MOBILES FOR DEVELOPMENT: Participants at a MoMoKla event including ICT Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda. Mobile Monday Kampala (MoMoKla) is a community of mobile industry visionaries, developers and influentials fostering cooperation and cross-border business development through virtual and live networking events to share ideas, best practices and trends from global markets.
4 | Editorial team, and Editor’s Notes
6 | Verbatim 7 | Numbers: Google’s 2011 Revenue Breakdown (Infographic)
11 | Kenya tries out mobile parking payment system in Nairobi 11 | Huawei foresees smartphone sales in Nigeria growing by 35 percent 12 | Wikipedia goes down due to cable cuts 12 | Dropbox working with LAGbook to gain African market
8 | Orange Rewards Apps Developers 8 | Facebook Launches New Mobile App for iOS 9 | Airtel Launches 3.75G internet
13 | Comment: Apple’s $1 Billion Patent Win Over Samsung Rattles Google’s Cages
9 | Huawei Defends China brand in the light of Regulatory warming over fake products 10 | Orange’s African Social Venture Prize, deadline set for September 10 | Sony getting out of PC optical drive business
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ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
28 | Simon Kaheru: Start them young 30 | Douglas Kasyaba: BlackBerry: Hard to let go
29 | Ruth Aine: What if Nelson Mandela had Social Media?
36 | Amama Mbabazi on QoS 14 | The Galaxy Note II 15 | Samsung brings us closer to the future with its new Smart TV
34 | Exploring e-Voting for Student Union Elections
16 | Mobile Phones & Our Lives
38 | Samsung’s Galaxy SIII 39 | Galaxy pocket 40 | Samsung Galaxy Note (First Generation) 42 | Mobile App: Lookout 44 | Orange San Diego: Full Review of Intel’s first phone (Screenshot below shows Orange Gestures, a feature of the phone)
In many parts of the world, more people have access to a mobile device than to a toilet or running water; for millions, this is the first phone they’ve ever had. Mobile phones are affecting our lives in a way many probably never anticipated. In this issue, we take a close look at this phenomenon.
23 | UGO Now 3rd Most Popular Website in Uganda 24 | Online Storage
22 | Why tablets could potentially change education in Africa
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
CHIEF EDITOR/CEO ALBERT MUCUNGUZI email@example.com +256 792 619812 / 782 619812 DIRECTOR, West Africa RICHARD BOATENG, PhD firstname.lastname@example.org ASSOCIATE EDITOR WINNIE NINSIIMA email@example.com WEBSITE ADMINISTRATORS JEDDY GENRWOT firstname.lastname@example.org AIDEN KATAYIMBWA email@example.com SYDNEY OBUA ODONGO firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGN & LAYOUT ALBERT MUCUNGUZI BLOGGERS SIMON KAHERU email@example.com DOUGLAS B. KASYABA firstname.lastname@example.org RUTH AINE email@example.com CONTRIBUTORS MARK KAHERU DAVID OKWII JAYA THAKRAR ANDERSON HOWARD MUGISA ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES firstname.lastname@example.org +256 792 619812 SPECIAL PROJECTS WYCLEF RUSHAJU email@example.com +256 703 473073 PUBLISHER PC Tech Communications Ltd Plot 14 Martyrs’ Lane, Ntinda (Minister’s Village) P O. Box 32180, Kampala, Uganda . www.pctechmagazine.com © COPYRIGHT 2011 PC Tech Magazine is published 11 times a year by PC Tech Communications Ltd. The name PC Tech Magazine is a registered trademark and is property of PC Tech Communications Ltd.
