 

 

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Airtel Uganda launches a micro-credit service called Wewole. Here is what you need to know about it

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 13:02

Airtel Uganda has today launched the Wewole (meaning borrow) service, a micro-credit service using its Airtel Money platform. It will allow Airtel Money users and agents access loan facilities through Airtel Money. Wewole is executed in partnership with Jumo, that describes itself as a marketplace connecting millions of small businesses to a world of financial choices.

By the look of things, Jumo will provide the backend software that will determine one’s credit worth basing on usage patterns while Airtel Money will provide a platform from which money can be borrowed. The more one uses Airtel services, the higher are his/her chances of qualifying for a bigger loan from the service.

Loan applicants have to be registered with Airtel Money with a minimum of active 6 months of transaction history through Airtel Money. They will have to dial *185*8# to access Wewole. The service targets both ordinary Airtel users as well as Airtel Money agents who relatively transact large volumes but both won’t be required to provide collateral.

Wewole will allow Airtel Money users to borrow between 8,000 to UGX 500,000 Shillings while Airtel Money Agents can borrow between 100,000 to 1,000,000 Shillings.

Regarding loan repayments, the borrower has 3 loan repayment periods of 7,14 or 21 days depending on one’s choosing with a minimum interest of 6.75% while the maximum is capped at 15%.

Airtel follows MTN’s lead with ith micro-savings & lending service, MoKash that launched last year leveraging MTN Mobile Money with considerable success, except that Wewole will only allow Airtel Money users and agents to borrow not save. We assume savings will be commensurate of one’s Airtel Money balance or float.

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Here is why Uganda Telecom (UTL) customers couldn’t exchange SMS and how it has been rectified

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 11:45

There have been some cases about UTL customers not being able to send on-net SMSs to fellow UTL customers. While UTL has had a rough time recently owing to its never ending woes, they’ve been more of external but this recent revelation had questions rising up as to what exactly is happening to Uganda’s oldest Telco given UTL customers themselves couldn’t exchange SMSs.

Well, there have been issues and they’ve been answers as to why those issues have been happening and considerable step being taken to resolve this current issue. According to UTL’s PRO, the recent woes can be attributed to different factors but what stands out is vandalism of infrastructure.

Here is what he had to say; “Failure to send texts can be caused by different things such as vandalism of infrastructure like masts, cables, poles, or even natural factors like weather etc.., that could affect only a particular area of operation. We have engaged the Police to bring vandals to book, and employed security guards to secure all our equipment to handle the avoidable causes.

There is no such time when all UTL customers across the country were not able to send messages. The times when some customers couldn’t send messages were isolated cases that could have been caused by any of the various reasons stated above. Plus our technical team is always on standby to rectify such mishaps in the shortest time possible.

At the moment all such problems have been resolved, and all customers can now send text messages across all networks.”

The response clarifies cases as being isolated not a general problem. This means only a fraction of UTL customers were affected. At first it was reported as being a general problem where UTL’s over 700,000 customers were not able to use its short messaging service (SMS) but this further clarifies the causes and efforts rendered to rectify them.

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Gizmo Crash: This connected smart jacket will cost you more than UGX 1 million

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 09:39

Imagine a piece of technology woven in your clothes in such a way that the surface of that dress or shirt you are putting on can be transformed into an interactive surface just like the screen on your smartphone. Well the future is here, with Project Jacquard. Google’s ATAP division partnered Levi’s to make the world’s commercial smart jacket, which will cost around Ugx 1.3 million (minus taxes) when it goes on sale.

Connected clothes offer new possibilities for interacting with services, devices, and environments. Jacquard allows wearers to control their mobile experience and connect to a variety of services, such as music or maps, directly from the jacket. This is especially useful when it might be difficult to use the smart phone, like when you are riding on your bike.

The Levi’s® connected jacket How it works

Well, it uses conductive fabric to turn a standard piece of clothing into a connected device of sorts that can send messages/notifications to your smartphone, like pausing or skipping a song that’s playing by double tapping your wrist. If you have used a smartwatch before, you should be able to get the drill, but less obtrusive and certainly a lot more stylish.

With products like this, the future of wearable tech is still brighter than ever. According to the makers of the jacket, Jacquard yarn structures combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester, or silk, making the yarn strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom.

To make this smart connected jacket reality, they used conductive yarns, bespoke touch and gesture-sensitive areas could then be woven at precise locations, anywhere on the textile. Also, sensor grids are also woven throughout the textile, creating large, interactive surfaces.

