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picture credits: Mike Hutchings/Reuters


Telecoms Giant, MTN Ghana has posted a 68% increase in total taxes paid to Government of Ghana in 2017 as compared to the previous year. The company’s total revenue soared to GH₵3.4 billion in 2017, as against the GH₵2.77 billion revenue recorded in 2016.

Speaking at a media forum to present the company’s financial performance, Vice-President for Southern and East Africa and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana, Ebenezer Twum-Asante announced the company retained profits of GH₵238 million last year, and had earmarked a ¢663m spend on capital expenditure for 2018.


Tax Breakdown

The mobile operator highlighted, in the face of a tough macro economic environment and a relatively stable regulatory environment, the company has had to accelerate new revenue streams to significantly contribute to National Development.

Efficient cost control to support their EBITDA was also key, but MTN’s clearly defined KPIs to ensure delivery with focus on customer experience, technology excellence, growing the data and digital agenda while igniting their commercial performance is clearly aiding the company’s remarkable performance.

Total payments to the Ghana Revenue Authority in 2017 was ¢1.06bn which translates into Communication Service Tax (CST), VAT, Duties, Corporate Taxes, PAYE, National Fiscal Stabilization Levy (NFSL) and Withholding Taxes (WHT) on Suppliers and Dividends.

The remaining ¢160m went to the Regulator (NCA) and Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GFIEC) as payments for Regulatory fees and Surcharge on International Incoming Traffic (SIIT).

MTN Ghana alone contributed to 3% of Ghana’s total tax revenue collected in 2017.

Job Creation
MTN Ghana’s commitment to employment both directly and indirectly is spiraling close to 600k. These are jobs created on the back of MTN’s ecosystem of partnerships and suppliers (500k), and through the business drive to go digital using mobile financial services as the payment backbone (90k+).

MTN Mobile Money
The mobile money (MoMo) business has an active subscriber base of 8.3m with direct relationship to 16 commercial banks. The company paid ¢71m to its subscribers as interests for using mobile money in 2017. Currently the MoMo business has an active agent base of 90k people who earned an average monthly commission of ¢89m cedis in 2017.

Ebenezer Asante, CEO of MTN Ghana, Vice-President for MTN Southern and East Africa

Capital Expenditure

Ebenezer announced, that MTN plans to spend ¢663m as its 2018 capital expenditure. This outlay would go into 695km fibre rollout, 1,100 new sites on its 3G network to improve population coverage by 27%. 230 new sites for coverage extension and capacity under LTE rollout and 300 new sites for coverage extension and capacity for the 2G networks.

He further stated, that the company has expanded its network to underserved areas from 44.5% to 70% between 2016 and 2017 and is looking forward to reach 400 additional communities at the end of 2018 by building another 200 of these rural sites for coverage extension.

At the forum, the Chief Technical Officer of MTN, Mohammed Rufai, bemoaned the state of fibre cuts to be one of their biggest challenges today, with over 1,200 cuts to their cables within the year 2017.

Corporate Social Responsibility
MTN Ghana Foundation, the CSR arm of the mobile operator, has over the last decade executed over 142 projects at a cost of about ¢60 million which has directly and indirectly impacted over 4million Ghanaians.

In 2018, the company will be building the New Juaben SHS library and ICT Centre, Nhyiaeso Basic 6 Classroom Block, Telecoms Lab in GIMPA, Juaso Palm Oil Production Unit and completing the Tema General Hospital Maternity Block and many others.

In his brief remarks, CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Ing. Kenneth Ashigbey commended MTN for a great financial performance within a challenging economic environment while providing jobs and scholarships to Ghanaians. He also lauded MTN on the several innovations that have under pinned their business, especially the SMART and cost effective rural telephony systems that won a global award at the just ended Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Derek B. Laryea
(Head of Communications at the Telecoms Chamber)

UK PM seeks ‘safe and ethical’ artificial intelligence


The prime minister says she wants the UK to lead the world in deciding how artificial intelligence can be deployed in a safe and ethical manner.

In a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Theresa May said a new advisory body, previously announced in the Autumn Budget, will co-ordinate efforts with other countries.

In addition, she confirmed that the UK would join the Davos forum’s own council on artificial intelligence.

But others may have stronger claims.

Earlier this week, Google picked France as the base for a new research centre dedicated to exploring how AI can be applied to health and the environment.

Facebook also announced it was doubling the size of its existing AI lab in Paris, while software firm SAP committed itself to a 2bn euro ($2.5bn; £1.7bn) investment into the country that will include work on machine learning.

Meanwhile, a report released last month by the Eurasia Group consultancy suggested that the US and China are engaged in a “two-way race for AI dominance”.

It predicted Beijing would take the lead thanks to the “insurmountable” advantage of offering its companies more flexibility in how they use data about its citizens.

Theresa May is expected to meet US President Donald Trump at the Davos event on Thursday.

‘Unthinkable advances’

The prime minister based the UK’s claim to leadership in part on the health of its start-up economy, quoting a figure that a new AI-related company has been created in the country every week for the last three years.

In addition, she said the UK is recognised as first in the world for its preparedness to “bring artificial intelligence into government”.

However, she recognised that many people have concerns about potential job losses and other impacts of the tech, and declared that AI poses one of the “greatest tests of leadership for our time”.

“But it is a test that I am confident we can meet,” she added.

“For right across the long sweep of history from the invention of electricity to advent of factory production, time and again initially disquieting innovations have delivered previously unthinkable advances and we have found the way to make those changes work for all our people,” Mrs May said.

This includes through a new UK advisory body, the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation.

Academics and tech industry leaders differ in opinion about the risks involved.

At one end of the scale, Prof Stephen Hawking has warned that AI could “spell the end of the human race”, while Tesla’s Elon Musk has said that a universal basic income – in which people get paid whether or not they work – has a “good chance” of becoming necessary as jobs become increasingly automated.

But Facebook’s AI chief Yann LeCun has said society will develop the “checks and balances” to prevent a Terminator movie-like apocalypse ever coming to pass.

And earlier this week, Google’s former chief Eric Schmidt told the BBC he did not believe predictions of mass job losses would occur.

“There will be some jobs eliminated but the vast majority will be augmented,” he explained.

“You’re going to have more doctors not fewer. More lawyers not fewer. More teachers not fewer.

“But they are going to be more efficient.”

While many tech industry leaders acknowledge there will be a need for new rules and regulations, they also suggest it may be premature to introduce them in the short term.

Microsoft, for example, has launched a book called The Future Computed to coincide with the Davos event.

It proposes that it be given time to develop rules to govern its own AI work internally before legislation is passed.

Source: BBC

Amazon doesn’t care if you accidentally shoplift from its cashier-less store – The Verge


Amazon Go, the e-commerce giant’s new cashier-less grocery store in downtown Seattle, opened today to a mix of general curiosity and incredulity. How can a store function without cashiers? How do you pay, and how does the business know who’s buying what?

Amazon has done a sound job of explaining many of the particulars of its new concept store, one the company hopes brings more online customers into contact with its increasingly important offline presence. There are cameras and sensors, to detect when you’ve walked in and when items are removed from shelves, and there are check-in kiosks near the entrance for scanning your phone to register your presence via Amazon Prime. Regardless, Go will likely remain an alien concept for many.