Welcome to yet another issue of Your Most Contemporary Technology Magazine. This issue, released on the back of one of the hottest legal battles technology has seen in history, highlights the ever-growing relationship between us, humans, and those small handheld “rectangles” called Mobile Phones. From political battles to the dynamics of a first date, our lives are being reshaped by the constant presence of our phones - and our evolving relationship with the idea of being connected to everyone and everything all the time. Healthcare delivery looks more promising than ever and business opportunities appear from every corner for developers of mobile applications. Such is the stuff that’s come with phones, and in this issue, we look at the consequences and possible opportunities they bring. Still on Phones, Apple registered the biggest patent-battle win in history when court ruled that Samsung pay over $1billion to them for willful patent violation. It’s too early to tell if that ruling will be upheld, but what is for sure is that it will have longer-term implications on the future of mobile-based innovation. That not withstanding, Samsung takes up significant coverage in this issue; from Smart TVs to the recently announced Galaxy Note II. We’ve reviewed the first-generation Note, the Galaxy SIII, and the more affordable Galaxy Pocket — that new Android phone that’s helped Samsung challenge Huawei and ZTE in the African Market. But while we celebrate mobile phone penetration in the less-developed Africa, capacity problems still loom so large — but that isn’t even as disturbing as the ever increasing number of spammers that send you numerous pieces of information, most of which you never subscribe for. In some cases, phone users are charged for such content. These developments have got the tech world buzzing for a bigger part of the year, some expressing dissatisfaction over the role being played by national regulators. We caught up with Ugandan Prime Minister, Hon. Amama Mbabazi, and we’ve published the interview in our Features Section. Finally, the IT function has also gone to a very personal level; in the past, the data backup function was only undertaken at a corporate level or at best, personal data backup was achieved using flash drives or compact discs to ensure that data is safe. Gone are those days. In this issue we explore the various web based personal data backup solutions on the market, delving into their modes of operation, costs and benefits. Happy reading. Albert Mucunguzi
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ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
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“You still use one of these?”
AMAMA MBABAZI Prime Minister of Uganda teases a Twitter user who carried a 15” laptop to a Tweetup. Mbabazi is known to carry latest gadgets, ranging from tablet computers to various smartphones.
“It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners.”
SAMSUNG, in a statement after court recommended it pays Apple more than $1billion in damages for patent violation!
“FOOLISH PIG is drunk with power.”
ROBERT ALAI, a Kenyan blogger tweeting about a government spokesperson he believed to have issued the order for two cases of murder. That tweet cost him KSH. 100,000 in cash bail after a night behind bars. His arrest cast the spotlight over internet government in Kenya.
“This seat is taken.”
BARACK OBAMA, US President in a tweet, in response to Actor Clint Eastwood’s speech at the Republican convention in with he addressed an empty chair representing the president .
“In a few years, the San Jose jury verdict may — I repeat, MAY — be remembered as the tipping point that sent Android on a downward spiral,”
Oracle tweeting in response to Apple’s $1billion win over Samsung in patent war.
FLORIAN MUELLER, Patents expert and consultant to two Google rivals, Microsoft and
“This technology gives our incredible supporters the ability to make a donation in seconds.”
Think of this as your Facebook Wall, now called Timeline. Here, we publish anything. Yes, ANYTHING. So what’s there this month may not necessarily be there next.
MITT ROMNEY, Repulican Presidential Candidate (USA) announcing that his camp would be accepting donations via SMS.
“HT @mention, @mention FWIW, Twitter is not the same as FB. #kthanksbye.”
ALBERT MUCUNGUZI, Founder/CEO, PC Tech Magazine in a blog post referring to Twitter-Facebook Sync as one tool some users often misuse. The method of sending tweets to Facebook often returns undesired results as Twitter terms are not necessarily similar to Facebook.
“That’s one small step for [a] man, a giant leap for mankind.”
NEIL ARMSTRONG, an American astronaut and the first person to walk on the Moon, in his very first words after stepping on the moon. He is the first human being to walk step on the moon. Amstrong died in August 2012 aged 82.
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
TOP STORIES THIS MONTH
Orange Rewards Apps Developers
Ugandan Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi poses with winners of Orange Uganda’s Community Innovations Awards Competition at Makerere University.
EVERY YEAR, ORANGE UGANDA ORGANIZES THE “Community Innovations Awards”, a competition which recognizes the most impressive ideas in mobile app developments. These awards allow young developers in Uganda to suggest an innovative application that could be used in agriculture, health, or education. The 42 participants were able to test their pilot apps on the platform set up by Orange, and following demonstrations of the entries received, 11 finalists were selected by a panel of experts. After the participants explained how their app worked, and the benefit it would bring to the community, the panel chose three applications based on specific selection criteria: innovation, whether the application is practical and easy-to-use, its economic potential, and its benefit to the community.