Levi’s® connected Smart Jacket: Weaving interactive textiles How the electronics was embedded into the Jacket

They had to put in all electronics in such away that it doesn’t change the Jacket’s aesthetics. Levis says; “We developed innovative techniques to attach the conductive yarns to connectors and tiny circuits, no larger than the button on a jacket. These miniaturized electronics capture touch interactions, and various gestures can be inferred using machine-learning algorithms.”

At the end of the day, the captured touch and gesture data is wirelessly transmitted to mobile phones or other devices to control a wide range of functions, connecting the user to online services, apps, or phone features. While using the jacket, LEDs, haptics, and other embedded outputs will provide feedback to the user.

Levi’s® connected Smart Jacket: Embedding electronics

Developers will be able to connect existing apps and services to Jacquard-enabled clothes and create new features specifically for the platform. The jacket will to on sale later this year.

But at UGX 1.3 (less taxes), are you ready to own a piece of the tech-textile future? Leave us a comment below.

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WhatsApp brings back its text based status update that we dearly missed

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 08:06

Tired of setting a new WhatApp status every 24 hours? WhatsApp seems to have heard your prayers. As WhatsApp tries to Snapchatify all its apps, seems users are not really happy with this decision which resulted in backlash for WhatsApp. This has prompted the company to revive its text Status option while keeping its image-based replacement at the same time. Facebook has been quick to react to customer feedback a move which as been seen as a blunder for the social app.

In mid-February, WhatsApp removed the feature that let you set an away message, and then gave the Status name to a Snapchat Stories copy cat feature. WhatsApp Android Beta users have reported last week that the  text Status reappeared in the next version of WhatsApp in the About section of profiles. The company has also come out say that the text based feature will roll out next week and is coming soon to iPhone. Users can open the About section of their profile to set a text Status, and view other people’s by opening their contact when starting a new chat thread or looking at group chat’s info.

WhatsApp provided this statement:

We heard from our users that people missed the ability to set a persistent text-only update in their profile, so we’ve integrated this feature into the ‘About’ section in profile settings. Now, the update will appear next to profile names anytime you view contacts, such as when creating a new chat or looking at Group info. At the same time, we’re continuing to build on the new Status feature that gives people fun and engaging ways to share photos, videos and GIFs with their friends and family throughout their day.”

Both the new WhatsApp Status and Messenger Day provide an obvious opportunity for these chat apps to monetize by injecting ads between friends’ slideshows. They could also limit Snapchat’s growth and prepare the products for a future more focused around visual communication.

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Vivo Energy launches “Owa Boda Gwe Kapo” campaign to make motorbike riders’ lives easier

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 12:23

Vivo Energy Uganda has launched a motorbike rider campaign dubbed “Owa Boda Gwe Kapo”. The campaign unveils a wide offering for the rider at Shell service stations as well as a promotional and reward platform – the Shell Boda Club.

The Boda-Boda industry is a significant segment of the transport industry in Uganda, yet only a few organisations have developed targeted products for this community. Vivo Energy has respect and appreciation of all its customers, as demonstrated by this specialised offering for Boda-Boda riders.

Speaking at the Gwe Kapo campaign launch in Namirembe, Vivo Energy Marketing Manager Jean Mugisha said, “At Vivo Energy we take time to understand our customers and their needs and work hard to provide convenient solutions for them, that are accessible across the country at all our sites.”

Boda-Boda riders are key to the Ugandan economy as they move thousands of people daily and keep people and businesses mobile. Whilst they play this critical role, they don’t necessarily have speedy, convenient and accessible services.

Mugisha further highlighted the rider offer at Shell: “Motorcyclists have dedicated fuelling points at selected service stations with high biker traffic, they can enjoy quick and free oil change services at 60 stations and we offer Shell Advance, an engine oil specifically designed for different types of bikes and riding styles to allow riders to get the most out of every ride.”

“Because the riders’ needs are not limited to oil and fuel, Vivo Energy has set up value added services to enrich the offer and meet all needs of the riders. The riders have access to cash change, whether they purchase or not at the Shell service stations. We are also excited to partner with key suppliers and providers of motorcycle related products and services. Simba Automotive has provided technical expertise and trained all our motorbike-dedicated mechanics; and ThinVoid, through its Tambula initiative, extends short term credit to riders.” she added.

Under the “Gwe Kapo” campaign Vivo Energy has also unveiled a reward and loyalty program called the Shell Boda Club, targeted at the Boda-Boda riders who use Shell Advance motor oils. Under the Shell Boda Club, registered members will get rewarded for using Shell Advance motorbike oil and servicing at Shell service stations with various prizes including helmets, free fuel, reflective jackets, t-shirts, key rings and brand new motorcycles.

