Bringing the local mobile industry together…sharing, educating, building
Pictures from the Mobile Monday meet up on the 18th of April with Nokia and a bunch of local developers doing some impressive work with the Ovi store.
During the previous Mobile Monday, a number of people complained that Mobile Monday is becoming a club for the corporate to push their agendas leaving behind the people and the startups. Due to the public demand the management of Mobile Monady agreed to have the last Monday to be focused fully on startups and innovative ideas. It is great to report here that a thousand and one lessons were learned before, during and after the last Mobile Monday. Here are some of them:
1. Step up and be counted
It is one thing people complaining that they are not given chance to present during tech events and it is another thing when you tell the same people to come up and present their ideas and startups. Before the decision was made by Mobile Monday team to give the local startups and individuals with ideas chance, everyone believed that many Kenyans would come up for given presentation slots during Mobile Monday event. But shock on everyone, not many developers and entrepreneurs came out of their closet to be counted. That was in the stark reality with the way the established corporate members are always ready to push their products and services during the tech events. Yes complain but be ready to show up….
2. Most played Music/tune in the world.
Di you know that the default/signature Nokia tune is the most played tune in the world. The tune is played about 1.8 Billion times a day even more than the happy birthday tune. Great.
3. The User experience
User experience might look simple when mentioned but it is about much more. It is very complex and it is not only about great graphic design but includes all senses: smell, visual, hearing, touch, motion, taste. It is down to the real engagement with the user.
4. The interface
When coming up with the interface, it is important that one consider the business aspect, the technology and the users. Out of the three the user is the most important component. For the designers out there, don’t make the users think….keep it simple and hide the complexities.
5. Around me
6. Every millisecond Matters.
When doing search or normal browsing, the users want to see it almost in real time. Actually now we have real time search with Google. Optimize optimize optimize. And if you are going to hit the network, ensure that you reduced the download size
7. Cloud is an option.
Whether you have reservation about cloud or not, it is a great option to consider. Perfect for storage and processing and you are sure to reduce the apps load time
8. Motogari App
A collection of views from some of the most relevant people that are working within an African/mobile/tech context and that can bring some realistic views of trends for this decade on the continent
I love tech gadgets, you know the phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops , computers and even the giant mainframe computers, but I have never developed the same level of interest for the cars. I try to keep up with what is going on but that is all. Well, in the last one month that has changed thanks to one Robert Kunga popularly known as @mwirigi in the online world. I have attended two events where Robert gave presentations about his Ovistore app “Motogari”. First, at the Nokia developers happy hour and then at Mobile Monday.
Motogari app is news and analysis powerhouse for the cars. I came to learn that anything about the cars is well covered at Motogari and the writing style is just cool.
But the most amazing part is the interest people have on the Motogori app around the world. The following table show the number of times the app has been downloaded and the top ten downloading countries.
Here is the cloud of the countries involved. For real people love cars….
After Mobile Monday I asked @Mwirigi about how it all started and the future plans:
Kachwanya: Quick ones…about motogari , how did the idea come up and what inspired you to start the Motogari blog?
@Mwirigi: I started http://motogari.blogspot.com/ back in 2006 as an outlet for my love of cars.
Kachwanya: What are your future plans with the blog?
@Mwirigi: Future plans I’d say would be to shift to more local content, get into car reviews and possibly a channel for selling cars (Classifieds).
I am in negotioations with Cheki.co.ke to syndicate my content on their site. They are the exclusive automotive content provider for home.co.ke and they are growing very fast in the online car sale market with a wide geographical spread, a partnership would add value to both of us.
Kachwanya: In the future plans..are you planning to monetize it , if so what are the business models you are thinking of?
@Mwirigi : Monetization would be through advertising mostly. Still have to work out a business model.
|April 18, 2011|
|6:00 pm||to||8:00 pm|
In line with exposing the best and most creative mobile tech ideas, we have decided to make this month’s mobile monday solely focused on startups and innovative ideas. We want to focus on the upcoming ideas that are pushing the boundaries of the mobile industry.
As part of our presenter line up we have:
UX Matters ! – Delightful design creates passionate users. Whatever you’re creating, good planning and well executed design means people will instantly know how to use what you’re making to make their lives easier and more connected. Understand how to cost-efficiently build exactly the kinds of services people didn’t even know they needed- reducing rebuild and support costs while earning fiercely loyal users. - By Marko Myllyluoma of Nokia Research Center
Globally Successful Local App – AroundMe– Hear first hand from a local developer whose application has taken India by storm – By James Mwai, Local Developer
Motogari, an app on the Ovi Store with over 17,000 downloadswho will be talking about
Idd Salim- Who will talking about Xema.mobi
If you have an app/service that leverages mobile technology or mobile web give us a shout and we will try and slot you in.
Every week in Kenya these days there are remarkable events or news in the tech front and it interesting if you are observer or real participant. Last week was not any difference. The big news came with Nokia Siemens Network, the global telecommunications enabler , inaugurating its head office for its Africa Operations in Nairobi.
As part of the renewed focus on the African continent, NSN has recently restructured and separated its Africa operations. “The African market is growing at a strong pace and we felt the need to provide additional focus to support this growth. We already have a strong base of operations in Morocco and South Africa to support the region. Our head office in Kenya will strengthen our operations in the continent to deliver superior services to our customers,” says Dimitri, the recently appointed head of African operations for Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN).
This might look little in the face value but for a long time i have always been mad at companies which lump Africa together with Middle East. If you look at it critically Sub Saharan Africa was never in the picture for these companies. You see when they say Africa and middle East, they are basically saying North Africa (Arab populations) and Middle East. During KenyaFeb28 debate in Kenya after the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, i said it clearly that Kenya is noway like North African countries. Nobody should ever expect what happens in Tunisia or Egypt to be automatically translated in Kenya due to many many many factors. The same applies to almost all the Sub Saharan African countries. So when you take Africa and put it together with Middle East, i wonder what exactly you are trying to say. Kudos to Nokia Siemens Network for seeing the lights in good time.
One of the reason why NSN chose Kenya is coz of the great pool of the human talents. I can testify to that but also i have many questions to Kenyans. Yesterday I attended a meeting for the newly launched #aminaseries under the banner Intervangelist. I met a number of guys behind the series and i was very impressed. we have very smart young people in Kenya, and i repeat very smart. But always wonder why as a country we lag behind in so many aspect. Why are these smart young people not showing the direction to the general population. Yeah yeah the politicians and the old guards! I think that excuse is very convenient for many but never the real reason. Since when do smart men and women just sit back and leave the people without clear direction to spoil their country? I think it is high time we translate being smart and talking smart to something tangible!
Anyway on the selection of Kenya for its head office, Alain Van Hemelen, Kenya Country Director for NSN, says, “We have chosen to set up our new headquarters in Kenya as the country provides a central location for travel, has a well-educated pool of local talent and a sturdy telecommunications infrastructure. Nokia Siemens Networks has expanded their Kenyan staff compliment from 109 employees in 2009 to 220 employees in 2010. We have chosen to draw on the local pool of talent to increase our headcount, rather than bring in experts from other countries. We are also in the process of recruiting a further 30 employees to the operation by mid-2011. With these additional staff members and our projected business growth in the region, we expect to employ 300 people by 2012.”
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”