The 2012 winners, Sekabira Yasin and Frederick Bisaso, created “My Revision Guide”, an app that helps students to revise by setting them tests and asking them questions at random. They were given 10 million shillings (around 3,200 euros) to develop their pilot application, as well as a 12-month internship. The 2nd prize winner receives 5 million shillings (around 1,600 euros) and a 12-month internship to help them develop their “Diet Assistant” application, which recommends healthy and balanced meals for those looking to control their weight. Lastly, the 3rd prize winner receives a 6-month internship. Through this competition, Orange Uganda aims to promote young people’s talent for developing mobile applications that can help both the local and international community. By giving motivated young people the chance to create their own applications, Orange is playing an important role in their professional future.
Facebook Launches New Mobile App for iOS
FACEBOOK issued a massive update to its iOS app Thursday, with app version5.0.Facebook describes the app as being “rebuilt so it’s faster and easier to use.” Once a template for how to design a great mobile app, Facebook for iOS has faced criticisms in the past 18 months for being slow and unresponsive. Part of the reason behind the slowness was the old app’s reliance on HTML5. While HTML5 is a great way to build cross-platform, mobile-friendly apps and web pages, it’s not as fast for certain types of applications. In June, two Facebook developers told The New York Times that they were working on rebuilding the iOS app in Objective-C and that the resulting app could be 2.5 times faster. For iPad users, Timeline is finally supported on the device. We have to say, it looks great on the retina screen! Facebook also issued a smaller update to Facebook for Android [Google Play link]. While not as far-reaching as the iOS update, the Android app now supports faster photo uploads and emoji in messages.
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
Huawei Defends China brand
Airtel Launches 3.75G internet
Huawei defended the originality of their handsets following a recent notice from the Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) to switch off over 3 million counterfeit mobile phones in the country, sparking fears among Kenyans owning devices made in China. “Huawei has created a competitive edge by introducing original devices that ensure quality user experience at affordable costs for Kenyans at all levels; as a result of our heavy investment in customer centric research and development (R&D),” said Wind Li, Huawei Kenya Representative Office CEO. “As a global ICT leader serving 45 out of the top 50 global operators and a third of the world’s population, Huawei adheres to the laws and regulations of the countries we operate in while meeting all the product requirements,” he added. The company’s smartphone portfolio in Kenya include Huawei IDEOS, IDEOS X5, S7 Slim, and most recently Ascend Y100, Huawei Media Pad and Honor available in Safaricom shops. Gaga and Boulder, also Huawei devices, are available at Orange Shops. Huawei has customer care executives in all operators’ shops, and five care centers in Nairobi with service centers at Malibu Telecom and Telebell at View park Towers. In a statement, Mr. Francis W. Wangusi, Director General, CCK said, “The attention of the Commission has been drawn to a misconception in the mobile phones market that all handsets manufactured in China or by Chinese firms are counterfeit. The Commission wishes to state that China has globally recognized companies whose products and solutions are being used worldwide by top operators, and which meet CCK requirements in respect to quality and type approval. Consumers are
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (LEFT) launches Airtel’s high-speed Internet at State House in Entebbe.
LAST MONTH, AIRTEL UGANDA LAUNCHED its 3.75G internet service in Uganda. Airtel subscribers can now enjoy high speed internet browsing, downloads, video calling, video streaming and other data services at very affordable rates. The launch of the 3G platform promised profound changes to how customers in the country experience the web on internetenabled devices. The improved technology will enhance multimedia functionality, high speed mobile broadband and internet access; allowing users to make video calls, watch live TV, send and receive emails and download music from the devices. “3G technology will give our customers the opportunity to interact with data in a different way,” explained Mr. VG Somasekhar, MD Airtel Uganda. “This is why Airtel doesn’t see 3G as a product but a platform that enables the community expand its social and commercial horizons, alongside the rest of the world,” he added. “Our 3G platform will liberate the potential of our youth through enabling fast access to the Internet for learning, sharing, social networking, creating and accessing content like music. For the small and medium business, it will enable the entrepreneur to embrace a highly mobile way of working with high speed access to email and internet. It will also allow large companies to increase productivity through vastly enhanced mobile internet speeds and also enable
communication via video calls on compatible handsets.” He concluded. Airtel’s commitment to deepening its network coverage and bringing communication opportunities to rural populations will work in tandem with the availability of 3G to ensure that Airtel can provide Uganda with a level of internet access across the country that can help bridge the digital divide. Of particular interest , the minister of ICT Ruhakana Rugunda, who was the guest of honor, said that, “there unlimited possibilities that the new technology is going to open for the business community. “This initiative touches the core reason for our existence as a ministry of ICT; to ensure that Ugandans experience the best technology the World has to offer especially the business community that is usually affected by unnecessary bureaucracy,” he said. The minister added that, “The advancement in technology is expected to lead to corresponding percentage increment in economic velocity. This is because technology enables fast communication and transactions at a faster rate than before. Hence it opens up unlimited number of doors to the numerous business opportunities in the World over.” There are currently about 400 million mobile subscribers in Africa, according to data from McKinsey & Co. Telecommunications is one of the continent’s fastest growing industries with a rapidly expanding cellular phone market that now includes internet access, mobile banking and mobile commerce.
