Bringing the local mobile industry together…sharing, educating, building
Sometime back I had a heated debate with my friend Alex of Intervangelist fame about the future of local digital search on phones and awareness. Alex had the views that Google is working on something on the android phones where the search of the things around you is instant and they are much ahead of the pack. I did vigorously disagree with that view but I have to confess that my point of argument then was based on emotion and not real alternative. You know the feelings that someone from Kenya should be able to crack something better. Yes, I know, I talk a lot about local these days but you have to understand my feelings with state of affairs. You just have to believe that we can do way much better
A few days later, I came to learn about AroundMe done by James Mwai (@jmwai). Well, I have known James Mwai for some time and always knew one of these fine days he will come up with something cool. True to that he has. AroundMe allows you to easily and quickly find important businesses and services in your surrounding or any other location with your Nokia phone. For example, you can find restaurants, banks, gas stations, and other local services with ease. Users are able to view maps, directions, routes, street view, read reviews or call the business if contacts are available. Very cool.
James revealed to me on a phone chat that the interest on the app around the world is just phenomenon. In the last three weeks the app has been downloaded more than 17,000 times.
He listed to me the top ten countries leading in downloading the app as follows
#6 United Kingdom
#9 Russian Federation
Yeah, the app was done with Kenya in mind but as you can see, Kenya is not even in the picture.
Currently it runs on Symbian^3 and S60 devices. More devices are in the road map including s40 which will give more people access to the app. Good stuff
Dear Nokia Developer,
Much has been said in the last few weeks about Nokia’s announced strategy. I’ve heard from many of you with encouragement, concerns and questions. Please do continue the dialog with me and the Forum Nokia team.
I want to take a moment to focus on what these announcements mean to you, how Nokia plans to support your development needs and how this translates into opportunities today and in the future.
First, let’s recap what it is we announced; the three main areas of our strategy:
What about Symbian? What about Qt?
Understandably, these are the first questions that come to mind. Although Windows Phone will become our primary smartphone platform, we will continue to deliver a great deal of value from Symbian. We’re making investments that will help us to engage and attract existing and new Symbian users and allow us to launch new competitive smartphones.
Over the past weeks we have been evaluating our Symbian roadmap and now feel confident we will have a strong portfolio of new products during our transition period – i.e. 2011 and 2012. These devices will take advantage of the strong integration of devices and services as well as our strength in areas such as imaging and location-based services. They will also include improvements in hardware performance such as GHz+ processing capabilities and faster graphics speeds.
To further enhance the competitiveness of these products we will deliver updates to the current Symbian user experience. The first major update will arrive in summer, delivering a new home screen, new flexible widgets, new icons, a faster browser, new Navbar and a fresh look and feel to Ovi Store and Ovi Maps, including integration of social media services in Ovi Maps.
You may have seen some of these updates in the latest product we launched at CTIA Wireless this year, the Nokia C7 Astound. Those plus the rest of the enhancements will be delivered to all users over the air in a simple update available from the Home Screen, and Nokia Astound users will receive the remaining enhancements not already in their device at the same time.
I’ve been asked many times how long we will support Symbian and I’m sure for many of you it feels we have been avoiding the question. The truth is, it is very difficult to provide a single answer. We hope to bring devices based on Windows Phone to market as quickly as possible, but Windows Phone will not have all language and all localization capabilities from day one.
In many markets, including markets where Symbian is currently the lead smartphone platform with significant market share such as China, India, Russia and Turkey, we will continue to make our Symbian portfolio as competitive as possible while we work with Microsoft to introduce Windows Phone. For that reason certain markets will play a more significant role in selling the 150 million Symbian devices than others and we will be selling devices long after Windows Phone devices from Nokia have already started to appear in other markets. That is why we cannot give you the date when Symbian will no longer be supported.