And one the most pressing questions people seem to have is: what happens if you try to steal something? That was put to the test today when CNBC tech correspondent Deirdre Bosa accidentally left the store without being charged for one cup of Siggi’s yogurt.

Amazon took the error in stride, with Go VP Gianna Puerini telling CNBC, “First and foremost, enjoy the yogurt on us.” Puerini goes on to say that accidental shoplifting “happens so rarely that we didn’t even bother building in a feature for customers to tell us it happened.” Puerino said the store has yet to get an error in the full year of test operations she’s overseen, but that Amazon “tried to make it super easy on the rare occasion that does happen either to remove it or enjoy breakfast on us.”

Revealing that there’s not even a feature to tell Amazon you’ve taken something without paying is rather telling. It suggests the company is so confident in its system that it hasn’t built out any protocol for or safeguard against missing items. And it’s not just that, but Amazon also isn’t drawing a distinction between those who accidentally leave without paying for something and those who may be actively trying to steal. All of this raises some interesting questions about how robust this system is and whether it really is the bolder and more convenient future of retail.

We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment on how rare it anticipates this situation might be, and whether it has any methods for detecting, penalizing, or tracking one-off or habitual shoplifting. We’ll update this story when we hear back.

On one hand, it would seem that Amazon is playing a bit of a numbers game here. Sure, one cup of yogurt lost is not going to affect the Go store’s bottom line. And when it’s Amazon’s system at fault, for not detecting that Bosa had the yogurt with her and charging her for it, it makes total sense to comp the customer. All forms of retail also deal with shoplifting as a built-in cost of operating a brick-and-mortar business, and Amazon’s immense size, scale, and financial war chest means it can weather those costs more than any comparable company in the retail sector.

The other factor to keep in mind is that perhaps Amazon’s system is so good that stealing just isn’t an option. How would somebody go about shoplifting from Amazon Go anyway? You’d still have to check in with your Prime account, and you’d still have to purchase items to make it not look suspicious that you were wandering the store, then leaving without a bag. With cameras watching your every move and sensors detecting even subtle changes in inventory, I doubt even the most bold shoplifters could reasonably find a loophole.

Still, Amazon seems to be inviting people to exploit Go by publicly announcing that it has no way of either knowing or easily detecting items that are removed but not paid for, and that it doesn’t even care about the loss at the end of the day. It will be fascinating to watch how customers acclimate to the Go experience and whether any good faith (or bad faith) experimenters find ways to undermine it.

Read more at:


MTN wants to be Africa’s biggest bank


MTN, Africa’s biggest mobile operator, is gunning to become Africa’s biggest bank.

The ambitious business strategy was revealed by MTN CEO Rob Shuter yesterday during the Deloitte Africa in 2018 Outlook conference in Woodmead.

“The core digital service that we have decided to put our money on is Mobile Money,” said Shuter.

“Mobile Money is really about leveraging the strength of the brand and leveraging the strength of the distribution because we have built a huge informal distribution network for prepaid airtime to bring customers into a transactional banking system.”

“We are a new age transactional banking provider and it’s a very big imperative for us, and the key thing we want to do is to scale it rapidly.”

According to Shuter, MTN wants to build Mobile Money into a 60 million customer business in the next three to four years.

“We will be the largest bank in Africa, leveraging scale, network, brand, infrastructure and distribution,” he noted.

More opportunities

Detailing the company’s other plans, Shuter said he is upbeat about the economies of Africa and the Middle East, where the telco has operations.

“We are very optimistic about what we see. For us, we see more opportunities than challenges. We see the need to focus on our core geographies and this is partially because this is where we see the growth. We see Asia-Pacific as the fastest growing economy but the Middle East and Africa are also following suit.”

MTN looks at the market in terms of three core customer segments – consumer, enterprise and wholesale, Shuter pointed out.

“If we look at consumer, what’s quite inspiring for us, looking at our geographies, is we have a population of about 650 million people across the 22 markets we operate in.

“In the next three to four years, that 650 million people is going to grow to 700 million people. An increase of 50 million people is the same as adding another South Africa to the portfolio. So that gives us a lot of opportunities, actually still in the traditional voice business – SIM penetration, voice, handsets, SMS, etc.”

The three biggest markets for MTN are SA, Nigeria and Iran, Shuter said, adding the economic conditions are improving. “In Nigeria, oil prices are coming back and inflation is coming under control.

“South Africa is also witnessing winds of change politically, while Iran is a market that is opening up, particularly to Europe, despite the rhetoric that we hear from the US.”

He said the other aspect that defines the market is the low level of Internet and digital services.

“When you look at the adoption of mobile Internet, we are talking 20% to 30% of these markets. These are markets with born-digital youthful populations – these are people who were introduced to the Internet on a mobile device.”

He believes there is also the potential for the adoption of digital services – Mobile Money, media, entertainment and social media.

“So there are a lot of positives in the consumer side of the business. If we are looking at the market size, we are looking at R500 billion to R600 billion in all the geographies that we operate in; that’s about two-thirds of the market. If you want to be successful for the long run in our industry, you have to be very well-positioned in the consumer market in terms of brand, products, network, technology, resources, etc.”

Source: itweb.co.za

Apple Skirts Tech Addiction Issue in Response to Worried Investors | Smartphones | TechNewsWorld


ple on Monday responded to an open letter from investors who called for the company to address the negative impact of the iPhone on children and teens. Though the company listed a number of controls provided to help parents screen content, it offered little to address the investors’ chief concern: the amount of time teens and younger children spend on phones.

Jana Partners and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, which together have invested about US$2 billion in Apple, on Saturday published the letter, which urges Apple to give parents more choices and tools to help ensure that young consumers are using the company’s products “in an optimal manner.”

There is a growing body of evidence that frequent use of Apple’s products by young people could be having unintentional negative consequences, notes the letter, which is signed by Jana Managing Partner Barry Rosenstein and CalSTRS’ Director of Corporate Governance Anne Sheehan.

The average American teenager who uses a smartphone first obtains a phone at age 10 and spends more than 4.5 hours a day on it — excluding texting and talking, Rosenstein and Sheehan pointed out.

Seventy-eight percent of teens check their phones at least hourly, and 50 percent report feeling “addicted” to their phones, they added.

“It would defy common sense to argue that this level of usage, by children whose brains are still developing, is not having at least some impact, or that the maker of such a powerful product has no role to play in helping parents to ensure it is being used optimally,” Rosenstein and Sheehan wrote.

Read more at: https://www.technewsworld.com/story/Apple-Skirts-Tech-Addiction-Issue-in-Response-to-Worried-Investors-85052.html

Tech Takes Front Seat at Detroit Auto Show | Transportation | TechNewsWorld


In recent years, CES largely has usurped the North American International Auto Show in Detroit as the “first auto show of the year.” Automakers have used the annual Las Vegas shindig for all things consumer electronics to highlight the latest technology in vehicles.

So perhaps it was fitting that this year NAIAS, more commonly known as the “Detroit Auto Show,” looked a bit more like a technology trade show than a car show.

In addition to the major automakers’ press events highlighting vehicles that soon could be on road and futuristic concepts cars, this year’s auto show featured sessions on artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicle systems, vehicle security and mobility.