To join the Shell Boda club, a rider should service at a Shell service station and be registered in the Shell Boda Club book. Each registered rider will also receive a Shell Boda Club card. With each service and purchase of Shell Advance motorbike oil, service record details will be indicated in the Shell Boda Club book and on the rider’s club card. Riders that purchase more stand a chance to win more.

The Shell Boda Club is a part of a bigger service offering to the Boda-Boda rider, under the Gwe Kapo campaign.

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High Definition television gains ground in Uganda

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 11:03

High Definition (HD) Television has continued to gain ground in Uganda with over 60% of broadcasters turning to the technology, according to a new report by Eutelsat, a global provider of HD TV.

According to Michel Azibert, Commercial and Development Director at Eutelsat, Eutelsat satellites at 36° East that serve Africa and Russian markets clocked 14 additional HD channels over the last 12 months, rising to 114 HD channels.

In Africa, Uganda inclusive, MultiChoice Africa and Zap are in the vanguard of HD, broadcasting 16 and 17 channels respectively and underscoring the trend towards higher resolution in Africa’s TV market. The growth trend which has not only affected Uganda but the entire globe has seen locally NTV, NBS, Kwese Sport, BBS among others broadcasting in HD.

“2016 marked a tipping point for High Definition TV across our portfolio of video neighborhoods, culminating in a new landmark of 1,000 channels, many of which are exclusive to Eutelsat. We are fully equipped to accommodate this accelerating pace and to work closely with broadcasters as they transition to an enhanced viewing experience,” Mr. Azibert said recently as he announced the milestone.

The increase in HD TV has been attributed to the technological advancements in the devises (Television sets), and migration to digital broadcasting technology, from analogue technology.

According to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), in Uganda digital migration has enhanced the picture quality abilities which have enabled HDTVs to blossom. Additionally, the cost of HD television sets has also gone down. So these trends merged have seen HD TV blossomed.

“Seven (7) Pay Televisions are operational in the market, two of which broadcast using terrestrial, four use satellite and one broadcasts over cable. Four Pay TVs broadcast country wide,” reads the January – March 2016 UCC Report.

The milestone was attained following the launch of Eutelsat’s HOTBIRD neighborhood of CGTN HD, the news and current affairs channel of China’s CCTV media organization, marking its first venture into HDTV in Europe.

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The third annual Visa Everywhere Initiative is calling for applications

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 10:20

Payments company Visa is calling for applications for its third annual Visa Everywhere Initiative happening in the US. $50,000 is up for grabs and winners will also get a chance to work with Visa in the US and collaborate on innovative payments solutions of the future.

The tasks at hand aim to tackle 3 real-life business problems and Visa is looking at startups in the technology fields of IoT, FinTech, Marketing technology, eCommerce, Venture for Good, Sharing Economy and others.

The 3 challenges Visa presents are

  1. Challenge 1:  How can your company use connected devices to facilitate simpler, more seamless and powerful commerce experiences for consumers?
  2. Challenge 2: How can Visa APIs augment your company’s product or service offerings and ultimately drive more meaningful commerce or finance related experiences for customers?
  3. Challenge 3: How can you harness Visa capabilities and other third party services to create transformative commerce experiences at sporting events, transportation hubs or other venues where people congregate?

The applicants are expected to disclose their employee count, founding year, HQ location and country of origin. You can apply for the Visa Everywhere Initiative and find additional information here but submissions close on April 6th.

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10 most anticipated features of the Samsung Galaxy s8

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 08:17

Samsung’s Galaxy phones have always been the most anticipated devices for Android lovers and we are just two week away from from the company’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ unveiling. We’ve heard several rumors about these two devices so much so that there really isn’t much mystery left at this point. In fact, a series of recent leaks have already detailed nearly all of the most exciting new features coming to Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ flagship phones. So let’s look at the 10 hottest new features we can expect from Samsung’s new Galaxy S smartphones courtesy of the several reliable leaks we’ve seen on the interwebs.

Phone Design

The Samsung Galaxy S8 phones will have a upgraded design with more bezeless approach. With the Galaxy s6, Samsung introduced a new design to its smartphone with a dual curved display. With the s8 Samsung is tweaking its design and will remove the oblong home button from the front of the phones, and the bezels above and below the screens will be narrowed significantly. These phones are expected to come closer to achieving the all-screen design we’ve been expecting from we’re all been waiting for. Ooh plus yes, the phone will retain the 3.5 audio jack pin and finger print reader at the back of the phone.