What I can promise you is that we will not just abandon Symbian users or developers. As a very minimum, we have a legal obligation, varying in length between countries, to support users for a period of time after the last product has been sold. Our intention is that when users come to the end of the natural lifecycle of their Symbian device they will make the change to a Nokia Windows Phone device and so it would not be in our interests to undermine their Nokia smartphone experience. Operators have also been very supportive in their commitment to help us continue to sell and support Symbian devices while we make the transition to Windows Phone. We currently stand at 109 operators in 34 countries and no doubt they continue to recognize the opportunities in a platform that has great localization, differentiation and flexible billing services, while we start to build great new devices with Microsoft.
Qt, the development platform for Symbian and future MeeGo technology remains critically important and Nokia is committed to investment in Qt as the best toolset for those platforms and we are focusing on future developments in part by our plan to divest the commercial licensing business, used mainly by developers of embedded and desktop applications beyond the mobile market.
Additionally we are readying app analytics, in-app advertising, in-app purchasing, a new browser and hardware enhancements. There are a lot of new things for developers to take advantage of in these soon-to-be-released APIs. We are continuing to explore Qt for use in other strategic investment areas as well.
So in short, there are some very exciting things happening in Symbian and Qt, lots of new devices and platform improvements and we believe consumers will be downloading great developer apps from these devices. All together, this means your investment in Qt is a safe choice for skill competency, monetization opportunities and brand awareness amongst our millions of users.
The partnership announcement has many of you wondering how Forum Nokia and Microsoft will support you in the future. As we carefully plan this with Microsoft we will be able to share more information. However, we are listening to your concerns and comments. Nokia and Microsoft share a view and commitment to make the transition as smoothly as possible for developers.
The second pillar of Nokia’s strategy, ‘Internet for the Next Billion’ also highlights our increased focus on opportunities for developers, especially Java developers. Nokia sells over one million features phones a day; a staggering number by any measure. Developers can already distribute Java apps to approximately 600 million Series 40 devices.
We intend to drive more innovation and improvement in Series 40 developer engagement. We are continuing to develop easy-to-use tools and software developer kits to make it simple, easier and more affordable for Java developers to work with us. For example, there is free signing for Java apps; the new SDK for Touch and Type UI is in the market now; plus we have plans for increased proxy browsing capabilities on our device and support for web apps.
Consumers around the world are hungry for apps on Nokia devices.
The disruptive technologies area of our strategy includes our work on MeeGo and Nokia Research Center, Nokia’s future looking, global labs. You will hear more from us on MeeGo in coming months.
Finally, there is still $10M up for grabs in the Calling All Innovators contest. The deadline is approaching – March 31 – so be sure to submit your app. If the content of your app is applicable to consumers in the US and Canada, you could get a piece of the $10M in cash and prizes. Giving out these big checks and seeing your apps get downloaded by millions of consumers is the best part of my job!
In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to update you on our progress with Symbian, Windows Phone and Series 40 and new programs to assist you in building success in Ovi Store. We are excited about working with you in each of these areas. In the meantime, we’ll look for your next great Qt or web app in Ovi Store!
Vice President, Forum Nokia
|March 24, 2011||to||March 26, 2011|
The Strathmore Innovation Technology Transfer Program (SITT) program will have an innovation week between 24th – 26th March 2011. Members of the local developer eco-system stakeholders, Tech-prenuers and ICT innovators will be invited for this event to focus on factors affecting ICT innovation in the region .Possible avenues of averting challenges would be muted.
In addition the event will enlighten Tech-prenuers and ICT innovators on the services/ software’s available locally for use.
The event will also serve as a key platform to formulate ties with the corporate sector in terms of Software development for purposes of future co-operation and interaction
Among the organizations taking part include
This event is open and all are invited. View the Innovation Week Programme here.
Michael Wakahe of Shujaa Technologies will be speaking on “M-Commerce in Kenya”
|April 16, 2011|
|11:00 am||to||4:00 pm|
the Nairobi GTUG chapter, We will be launching an Android Developer Challenge on Saturday, April the 16th 2011 at the iHub from 11 AM to around 3:30 PM latest.