GM booth at NAIAS

Read more at https://www.technewsworld.com/story/Tech-Takes-Front-Seat-at-Detroit-Auto-Show-85067.html

Bitcoin is illegal – Bank of Ghana


The Bank of Ghana has announced that trading and using the popular cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin in the country is illegal and not recognized as a legitimate form of currency in the country.

The Governor of Ghana’s central bank, Dr Ernest Addison at a media briefing to conclude the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) annual meetings on Monday, January 22 in Accra said the necessary regulations to support the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies currently do not exist in the country.

All mediums of exchange in the country must be approved by the Bank of Ghana and there is currently a Settlements and Payments bill before Parliament which will cater for the use of cryptocurrencies in the future.

is passed by Ghanaian lawmakers, the country joins a list of six countries that have outlawed the cryptocurrency. The remaining countries are Morocco, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nepal and China.

Bitcoin is very popular in Ghana and in April 2016, a cursory glance at the Google Trends for the term “Bitcoin” ranked Ghana at number one in the world at 100% interest.

The vice president of Group Nduom, Papa-Wassa Chiefy Nduom recently urged the Bank of Ghana to diversify its investments by placing one percent of its reserves in Bitcoin.

Mr Ndoum, the son of former Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) presidential candidate Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom said, “I don’t think it’s a gamble, I think every investment is a gamble, getting out of your bed in the morning is a gamble. If you are completely preoccupied with risk you won’t do anything… in terms of managing reserves there is potentially a new reserve asset and as a central bank, you need to study blockchain.

He said, “Everybody agrees with that now…IMF and the rest, they’ve all said blockchain is potentially disruptive technology. Some people think it will get rid of banks. So as a central bank, you’ve got to pay attention.”

He said, “On the investment case, for a central bank, especially for a country that needs to come up with solutions, we need more funding for investments and my view is, by making that investment and by signalling that it’s an enabling environment for investments. For example, if the exchange is domiciled in Ghana trades in the digital currency will not be subject to tax or capital gains but will tax the profit that the exchange is made. That could result in massive inflows of foreign currencies to Ghana.”

“For central banks in Africa, 13 of them that I have studied, in 2016 term, they had about $111 billion in reserves and it’s also projected that the dollar may fall, against other currencies and they [central banks] already have an imperatives to rebalance their dollar holdings based on the current view of where the dollar may go. So for them [central banks] they have to rebalance anyway or they are going to lose money; potentially,” he said.

Mr Ndoum advised that African central banks, “may buy euros, Swiss franc, or Australian dollar or New Zealand dollars but they can also invest in this [bitcoin] because big investors in the world believe that this [bitcoin] will be a new digital reserve currency and reserve currencies are for central banks, and the central banks also have the technical capability to make a decision on this.”

Bitcoin has increased a lot in popularity since it was created in 2009 but there still remain several regions around the world where it, and other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin and Ethereum, are classified as illegal and not recognized as a legitimate form of currency.

Bitcoin users in North America don’t have anything to worry about as the cryptocoin is completely legal to own, buy, sell, trade, and mine in both Canada and the United States.

Here are some countries to keep an eye on though when planning your next trip abroad. Bitcoin isn’t accepted everywhere just yet.

Bitcoin in Morocco

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency transactions were officially outlawed in Morocco in November 2017 seemingly in response to a major Moroccan digital services company, MTDS, announcing a few days prior that it would begin accepting Bitcoin payments.

Sending and receiving payments via any cryptocurrency in Morocco is punishable by fines.

Bitcoin in Bolivia

Cryptocurrencies have never been legal in Bolivia and the government has been known to enforce its anti-Bitcoin stance rather firmly. People caught using Bitcoin and other cryptocoins can be fined and a number of users have even been arrested on more than one occasion for trading and mining Bitcoin.

Bitcoin in Ecuador

Ecuador outlawed Bitcoin and other cryptocoins in mid-2014 as part of its financial reform plans.

The ban on Bitcoin was seen by many as a way to reduce competition with the country’s own digital currency system (Sistema de Dinero Electrónico). This official Ecuadorian currency isn’t a cryptocurrency and isn’t based on blockchain technology. It’s simply a digital money solution based on traditional money and valued after the American dollar.

Anti-Bitcoin laws don’t appear to be too strict in Ecuador as there are still several ways to buy and sell Bitcoin and other cryptocoins domestically. Enforcement isn’t as strict as other countries like Bolivia and Bitcoin is seen as something that might be technically illegal but is still used by a small number of the population.

Bitcoin in China

The trading of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies was banned in China in September 2017. Due to the technology being so popular in the country before the ban though, the change in law hasn’t ceased its use completely and many Chinese people continue to trade cryptocoins via in-person trades and chat apps like Telegram and WeChat.

The Chinese government appears to target professional cryptocurrency trading companies over individuals.

Bitcoin in Nepal

Nepal’s stance on many aspects of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is a little ambiguous however it has been confirmed that the trading of Bitcoin is considered illegal following several arrests of Bitcoin traders in 2017 that resulted in a combination of fines and jail terms for those involved. Attempting to use Bitcoin and other cryptocoins in Nepal is not recommended.


What is Bitcoin? by www.coindesk.com

Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems.

It’s the first example of a growing category of money known as cryptocurrency.

What makes it different from normal currencies?

Bitcoin can be used to buy things electronically. In that sense, it’s like conventional dollars, euros, or yen, which are also traded digitally.

However, bitcoin’s most important characteristic, and the thing that makes it different to conventional money, is that it is decentralized. No single institution controls the bitcoin network. This puts some people at ease, because it means that a large bank can’t control their money.

Who created it?

A software developer called Satoshi Nakamoto proposed bitcoin, which was an electronic payment system based on mathematical proof. The idea was to produce a currency independent of any central authority, transferable electronically, more or less instantly, with very low transaction fees.

Who prints it?

No one. This currency isn’t physically printed in the shadows by a central bank, unaccountable to the population, and making its own rules. Those banks can simply produce more money to cover the national debt, thus devaluing their currency.

Instead, bitcoin is created digitally, by a community of people that anyone can join. Bitcoins are ‘mined’, using computing power in a distributed network.

This network also processes transactions made with the virtual currency, effectively making bitcoin its own payment network.

So you can’t churn out unlimited bitcoins?

That’s right. The bitcoin protocol – the rules that make bitcoin work – say that only 21 million bitcoins can ever be created by miners. However, these coins can be divided into smaller parts (the smallest divisible amount is one hundred millionth of a bitcoin and is called a ‘Satoshi’, after the founder of bitcoin).

What is bitcoin based on?

Conventional currency has been based on gold or silver. Theoretically, you knew that if you handed over a dollar at the bank, you could get some gold back (although this didn’t actually work in practice). But bitcoin isn’t based on gold; it’s based on mathematics.

Around the world, people are using software programs that follow a mathematical formula to produce bitcoins. The mathematical formula is freely available, so that anyone can check it.

The software is also open source, meaning that anyone can look at it to make sure that it does what it is supposed to.

What are its characteristics?

Bitcoin has several important features that set it apart from government-backed currencies.

1. It’s decentralized

The bitcoin network isn’t controlled by one central authority. Every machine that mines bitcoin and processes transactions makes up a part of the network, and the machines work together. That means that, in theory, one central authority can’t tinker with monetary policy and cause a meltdown – or simply decide to take people’s bitcoins away from them, as the Central European Bank decided to do in Cyprus in early 2013. And if some part of the network goes offline for some reason, the money keeps on flowing.