Screen resolution

Now that we’ve appreciated the designs of the two phones, we can see check out the screen resolution details. We know that the displays will be larger, but there’s more good news: both phones will reportedly pack WQHD+ resolution. That means Samsung is put a whopping 2960 x 2400 pixels into its new flagship smartphones.

Screen sizes

Beyond the fact that the screens will take up more of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ faces than any previous-generation models, they’ll also be substantially bigger without increasing the overall footprints of the devices themselves. The smaller Galaxy S8 will have a 5.8-inch screen stuffed into a phone that’s just a bit larger than Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone 7, and the Galaxy S8+ will cram a massive 6.2-inch display into a phone that’s roughly the same size as the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.

Curved display on both models

Finally, when it comes to the screen details, Samsung’s new Super AMOLED displays — they’ll both be curved this time around. With the rounded front and back on Samsung phones like the Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy S7 edge. Unlike last year where Samsung included a flat display panel in the smaller Galaxy S7 model. This time round, that will no longer be the case.

New processors

When it comes to the internals, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will be the first new smartphones from a big-name vendor to be powered by next-generation 10nm processors. The international S8 models will be powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 8895 chipset and elsewhere, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 will run the show. With these new processors, we can expect more power and better efficiency than we’ve ever seen in any Samsung smartphone to date.

Improved cameras

In 2016, Samsung’s Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy Note 7 all shared the same rear camera, and it was one of the best cameras that has ever appeared on a smartphone along side Google’s Pixel and the iPhone 7s Plus. This year’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are expected to include even better 12-megapixel Dual Pixel rear cameras, and the front-facing 8-megapixel cameras are rumored to offer improved low-light performance as well.

Iris scanner

The troubled Galaxy Note 7, featured an Iris scanner, and this is yet another very cool feature coming that will grace the Galaxy S8 lineup. The scanner will allow Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ users to unlock their phones with a quick eye scan. The Iris scanner is expected to be an improvement from the Note 7’s scanner.

Desktop mode

Samsung’s new Galaxy phones will include a nifty new feature that allows users to plug them into a dock in order to power a new desktop experience. When connected to a monitor, users will be able to run Android apps on the big screen and multitask to their heart’s content.

Better battery life

The new hardware will be powered by bigger batteries (reports say 3,000 mAh in the Galaxy S8 and 3,500 mAh in the S8+) as well as  faster charging from Samsung’s new flagship phones, in addition to better efficiency that the new 10nm processors will provide.

Beast mode

Last but most certainly not least, the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will reportedly include a special new mode that cranks up the juice and delivers maximum sustained performance when the user wants more power at his or her fingertips. We can’t wait to try out this feature.

There you have it, the 10 most anticipated features of the next Galaxy flagship phones.

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These are the most used iOS apps for the iPhone in Uganda

Wed, 03/15/2017 - 08:06

Supposedly Android is the most used mobile OS in Uganda and you’re most likely to find 9/10 smartphone users being on Google’s platform while other operating systems fight for the remaining 1%. We recently unveiled the top selling Google Play Content in Uganda for the past 5 years however, there is a growing breed of Uganda’s using Apple’s iOS and this number has seen iOS apps usage steadily growing given the brand affinity and social standing associated with Apple products.

It should be noted that iOS apps not only runs on the iPhone but the iPad too. However we shall delve and quantify only iPhone apps. While iOS uptake is steadily growing, the list of local apps making it big in the AppStore is nearly non-existent except for the gaming Matatu that managed to place 6th in the free gaming apps category.

As is with Android, the top used apps are the Facebook arsenal that encompass social networking and Instant messaging which express the undying love for social networking by Ugandans.

Here are the most used apps according to similarweb as of March 12th, ranked according to category.

Top Free Installed iPhone apps

  1. Whatsapp Messenger
  2. Facebook
  3. Messenger
  4. Instagram
  5. Tubidy

Top Paid Installed iPhone apps

  1. Scanner For Me
  2. Fontmania
  3. Speak & Translate
  4. Ringtones for iPhone Unlimited
  5. Business Card Reader Pro

Top Free Installed iPhone Games

  1. Sniper Fury
  2. Temple Run 2
  3. Toy Blast
  4. Racing in Car
  5. Candy Crush Saga

Top Paid Installed iPhone Games

  1. Hitman Sniper
  2. Scrabble
  3. Temple Run: Brave
  4. Fruit Ninja Classic
  5. Monopoly

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