The Objective of the launch parties are to give mobile developers a platform talk about Android and learn about the competition, do some hacking, collaborate and get ready to build some killer apps.
|June 14, 2011||to||June 15, 2011|
|June 14, 2011||to||June 15, 2011|
On June 14th and 15th, 25 of East Africa’s top mobile start-ups will be pitching their ideas to an audience of around 500 people.
At Pivot 25, an event organized by mLab East Africa, of which the Web Foundation is part of (together with iHub, eMobilis, University of Nairobi – more info on the mLab East Africa here:http://www.webfoundation.org/projects/mlab-east-africa/).
The event will give visibility to some very interesting projects from Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda or Kenya. Entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas and have the possibility to win prizes. Not only, they will raise a lot of awareness around their project: the audience, the judges, the blog/media coverage will help spread the word of the brilliant ideas that will be presented.
The Event will not only showcase developer talent in the region but also bring focus to the mLab and the role that it plays in the mobile application development ecosystem in East Africa. Our goal is to make this truly inclusive, bringing together start-ups, manufacturers, businesses and operators from every country in East Africa: the mLab is accessible to anyone in any of these countries, and Pivot 25 is as well.
How to get involved?
There are few ways to get involved with Pivot 25.
The star man of the Mobile Monday was the popular blogger and currently Regional Manager of Dealfish.co.ke Moses Kemibaro (@moseskemibaro). Coming back to his amazing presentation later
The Meetup started off with Presentation from Hilda Moraa of M-order..
M-order: Is a social mobile ordering application that has been developed to provide an efficient and faster way of ordering products of a company via the wireless mobile phone without clients having to go physically to the providers centers to order for products or wait for salesmen and retailers to document their daily orders. M-order application is a solution for the SMEs companies in Kenya to facilitate an efficient supply chain value and integrate a paperless system.
With M-order the clients can place their orders on time via the mobile-web application or through their mobile phones after they register to use the application. M-order enhances efficiency, reduced customer complains; improve performance and productivity in the company. Payment can be done via M-pesa to the providers. For more go to m-oreder website here
Next on stage were Michael Pedersen Plus (people) and Mikul Shah of( Eat Out, Up and Concierge Kenya) talking about Flix..
Flix- Movies and Cinema Guide in Kenya. For the movie lovers Flix goal is to give you the most updated cinema database in Kenya.
Currently you can access the database through the following channels
• Can be used on a regular browser
• Blackberry launcher
• Iphone “launcher”
• Bada applicaCon
• Facebook version
Get it in full here
Dealfish is a free online market place that has been established to provide safe and transparent transactions between buyers and sellers of goods and services throughout Kenya.
Points to note:
How to get your advertisement on dealfish.co.ke
1. Go www.dealfish.co.ke through your mobile phone or pc
2. Click post ad
3. Follow the step by step instruction to post your ad or create an account
4. Finally you will get a request to activate your ad. The notification is via email or mobile phone 3325
And it is FREE
There was a time when I was very excited about the mobile number portability. Those were the days when most of us were slaves to Safaricom and then the salvation came in the name of Airtel. Since then the dynamics changed and now no much sike for MNP.
I know many people in the industry expect the move to eliminate multiple SIM card holding but I have a feeling it might not happen like that. In the long run probably yes. At the moment the mobile network operators have problems due to dip in revenues following reduction in calling rates but the consumers are just fine.
The number one reason why most people would have wanted to port their numbers is the difference in calling rates. The current calling/sms rates in the market by different network operators are almost uniform, and that means something else has to come to play. May be the quality of services by each network operator or the other value addition services like mobile money.
And talking about quality of services, almost all the mobile phone operators in Kenya are down…bure kabisa. Safaricom for example has been delivering smses after two days. Since the upgrade of their system almost a month ago, nothing has been working smoothly. Ranging from SMS delivery after two days including twitter sms to frequent MPesa experiencing delays to not being able to topup through MPesa.