2. It’s easy to set up

Conventional banks make you jump through hoops simply to open a bank account. Setting up merchant accounts for payment is another Kafkaesque task, beset by bureaucracy. However, you can set up a bitcoin address in seconds, no questions asked, and with no fees payable.

3. It’s anonymous

Well, kind of. Users can hold multiple bitcoin addresses, and they aren’t linked to names, addresses, or other personally identifying information. However…

4. It’s completely transparent

…bitcoin stores details of every single transaction that ever happened in the network in a huge version of a general ledger, called the blockchain. The blockchain tells all.

If you have a publicly used bitcoin address, anyone can tell how many bitcoins are stored at that address. They just don’t know that it’s yours.

There are measures that people can take to make their activities more opaque on the bitcoin network, though, such as not using the same bitcoin addresses consistently, and not transferring lots of bitcoin to a single address.

5. Transaction fees are minuscule

Your bank may charge you a £10 fee for international transfers. Bitcoin doesn’t.

6. It’s fast

You can send money anywhere and it will arrive minutes later, as soon as the bitcoin network processes the payment.

7. It’s non-repudiable

When your bitcoins are sent, there’s no getting them back, unless the recipient returns them to you. They’re gone forever.

So, bitcoin has a lot going for it, in theory. But how does it work, in practice? Read more to find out how bitcoins are mined, what happens when a bitcoin transaction occurs, and how the network keeps track of everything.




Source: Graphiconline



Report: WhatsApp is testing P2P payments in India, beta rolling out this quarter


Following murmurs from last April about WhatsApp gearing up to allow payments in India, FactorDaily reports that Facebook employees in the country are presently testing the new functionality in the messaging app, and that the company plans to begin testing it with about 1 percent of its user base there within the first quarter of this year.

That means that the Facebook-owned service will soon go up against numerous major players in India’s crowded mobile payments space. Built on the country’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI), which allows for instant money transfers between bank accounts at no charge, it’ll have to compete with Google’s Tez, local wallet service Paytm, and the government’s own BHIM app, among others.

The news comes on the heels of WhatsApp’s launch of its new app that lets businesses message customers on the platform. However, FactorDaily’s source noted that only peer-to-peer payments are being tested on the messaging service at present, and tools for transacting with merchants haven’t been enabled.

Beyond building the tech to support payments, it’s possible that WhatsApp is also attempting to tackle the challenges of setting up customer support channels for its payment solution, as well as looking for ways to deal with the fact that UPI-based transactions need to be audited by India’s banking regulator – which doesn’t gel well with the service’s promise of end-to-end encryption for conversations.

WhatsApp will also likely need to figure out how to get merchants to use its platform to receive payments from customers, because that’s where the money is.

Now, about the competition: Google’s Tez, which launched in India last September, is getting a major update that will let users pull up their bills from service providers for things like electricity and broadband connections, and pay them off from within the app. When the company announced the upcoming functionality last month, it noted that it was closing in on 12 million users nationwide, and that it accounted for 73 percent of all UPI-based payments in November 2017.

Paytm has 280 million registered users on its platform, and has lots more on offer already. In addition to its digital wallet which works with a wide range of services including Uber, it also runs a payments bank that lets you open a savings account right from your phone. It also also allows for UPI-based transactions, as well as shopping from a multi-vertical store in its app, and recently bolted on a messaging service.

For its part, WhatsApp has a large base of 200 million users in India, which is a good place to be. But it’ll have its work cut out for it in building the additional functionality and partnerships required to compete with the aforementioned players.

The race to help India ditch its wallets and purses is on.

Google appoints Chief Marketing Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa


Google announced on Monday, 15 January 2018 that it has appointed Mzamo Masito as its Chief Marketing Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa. Masito joins Google from Vodacom, where he held a senior position, he has an MBA from the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) as well as a post-graduate diploma from UCT. He lectures at the AAA School of Advertising and serves on the GIBS advisory board. He previously held senior positions at Nike and Unilever.

Masito says he is excited about working for a company that is so committed to Africa and to making a difference in people’s lives.

“I spoke to a number of people before joining and the consistent theme was Google’s humanity,” he says, “the focus on teamwork, love of its people and drive to achieve goals. This is why I joined the company. I hope while I am here I can channel my passion for Africa into the work we do.”

Masito joined Google on 8 January 2018 and is based out of the company’s Johannesburg office. He will be leading the SSA marketing team, working to sustain its momentum and capitalise on its successes in the region, increasing access to the internet, enhancing locally-relevant products and content, and helping people take advantage of the opportunities offered by the internet.



Edited by Fundisiwe Maseko

Ghana To Establish A National Cyber Security Centre, Says President Akufo-Addo


The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says his government intends, in the next few months, to establish a National Cyber Security Centre, as has been done in some other countries, to liaise with relevant state agencies and the private sector to oversee cyber security operations at the national level.

According to President Akufo-Addo, the national identification system, the digital addressing system, e-payments, digital financial services and the various e-government initiatives in which Ghana is now taking so much pride, can be brought to a halt or undermined by cybercrime.

Cyber-security issues, the President added, are now firmly national security threats, adding that “Ghana cannot fully reap the digital dividends, associated with her adoption of ICT as a means of our socio-economic transformation, if the country fails to mitigate both existing and emerging cyber security threats.”

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Monday, 23rd October, 2017, at the opening of the National Cyber-Security Week, and the inauguration of the National Cyber-Security Inter-Ministerial Advisory Council, at the Accra International Conference Centre, in Accra.

He told the gathering at the event that his government is undertaking specific policy and practical intervention initiatives, including capacity building, international co-operation, judicial enforcement of cybercrime legislations, and implementation of technical standards and safeguards to combat the scourge.

It is for this reason, the President noted that, in July this year, he requested the Minister for Communications, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, MP, to oversee the implementation of Ghana’s National Cyber Security Policy & Strategy (NCSPS).

“This has led to our adoption of a multi-stakeholder approach, as a foundation for the effective implementation of the various cyber security activities and programmes. The National Cyber Security Technical Working Group (NCSTWG) and the National Cyber Security Inter-Ministerial Advisory Council (NCSIAC) would be the critical drivers of our effort,” he said.

In demonstrating international co-operation towards addressing the challenges of cyber security, President Akufo-Addo noted that he signed the African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection, at the 29th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, in July this year.

Before the end of the year, he indicated that government intends to get the approval of Cabinet, and seek Parliamentary approval to enable it access the Budapest Convention.

Government, the President added, has also partnered with the United States government, through the Security Governance Initiative (SGI), and the European Union, through their GLACY project, to support the country’s efforts at addressing cyber security challenges.

“We will also engage with international institutions and technology partners, such as International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), Google, Facebook and Microsoft, to ensure cyber safety for our citizens, especially children,” he added.

Criminal justice response to cybercrime is another area of importance, President Akufo-Addo noted, and to this end “training for our judges, prosecutors and investigators, especially on cybercrime legislations and enforcement provisions, is a priority for government.”

