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Mobile

  • You can now be a grownup and invest actual money through an app

    I honestly thought it couldn’t be done. I thought it was too risky and that my money would disappear in a day. But it didn’t. I’ve actually become someone who invests my savings, and it’s all thanks to an app. Back in 2012, I was probably one of the first people to start using 22seven, at least the first among my friends and family. At the time most major banks didn’t trust the service and prevented 22seven from accessing users’ personal bank accounts. But I trusted the guy who worked for a bank where I nearly lost my money but...

  • Nigeria’s mobile lifestyle should absolutely matter to your brand: here’s why

    Nigeria, with 125 million mobile subscribers, is not just Africa’s largest mobile market. It is also home to one of the most connected and engaged mobile populations on the continent. And as smartphones become cheaper and mobile broadband infrastructure continues to improve, the mobile phone will become even more deeply embedded in the daily lives of Nigerians. That means people in the marketing space should start thinking about the opportunities mobile will pose for them as more Nigerians spend more time on their mobile phones and join the world of mobile money and mobile broadband. MasterCard’s Digital Evolution Index research, for...

  • Apple sold more smartphones than anyone else in Q4 2014

    Things are looking better than ever for Apple. Already the world’s first US$700-billion company, it now looks like it sold more smartphones in the last quarter of 2014 than Samsung. According to technology research house Gartner, Apple claimed just over 20% of global smartphone sales during the quarter, overtaking Samsung which claimed just under 20%. That’s a fairly stark change from the same quarter in 2013 when Apple held just 17% of the market and Samsung 29.5%. “Samsung’s performance in the smartphone market deteriorated further in the fourth quarter of 2014, when it lost nearly 10 percentage points in...

  • Facebook now pretty much ubiquitous among SA students

    If you’re a South African university student and don’t use Facebook, then you’re part of increasingly tiny minority. How tiny? Well according to new research from World Wide Worx and Student Brands, just three percent of students in the country aren’t active on the world’s most popular social network. According to the study, Facebook is by far the most popular social network among students. Twitter came in second at 67%, followed in third place by YouTube, with 44%. The most recent entrant into the social arena, WeChat, has already reached 22% of the student market. Facebook’s lead shouldn’t be...

  • Facebook adds new feature for suicide prevention

    On 25 February 2015, Facebook began rolling out a feature update that would aid suicide prevention. The effort was announced at the fifth annual Compassion Research Day at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. The news first broke on the University of Washington website. The tool will allow users to flag concerning content on Facebook and notify it easily. Every now and then users see ‘I cannot take it anymore’, ‘Everything is just too much’ status updates and do not know what to do about it, but now if you spot amongst your friends a status update that is...

  • Citibank to hold $100k Mobile Challenge in Africa, Europe, Middle East

    Citi, an American multinational banking and financial services corporation, has as part of its Digital Acceleration program announced that its Mobile Challenge is coming to Europe, Middle East and Africa in search of ideas which can change the way we bank. That a bank is sponsoring an initiative to disrupt the way banking is being done is further proof that banks are being left with no choice but to adapt or lose...

  • Vodacom, Tigo come together, allow each others’ mobile money offerings to play nice

    So much has been written about the good that mobile payments have done in Africa, that it’s easy to forget that the various offerings in place aren’t exactly perfect. It’s taken until now for instance for Vodacom and Tigo to allow their competing offerings compatible. The two mobile giants today announced that M-Pesa and Tigo Pesa customers in Tanzania will soon be able to send and receive money directly into each other’s wallets, following the signing of an inter-operability agreement between the two companies. It’s also a pretty clear sign that while M-Pesa’s 7-million customers give it a...

  • There are still serious questions about mobile money and security that need to be answered

    I read with interest Wallettec CEO Johan Meyer’s recent insights on the future of mobile banking, in which he quite correctly states that mobile payments are “inevitable”. In fact, mobile payments can’t even be described as the next big trend, because they are happening right now. The mere fact that in the UK nearly a third of all online sales were made over mobile devices between November 2013 and January 2014 paints a telling picture of where we stand now. As Meyer points out, the Mobile in South Africa 2014 AMPS Report states that the country “has one of the highest...