Orange internet on the other hand is like a snail crawling on the park. The thing is damn slow. Seriously I thought we have fiber optic cables in this country connecting us to the internet super highway! And they call it 3G+… smh.
Then there is the Airtel , with their never ending promise of launching 3G in the next Quarter. It started with promise of launching the 3G network before the end of the year last year, and then they move to first quarter of 2011, now it is 2nd quarter of 2011…jeez. Let me ask one stupid question like those of Kenyan tv stations , do you believe Kenya will achieve vision 2030 before Airtel launched their 3G network? What a waste!
By the way the starting date for the mobile number portability in Kenya is 1st April 2011…put it in your diary. Thanks
And now Twitter mobile texting is right back. In Kenya the short code is A big sign how serious twitter is now taking their operations in Africa. Whiteafrican‘s blog has some great insight about twitter’s on and off Sms service in Africa. They shut down the service in 2008 and now they are back
The Twitter team is working on relationships for expanding SMS service throughout a lot of countries in Africa. How those deals are structured with the network operators and why they’re slow in coming online with the service isn’t yet known.
Short codes for some of the African countries:
Nigeria: 40404 (Zain); 20644 (Glo Mobile)
Kenya: 8988 (Safaricom)
Madagascar: 40404 (VIP)
Do you know how to setup twitter sms on your phone? Well, Mwirigi has a brilliant peace on how to do that here.
SMS charged at … zero? Free .. Ok so far i have sent 2 tweets from nokia 3310 and no charges. Actually my phone has zero balance.
I have also received all the twitter mentions and RTs on my phone….interesting
They are the real force behind the growth of mobile money across Kenya. Probably you are like me and you are wondering what really make them tick. Yes, I am talking about the mobile money agent business and I was happy when I came across the presentation by Piet Biemans during AItec Conference Banking and Mobile Money COMESA.
Here are the nine drivers to the agent Business Case based on research in Brazil, Kenya and India according to CGAP:
1. Up-front capital ‘acting as an agent can be a very capital-intensive business. CGAP’s research found M-PESA agents needed to acquire an average of US$ 1600 in capital in order to start operating as an agent.’
2. Liquidity management ‘liquidity management has two components: (1) accumulating adequate e-float and cash, and (2) the act of rebalancing the two’
3. Rigid staff and space expenses ‘a rigid cost “floor” that leaves the agent with much less flexibility on how many transactions are needed for the agent business to be attractive’
4. Security risk ‘robbery risk has two implications for agent costs. The amount of upfront capital an agent requires to begin operating can be increased by the cost of security improvements. But much more substantial is the expense from actually being robbed’
5. System reliability ‘losing a few days of business may be enough to make the month unprofitable’
6. Effect on other line of business ‘the bulk of agents will have a pre-existing business that continues to be important ‘
7. Adequate revenue at start-up ‘sufficient capital to fund losses until the cash flow turns positive’
8. Major costs with growth ’as the level of customer activity grows, agents will incur additional expenses like extra staff member and improved premises’
9. Fragmented demand across too many agents ‘the ratio of customers to agents is a key driver of agent network revenue, but the ratio can deteriorate even after it reaches an optimum point’
|March 21, 2011|
|6:00 pm||to||8:00 pm|
Join us on the 21st of March at the iHub for this month’s Mobile Monday. Our main speakers will be Dealfish. Dealfish is an online classifieds site, users can post ads for jobs, sell stuff, rent, lease,hire etc Moses Kemibaro, who is the Regional Manager (East Africa) for Dealfish.co.ke will be joining us to talk about their plans for the market as well as their presence on the mobile space.
Other presentations will be from:
As always a big thank you to the iHub team for making every MOMO meet up run smoothly and for providing us with the best space any techie community could ever ask, and to Virtual City for their support and sponsorship. MOMO-Kenya would not be where it is without these two supporters.
Date: Monday, 21st Mar. 2011
Open Hours: 18:00 – 20:00
Presentations: 18:00 – 19:30
Networking: 19:30 – Close
Venue: iHub, Ngong Road
Please Register in Advance