Government, he assured, will enforce existing legislation, as it works to review and update it, if necessary, and will empower the Data Protection Commission to ensure enforcement of the provisions of the Data Protection Act, 2012 (Act 843).

“We also intend to improve the forensic capabilities of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and other law enforcement agencies, including the Economic & Organized Crimes Office (EOCO), to enable officers to investigate and prosecute cyber-facilitated crimes,” the President added.

He continued, “To improve our cyber security emergency response readiness, government, through the Ministry of Communications, is currently working on the establishment of a dedicated Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), to protect critical national information infrastructures, and sectorial CERTs for the various sectors of the economy, based on international standards and benchmarks.”

Above all, President Akufo-Addo noted that “we have to promote a cyber-security culture among our people. In our everyday lives, we would not leave the doors to our homes or cars open, nor would we advertise to the public where we leave our prized possessions, we would never dream of exposing our children to known criminals, but, in the virtual world, we take these chances daily.”

These initiatives, the President noted, require financial commitment, and assured that Government will find the money to implement them.

“I have requested the Minister for Communications to engage with the Minister for Finance to ensure cyber security is captured in the 2018 budget,” he added.


Ericsson Group Visits NCC, Expresses Interest in the Nigerian Market

Top management staff of  Ericsson – a multinational technology and networking services and equipment company, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden – recently paid a courtesy visit to the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The Ericsson team of  Shitlesi Makkhofane, Head Government and Industry Relations of Ericsson Group; and  Peter Olusoji of Ericsson Nigeria, was received on behalf of the Management of NCC by Mr. Sunday Dare the Executive Commissioner Stakeholder Management.

Makkhofane, stated that Ericsson had studied the Nigerian telecom market and had speculated that the vast potentials of the market was yet to be fully harnessed and expressed  interest in the  deployment of Broadband to unserved and underserved areas in Nigeria.

The Company also said it is going to deploy the latest innovative technology to this end paying emphasis on the tripod of availability, accessibility and affordability of broadband – the leading item of NCC  Management’s 8-Point Agenda.


The team said, while at the Commission’s Head Office, it will seek clarifications on licensing requirements for a couple of businesses including type approval procedure for certain equipment because of its interest in exploring the realities of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G networks; huge data management;  as well as providing  cybersecurity solutions to enable network interoperability and traceability to check the use of cloned devices that pose threat to security.

However, the Ericsson team expressed concern on dearth of Forex and its  implications for the development of telecommunications infrastructure and market.

In his response, Mr. Dare expressed NCC Management’s appreciation of the team’s visit as well as its knowledge and interest in  the Nigerian telecom ecosystem. He expressed delight on the issues raised by the Ericsson team and assured the team that the NCC will continue to do what is right to attract FDI for the development and growth of the telecom industry in Nigeria.

Mr. Dare promised to convey the interests and concerns of the team to the EVC/CEO of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta for Management’s consideration and necessary action.

Twitter releases its calendar of upcoming measures to combat harassment and abuse


Twitter this afternoon publicly posted its schedule for instituting fixes and changes to longstanding abuse and harassment issues that have plagued the social network for years. The calendar, first disclosed earlier this week in an internal Twitter email obtained by Wired, details nearly two dozen changes stretching from October 27th to January 10th. They focus on a broad range of topics, from non-consensual nudity to hateful imagery and violent rhetoric to more transparency around account suspensions.

Some measures include more proactively banning content on the platform that glorifies or condones violence, instead of simply drawing the line at actual threats of violence. The company will also suspend accounts of organizations that promote violence. Twitter says that on October 27th, its first change will involve expanding its definition of “non-consensual nudity” to include “creep shots” and hidden camera footage. It will also immediately suspend accounts that post this material, choosing to “error on the side of protecting victims and removing this type of content when we become aware of it,” as the company detailed in its initial leaked email published by Wired. Twitter is also cracking down on abusive display names.


Apple iPad Pro 2018 model may have this iPhone X feature


Apple claims that it uses TrueDepth camera for its Face ID feature on iPhone X, which with the much-talked Face ID feature that launched at its anniversary. 

Now Ming-Chi Kuo Apple’s KGi Securities analyst prediction is that the upcoming lineup of Apple iPads will have TrueDepth camera for the year 2018 model iPads.  Therefore the upcoming iPads will feature facial recognition.

It is predicted that the new Face ID feature in 2018 iPhone models.

The company’s new iPad with ID feature will be launched on March of next year.

Apple’s anniversary edition iPhone is ready to go pre-order in 55 countries starting October 27 and it will hit the retailer’s stores November 3rd.  


Apple has priced iPhone X , which comes with two storage size of 64GB at $999and 256GB at $1149. According to RBC research, 57 percent of buyers are interested in the high –end variant and explains that despite Apple increasing the amount of storage consumers get at the entry-level price point, consumer preference is shifting towards wanting even more (via Business Insider).


The research shows that 75 % of iPhone customers interested to purchase iPhone with 256GB storage verses 45% iPhone 8 buyers who went to 256GB. RBC suggests that, because of the desire to have 256GB storage, iPhone-selling prices will increase.


Daryanani says this is partially driven by the people who desire to “buy the ‘best’ iPhone available, despite significantly higher pricing than any other iPhone in the past.”  Still when it comes for the iPhone purchase there are many factors gets involve: – affordability –storage size  need- or because of the increasing reliance on the cloud with features like iCloud  or Apple Music streaming. Soon we will find out what was the effective factor on purchase of iPhone X

Are you ready for a Facebook Smart Phone?


If a recent patent is any indication, Facebook may soon be coming out with a smartphone.

Rumor has it that Facebook is possibly working on an advanced modular device which features a phone, a speaker, GPS support, a touch display, and a microphone. This is further substantiated by per a recent patent application. Modular hardware allows users to swap out different pieces to enable functions like a camera or a battery pack.

According to the patent’s ABSTRACT:

“Various embodiments of a modular electromechanical device are described herein. The modular electromechanical device includes a chassis and a plurality of functional modules that can be connected to the chassis. Each module is associated with a different functionality. The functionality of the modular electromechanical device is defined based on various attributes including the functionality of the different functional modules that are connected to the electromechanical device, the sequence in which the different functional modules are connected to the electromechanical device, the specific attachment structures used to attach the functional modules to the electromechanical device, or a pattern of traces formed with the chassis.”

Facebook has already confirmed that the technology was acquired through Nascent Objects but didn’t provide any additional insight into a possible modular smartphone. The patent itself mentions that the product could work as a phone or an Amazon Alexa-esque music speaker.

The modular device may work similarly to a phone or Amazon Alexa-like music speaker, according to the patent, which also notes that “millions of devices” connected to a server could be loaded with different software based on components that are swapped out.

Facebook has a consumer hardware lab called Building 8 which is working on futuristic projects like the ability to type with your mind and understand language through your skin. The four employees named on the patent all previously worked for Nascent Objects, a startup Facebook bought last year that used 3D printing to quickly prototype modular gadgets.

Building 8’s head of new product introduction, Bernard Richardson, previously worked in a similar role at Amazon on the Alexa speaker, according to his LinkedIn.

People familiar with the matter told Business Insider that Building 8 is heavily focused on creating cutting-edge camera and machine learning technology. Coincidentally, the 4 Facebook employees mentioned in the patent had all previously worked at a startup called Nascent Objects which specialized in 3D printing modular prototypes.