  • Gartner: expect mobile disruption, strong wearable growth through 2015

    Right now, the global smartphone market seems pretty set: Samsung and Apple are top of the pile and a bunch of Chinese players, including Huawei, Lenovo, and Xiaomi, are fighting for what’s left of the pie. But things can change very quickly. We’re all well aware of the travails faced by BlackBerry in recent years. And Nokia, once the largest mobile player on the planet, doesn’t even feature in the current smartphone landscape. So even though things seem pretty settled, there is still plenty of space for mobile disruption in 2015. According to technology research house Gartner, while Apple...

  • BBC World Service announce selected teams from its hackathon in Kenya

    Two teams have been selected to help the BBC expand its reach through Africa following its hackathon held earlier in Kenya. The BBC World Service, Connected Studio and its digital innovations team joined forces to hold a hackathon at the iHub and Nairobi Garage in Nairobi. At the time of announcing the hackathon, Dmitry Shishkin, BBC World Service Group Digital Development Editor, said that the reasons for holding the hackathon in Kenya is that “the BBC wants to tap into the unique expertise of, and partner with, the Kenyan tech community to develop new innovative ways to grow the BBC’s audience...

  • Your old phone could be refurbished, end up as part of 120-million strong market by 2019

    If you’ve ever wondered why so many retail outlets are willing to do trade-ins on your old smartphone for the newest, latest model then you should probably know that there’s a fairly substantial market for refurbishing and reselling unwanted phones. And when you think about it, that actually makes sense. Unless you’re particularly hard on your phone, chances are you’re upgrading not so much because you need to but because you want to. If that weren’t the case then mobile carriers wouldn’t offer the number of early upgrade promotions they currently do. Nor would there be so many trade-in options. In fact,...

  • Product Ads by Facebook will automatically show business products that you want to see

    Facebook has your data and it is going to use it. With its new service, Product Ads, the company is trying to simplify how businesses display ads. Product Ads is aimed at businesses that sell more than one product. Instead of displaying all the products to every customer, Facebook will help them display products to a particular user, ending the wild goose hunt for buyers, going direct by using the users’ interest and activity. All your likes, cookies, ad clicks, shares will be used to execute the service. In the blog post announcing the service, the company says, “With product...

  • Bill Gates is 100% right about mobile banking in Africa: here’s why

    In the latest “Gates Notes” annual letter, Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates wrote about the impact smart phones and mobile banking will have in the next 15 years. He observed that “digital banking will give the poor more control over their assets and help them transform their lives and by 2030, 2-billion people who don’t have a bank account today will be storing money and making payment with their phones”. I have to say he’s spot on, and in all my years as a mobile technology professional I can say without doubt that the future of mobile money is...

  • African mobile money could produce $1.5-billion in fees alone by 2019

    According to a report released by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the use of mobile financial services in sub-Saharan Africa to perform tasks like pay utility bills and send money to relatives could produce an estimated US$1.5-billion in fees for mobile-money providers by 2019. With mobile based financial services, be it remittance, paying utility bills or purchase, offering convenience and spreading like a disease in Africa as a whole, it is no secret that traditional banks are shaking on their feet. The banks that have seen the trend and are moving in the same direction are poised to be...

  • Load shedding love: an ode to the Nokia 6303i Classic

    I am starting to adapt to my new environment. The tick is starting to subside. I have stopped subconsciously reaching for my phone whenever a YouTube video surpasses the 2 minute mark. I watched the theatre of the absurd that is #SONA2015 with my hand in my hair. I am not on some spiritual journey to get in touch with nature, here to tell you to stop seeing the world through the lens of your smartphone or to swop your augmented life for something “real”. I simply lost my phone, or it was stolen, I’m not sure (no, I was...