Huawei’s Mate 10 phones have big screens, small bezels, and AI hardware


Huawei has announced the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, two new phones that occupy the highest end of its lineup. The Mate 10 phones see the Chinese giant get on board with the skinny-bezel trend of 2017 while leveraging its ability in silicon design to supposedly improve AI-related performance.

The main difference between the two phones is in screen size and shape. The Mate 10 features a 5.9-inch 2560 x 1440 LCD while the Mate 10 Pro’s display is a 6-inch 2160 x 1080 OLED; both have thin, symmetrical bezels at the top and bottom. The Pro feels like the smaller phone, however, due to the narrower 18:9 aspect ratio it shares with many of this year’s similarly sized “bezel-less” phones.

The regular Mate 10’s sharper 16:9 screen makes for an unusually proportioned device, albeit one that’ll probably work well for YouTube and other casual video watching — it feels very wide in the hand, but the combination of a huge, standard aspect ratio screen with slim bezels lends a distinctive heft.

Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

Both phones feature glossy glass construction and come in “mocha brown” or “pink gold,” with additional black and gold finishes for the Mate 10 and blue and gray colorways for the Pro. There’s also a Porsche Design special edition Mate 10 Pro with a “diamond black” finish. The Mate 10 is 8.2mm thick and has a fingerprint sensor below the screen; the Pro is 7.9mm and has its fingerprint sensor around the back. The Pro features IP67 waterproofing and an IR blaster, while the Mate 10 gets a headphone jack and a microSD card slot in return.

Beyond external differences, both phones are similarly specced. They each feature a Kirin 970 CPU, 4GB of RAM, a 4,000mAh battery, 64GB of storage, and dual cameras with f/1.6 lenses. That camera setup includes a 20-megapixel color sensor and a secondary 12-megapixel monochrome sensor designed to gather additional luminance information and detail, as with the P10 and other recent Huawei flagships. The Pro has an additional variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the Porsche Design model comes with 6GB of RAM and ups the storage to 256GB.

Both phones use USB-C, as you’d expect, and Huawei has developed a desktop docking solution that’s similar in concept to Samsung’s DeX, which in turn is similar in concept to Windows Continuum and the Motorola Atrix and a lot of other things that didn’t work out. Huawei’s spin doesn’t require a dock, however — you can plug your phone directly into a monitor with a cable and expect to get around three hours of use in the desktop environment, which features resizable windows and Office support. The system allows you to use your phone as normal while it’s powering the larger monitor, and there are privacy controls that allow you to stop notifications from popping up.

Photo by Vlad Savov / The Verge

But the biggest differentiator for Huawei this year is the Kirin 970 chip, developed in-house at the company’s HiSilicon semiconductor arm. The Kirin 970 includes what Huawei is calling an NPU, or neural processing unit, which is designed to handle tasks related to AI and deep learning. Apple announced much the same with the iPhone 8 and X’s A11 Bionic chip, which includes a “neural engine,” but Huawei is leaning harder into making the Kirin 970’s NPU a core feature of the device.

One of the biggest claims is that Huawei’s AI processing will be able to significantly reduce the phone’s performance degradation over time, which the company has identified as a major problem with Android devices in general. The Mate 10 uses on-device processing to build a model of how you use the phone and allocates resources accordingly with machine learning predicting user behavior. And while Apple’s lead in raw CPU processing speed is seemingly unassailable in the mobile space, Huawei believes it will be able to outstrip the new iPhones when it comes to on-device deep learning tasks such as image recognition.

It’s hard to judge any of this without having the phone in hand — in fact, it’ll be hard to judge much of it without having used the phone for several months. But it’s clear that dedicated AI hardware is going to have its uses, and Huawei is demonstrating a significant advantage by managing to spin up its own take on the idea before the likes of Qualcomm.

Huawei’s last flagship, the P10, came with some disappointing quirks, and the company’s claims about the Mate 10 require that we reserve judgement even further. On paper, though, Huawei’s latest are intriguing devices that carry a lot of potential.

Huawei has set European pricing at €699 ($824) for the Mate 10, €799 ($942) for the Mate 10 Pro, and a staggering yet unsurprising $1,395 ($1,645) for the Porsche Design Mate 10 Pro — the release date hasn’t been announced yet, nor have any plans for a US launch.

Microsoft has already fixed the Wi-Fi attack vulnerability


Technology companies are starting to respond to a new Wi-Fi exploit affecting all modern Wi-Fi networks using WPA or WPA 2 encryption. The security vulnerabilities allow attackers to read Wi-Fi traffic between devices and wireless access points, and in some cases even modify it to inject malware into websites. Security researchers claim devices running macOS, Windows, iOS, Android, and Linux will be affected by the vulnerabilities.

Microsoft says it has already fixed the problem for customers running supported versions of Windows. “We have released a security update to address this issue,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “Customers who apply the update, or have automatic updates enabled, will be protected. We continue to encourage customers to turn on automatic updates to help ensure they are protected.” Microsoft is planning to publish details of the update later today.

While it looks like Android and Linux devices are affected by the worst part of the vulnerabilities, allowing attackers to manipulate websites, Google has promised a fix for affected devices “in the coming weeks.” Google’s own Pixel devices will be the first to receive fixes with security patch level of November 6, 2017, but most other handsets are still well behind even the latest updates. Security researchers claim 41 percent of Android devices are vulnerable to an “exceptionally devastating” variant of the Wi-Fi attack that involves manipulating traffic, and it will take time to patch older devices.

The Verge has reached out to a variety of Android phone makers to clarify when security patches will reach handsets, and we’ll update you accordingly. At the time of writing, Apple has not yet clarified whether the latest versions of macOS and iOS are vulnerable.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, a network of companies responsible for Wi-Fi, has responded to the disclosure of the vulnerabilities. “This issue can be resolved through straightforward software updates, and the Wi-Fi industry, including major platform providers, has already started deploying patches to Wi-Fi users,” says a Wi-Fi Alliance spokesperson. “Users can expect all their Wi-Fi devices, whether patched or unpatched, to continue working well together.”

Read more at : theverge.com



Vodafone Unveils New Slogan


Vodafone has announced a significant global change to its brand positioning to reflect a new purpose and visual identity for the future with the adoption of “The Future is Exciting. Ready?” as a tagline.

This represents the first major change to the way the telecom company communicates since the introduction of the “Power to You” strapline in 2009.

The repositioning, which was launched on Friday, October 6, 2017 and has been rolled out across all its markets – including Ghana – is to underline Vodafone’s belief that new technologies and digital services will play a significant role in transforming society and enhancing quality of life in the years ahead.

It defines the company’s purpose in the changing world of technology in a way that offers confidence and optimism for exploiting emerging technologies.

As part of the repositioning, the strapline – “Power to You” – now becomes, “The Future is Exciting. Ready?” This is to reflect the deepened partnership with, and commitment to customers in the ever-changing space of technology.

It also reflects a commitment by Vodafone to communicate with customers in a more engaging and exciting manner.

The change is indicative of Vodafone’s resolve to stand by customers each step of the way, as it navigates the dynamic and fast-moving space of technology.

Chief Executive of Vodafone Ghana, Yolanda Cuba said, “Technology is undergoing tremendous changes globally, influenced by rapid innovation and the desire by customers for efficiency and expansion of digital services. Our repositioning and new visual identity, which finds expression in the strapline, “The future Is exciting. Ready?” will completely transform how we engage and will give customers reasons to be optimistic about the future. It is also aligned with our vision to ignite Ghana’s digital revolution.”

Ms Yolanda Cuba was of the view that the company’s promise of empowerment through the concept of “Power to You” completely transformed how the company engaged with customers and businesses when it was unveiled in 2009.

However, that relationship with customers ought to be taken a notch higher.

“Our global and local research have revealed that customers across markets believe that the way technology is evolving through connectivity makes the future exciting, and we want everybody to benefit every step of the way, hence the transition from “Power to You” to “The future is exciting. Ready?” Vodafone’s CEO said.

Across key media and outdoor channels, Vodafone’s unique change is being showcased to define a digital-first, modern and dynamic agenda that will entrench the company’s industry leadership in customer experience, innovation and thought-leadership.


Source : dailyguideafrica

Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun to resign citing ‘unprecedented crisis’


Kwon Oh-hyun, Samsung Electronics’ CEO, vice chairman, and the head of its hugely successful components business, has announced his resignation. He will step down from the CEO role, as well as his positions on the board and as CEO of Samsung Display, in March 2018.

“It is something I had been thinking long and hard about for quite some time. It has not been an easy decision, but I feel I can no longer put it off,” Kwon said in a letter sent to employees. “As we are confronted with unprecedented crisis inside out, I believe that time has now come for the company start anew, with a new spirit and young leadership to better respond to challenges arising from the rapidly changing IT industry.”

The unnamed “crisis” in Kwon’s letter no doubt includes the imprisonment of Lee Jae-yong, the de facto leader of the entire Samsung group, on corruption charges. While Lee didn’t take a hands-on role in Samsung Electronics’ regular business, Kwon’s resignation is the first sign that the scandal could have a major impact on the company’s operations and culture.

Samsung Electronics is performing well, however, having announced earnings guidance hours ago that predicts a second straight quarter of record profits. The company expects its operating profit to have nearly tripled year on year, demonstrating strong recovery after the equivalent period in 2016 saw the Galaxy Note 7 recall disaster. But Kwon says that the current performance is thanks to decisions made in the past, casting doubt over the company’s ability to predict trends and grow in the future.

“There are no words to describe how proud I am that we built together one of the most valuable companies in the world. We have come a long way to create a company that truly changes how people live, work and communicate with each other,” Kwon’s letter continues. “But now the company needs a new leader more than ever and it is time for me to move to the next chapter of my life.”

Kwon, 64, has been Samsung Electronics CEO since 2012 and was named Samsung Display CEO in 2016. He joined the company in 1985, rising to lead its semiconductor business before his appointment as CEO. Samsung hasn’t announced a successor, although Kwon has had two “co-CEOs” — BK Yoon and JK Shin — in the past. Both stepped back from day-to-day operations in 2015, however, retaining their titles.


Read more at : https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/12/16467790/samsung-ceo-resigning-crisis-kwon-oh-hyun

Google Home can now find that lost phone you swore you left on the table

© Provided by The Next Web
© Provided by The Next Web
Of all the things Google announced at its Pixel 2 event – and there were plenty – perhaps the most useful one is the ability to find your phone using Google Home. That feature should now be live for everyone, as spotted by Android Police.It’s simple enough: say ‘ring my phone’ or ‘find my phone’ and it’ll start ringing. If it’s an Android device, it will make noise even if your volume is off. If it’s an iPhone, Google can only call it, so it’ll only work if your device isn’t on silent.

Google will also know whose phone it’s supposed to find thanks to the Voice Match feature that lets it know which household member is talking. And if you have more than one phone, it will cycle through all your devices, though it doesn’t seem like you can specify which device or the order it cycles through (It seems to default to your most recent device, though). As a reviewer with about 5,721 phones… well, I hope Google picks the right one.

Still, it’s a really handy feature, considering I seem to lose my primary phone at home about once per day. It’s usually stuck somewhere in the couch or off the side of the bed anyway, but it’s nice to know, you know?

Of course, you could just do that via Google’s Find my Phone feature on the web, but being able to do it without having to find your laptop, go to a URL and sign in for the feature just way more convenient – especially if you have two-factor authentication on and need your phone to log in anyway.


Source: MSN

BlackBerry’s water-resistant Motion revealed in leak

© Provided by Engadget BlackBerry’s decision to embrace Android may not restore the brand to its former glory, but it’s been a promising start. We were impressed with its latest phone, the KeyOne, which catered to classicists with its hardware keyboard. But, its followup, will onceagain ditch the brand’s defining physical characteristic — at least, if a new leaked render is anything to go by. The image, tweeted by Evan Blass, gives us our first look at the front of the touchscreen handset.

Okay, so the rumour mill already let slip that the device would pack virtual keys. And, TCL (BlackBerry’s partner on its handsets) told us it would be water-resistant. But, aside from offering up a proper look at its design — which we’ll touch on later — Blass also dropped what may be its official title. The handset everyone was referring to as the “Krypton” is reportedly dubbed BlackBerry Motion. We can’t say that the name change comes as much of a surprise, seeing as the KeyOne also had a different title (Mercury) during its prototype stage.

In terms of its look, the BlackBerry Motion doesn’t fall in line with the current bezel-free trend. It also contains a home button with an embedded BlackBerry logo. And, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack. So, in many ways it is a classic device — albeit not in the traditional Blackberry mould. Still, that doesn’t mean the company is doing away with its other defining features. The Motion will carry the robust security software that BlackBerry prides itself on, and apparently boasts a mammoth 26-hour battery life. Details on its full list of specs, however, are still scarce.

The handset is rumored to arrive this month. Although, if past examples like the BlackBerry KeyOne Black edition are any indication, TCL could be releasing the Motion in some markets first before bringing it worldwide.

Evan Blass (Twitter)

Turns out Pixel 2’s unlimited photo storage has a limit

© Provided by CNETWith the new and improved camera on the Pixel 2, you'll need a place to sore all your masterpiece photos. James Martin/CNET
Google’s promise of unlimited storage for the newly launched Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL isn’t so free and open after all.

The company announced on Wednesday that owners of any Pixel phone will be able to store all the photos and videos they want to online in Google Photos for as long as they use a Pixel phone.

That’s true, but there’s a catch. Not every photo will be as high-resolution as you might want.

For background, Google Photos lets all non-Pixel phone owners upload photos in full, “original” resolution for free. That is, until you hit the 15GB storage limit across Photos, Gmail and Google Drive. You could alternatively choose to upload as many photos and videos as you want at “high quality,” with no storage limitations.

Google defines “high quality” as 16-megapixel photos and 1080p videos. When you choose this unlimited storage option, Google will compress any larger photos and videos down to “high quality.”

Pixel owners, on the other hand, get a little reprieve. They can upload all of their photos and videos at full resolution for free,  “original quality” in Google’s lexicon. That is, until 2020. After that, things change. New photos and videos taken on any Pixel phone after 2020 will be compressed to Google’s “high quality”standard (16-megapixel photos and 1080p video).

According to the fine print, “Free, unlimited original-quality storage for photos and videos taken with Pixel through the end of 2020, and free, unlimited high-quality storage for photos taken with Pixel afterwards.” It’s a little confusing, we know.

Google confirmed to CNET that after 2020, it won’t retroactively compress all your full-resolution Pixel uploads before 2020. Only new uploads will be compressed, and old uploads will stay at original quality.

Google is banking on the Pixel 2’s camera quality, and perk of free storage to help it stand out from dual-camera phones like the iPhone X and Galaxy Note 8. In fact, Google thinks its single 12-megapixel is better than those dual-camera phones. The Pixel 2 also scored even higher than the original according to photography testers DxOMark, which awarded it a score of 98.


Source : MSN

Facebook quietly launches Mac and PC Workplace Chat apps with screen share

TechCrunch has discovered that Facebook has stealthily launched official desktop PC and Mac chat apps with screen sharing — two features users have been begging for. Right now, they’re only available for Facebook Workplace, its enterprise collaboration software that competes with Slack and other business apps. But users would surely enjoy if the consumer Messenger app got its own desktop app and screen sharing options one day.

Workplace has over 14,000 businesses on board paying $1 to $3 per user, and recently signed up Wal-Mart. Screensharing could help Facebook Workplace attract more clients and disrupt the clunky screen sharing of enterprise apps like Skype and WebEx. It’s clear that Facebook is applying its rapid development style in an bid to conquer offices with an all-in-one collaboration app while competitors only offer a piece of the puzzle.

Facebook bursts back into desktop software

Buried in the help section of Workplace, TechCrunch spotted a download link for the beta version of the Workplace Chat desktop app for both PC and Mac. It makes it easy to message with co-workers throughout the day without relying on a browser tab that can get lost amongst all your other tabs.

Facebook Workplace spokesperson Vanessa Chan confirmed the launch of the desktop app to TechCrunch, saying “This was one of the most widely requested features by customers, so we built it. The desktop app is still in beta and being tested by Workplace customers who are providing feedback that we’ll use to improve the product before a wider rollout.”

© Provided by TechCrunchThe desktop app works similarly to Workplace Chat’s dedicated website, which in turn is modeled after Messenger.com. It provides a big dashboard of all your conversations, text search, and the typical photo, video, voice clip, emoji, GIF, and web cam sharing. You can also set up desktop notifications that ride over your other windows so you never miss a message.

Workplace Chat is one of Facebook’s only pieces of desktop software besides its casual gaming platform Facebook Gameroom. Facebook tried offering a Messenger for Windows app in 2012 before shutting it down in 2014. Since then, several convincing but fake third-party desktop apps have proliferated. The Messenger team has been largely focused on mobile rather than desktop or even web features. Now that it has 1.3 billion monthly users, though, it could potentially explore desktop software to keep growing.

© Provided by TechCrunchShare anything, even your screen

What’s totally new to Facebook is screen sharing. As Facebook evolves from text towards visual communication, being able to show people what you’re looking at could be an important complement to video chat. While Slack only added screen sharing in May over four years after launch, Workplace now has it less than a year after its debut.

© Provided by TechCrunchScreen sharing is now available on both the Workplace Chat desktop apps and on web. Not only can you share your full-screen, but you can select to only share a specific desktop app you’re running. That could be invaluable if you want to avoid embarrassing yourself or exposing sensitive work data or communications. For example, you might only share Excel or your web browser, but not Slack or your email client.

Establishing this level of privacy for screen sharing is important since that’s one of the biggest concerns of clients using office software made by Facebook. It’s the reason that Facebook does not directly integrate your normal social network profile with Workplace, opting to keep them completely separate. Just because a News Feed and instant messaging are useful for work doesn’t mean you want your boss seeing how you socialize.

© Provided by TechCrunchOverall, the new desktop software gives Facebook Workplace a preferred spot on your computer when it might otherwise drown within Chrome or Firefox. Combining the familiarity of Facebook’s design with the prominence of dedicated desktop apps could encourage the constant collaboration the company hopes to enable.

Workplace is designed not just for traditional white-collar office employees but to allow everyone in a company from top to bottom to communicate. That’s why additional access points are important. While most enterprise software is thought of as ugly and inconvenient, Workplace is flipping that idea on its face.


Source : MSN

AOL Instant Messenger is shutting down on December 15th

Provided by Engadget
It’s the end of an era. AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) is officially shutting down on December 15th, Oath announced this morning. AIM started out as the built-in chat application in America Online’s desktop client, but it really took off after it was broken out as a separate application in 1997. The app, and it’s iconic messaging sound, were staples for anyone who spent too much time on the web in the 90’s and early 00’s. Really though, the writing was on the wall for AIM since AOL laid off most of the division in 2012. AIM also started cutting off third-party access earlier this year, which was a big sign the service was on its way out.

Oath – the new Verizon company that includes AOL, Yahoo, and yes, Engadget – isn’t saying what, exactly, will be replacing AIM. For now, though, Yahoo Messenger seems like the best possibility.

“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” said Oath VP of communications Michael Albers. “We are more excited than ever to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world.”

It’s the end of an era. AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) is officially shutting down on December 15th, Oath announced this morning. AIM started out as the built-in chat application in America Online’s desktop client, but it really took off after it was broken out as a separate application in 1997. The app, and it’s iconic messaging sound, were staples for anyone who spent too much time on the web in the 90’s and early 00’s. Really though, the writing was on the wall for AIM since AOL laid off most of the division in 2012. AIM also started cutting off third-party access earlier this year, which was a big sign the service was on its way out.

Oath – the new Verizon company that includes AOL, Yahoo, and yes, Engadget – isn’t saying what, exactly, will be replacing AIM. For now, though, Yahoo Messenger seems like the best possibility.

“AIM tapped into new digital technologies and ignited a cultural shift, but the way in which we communicate with each other has profoundly changed,” said Oath VP of communications Michael Albers. “We are more excited than ever to continue building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products for users around the world.”

Vodafone’s Fibre Broadband Goes to Kumasi


September 30, 2017//-Vodafone Ghana has launched a fibre broadband Internet connectivity in Kumasi.

This follows a similar one opened in Accra to target homes and offices.

Already, 1,600 households and 700 companies in Kumasi have been connected to the broadband.

The CEO of Vodafone Ghana, Madam Yolanda Zoleka Cuba, said the shift from copper to fibre formed part of the company’s five-year plan of making Internet connectivity stress-free and 10 times faster.

She said with the introduction of the fibre broadband, there was no motivation for thieves to steal because it could not be used for any other thing.

“We do not want to be just any other company, but want to be different by leaving a legacy and to ignite Ghana’s digital revolution,” Mrs Cuba said.

She said Vodafone Ghana was creating a full ecosystem on how to digitise in the country to inure to the benefit of everybody.

“The fibre broadband liberates the economy because it leads to efficiency and businesses are done faster,” she said.

The CEO said Vodafone was leading the way by providing the infrastructure to make the new drive happen.

She said key to the new development was ensuring that no child was left behind because they were the key actors in the next generation and must not be technologically disadvantaged.

“Vodafone is committed to the development of Ghana and the introduction of the fibre broadband Internet connectivity attests to it,” Mrs Cuba added.

The company moves to Takoradi for the next launch as it hopes to cover the entire country within a short time.

Daily Graphic 

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