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
TOP STORIES IN BRIEF
Huawei Defends China Brand
From page 9
therefore, advised to verify whether the handsets they wish to buy are genuine by sending the IMEI of the handset via sms to 1555. The response received from this system which has been set up in liaison with device manufacturers should be the only fool-proof yardstick for determining whether the handset is genuine or not. Members of the public are also advised to purchase mobile phones from vendors who are duly licensed by CCK and should demand to see the CCK type approval certificate of the model of the handset they wish to buy.” Huawei has partnered with Kenyan operators such as Safaricom to bring smartphones in the market. “Safaricom has had a long standing relationship with Huawei whose technology ranks among the best in the world. The IDEOS was one of our first affordable smartphone and the fact that it became one of our best selling phones in the past year is testament to its quality and reliability in the Kenyan market,” said Bob Collymore, CEO Safaricom. Huawei is the world’s second largest telecom solutions provider and it has entrenched its presence in the global high-end smartphone market with flagship models like Ascend P1 and Ascend D1 becoming bestsellers in China, West Europe, Japan, Australia, Canada, among other markets.
Orange’s African Social Venture Prize, deadline set for September
Orange, top telecom Last year’s edition operator with operations attracted more than across Africa, is running a 600 applicants who challenge dubbed African tackled the theme of Social Venture Prize that “Reflecting the Strong will have the winners ofEntrepreneurial Spirit fered startup capitals of up and the High Potential to US$31,200. of the TelecommunicaThis is second edition tions Services in Africa.” of the competition. Orange 2011’s top three says the 2012 edition winners did the followwill tackle social innovaing projects, Nigeria’s tion aspects targeted at Horticultural Telesupporting development Irrigation that uses through deployment of ICT mobile Technology to solutions. support horticulturalThe company further ists, Uganda’s Agasha says it intends to use the Business Network, a One of last year’s winners, Sharon Ageine of Agasha platform to offers expertise Business Network (Uganda) poses for a photograph project that aims to use and financial backing to after receiving the award in Cape Town, South Africa e-commerce platform the up-and-coming comto promote small panies. African businesses Orange, the competition’s major sponsor, market across the world and Ivory Coast’s Kachile says African Social Venture prize 2012 will award e-commerce start-up for African craft products. three startups that would have the best providing The projects for submission must be designed solutions that uses ICT in innovative approach to to be used in at least one of the African countries fulfil the needs of people in African continent in in which Orange operates, and must use Inforareas of health care, agriculture, banking services mation and Communication Technology (ICT) and education. in an innovative way to help improve the living The will offer expertise to management of the standards of the population in these countries. growing small and midsize companies ($12.500 In Africa, Orange operates in Tunisia, to $31,200) in addition to a six-month support Kenya,Uganda,Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Egypt from entrepreneurial and ICT experts. ,Cameroon, Mauritius,Mali ,Senegal and EquatoOnly registered companies that have been in rial Guinea. existence for less than 3 years at the time of the Applications are ongoing at Starafrica.com competition may participate at no cost and with until September 21 2012. no restriction on nationality.
Sony getting out of PC optical drive business
It’s being reported that Sony is closing Optiarc Inc. its company subsidiary that manufactures optical disc drives for PCs. Officials are quoted as saying that “fierce competition” forced prices down, causing the business to operate at a loss despite controlling roughly 15 percent of the market. Operations will be wound up by March of next year, with around 400 employees being offered early retirement and others being moved to other parts of the business. Don’t worry about the future of your Blu-Ray and DVD player just yet though -- the company will continue to manufacture both as part of its Device Solutions Division.
SEPTEMBER 2012 pc tech
Kenya tries out mobile parking payment system in Nairobi
milestone toward the improvement of service delivery adding that failure to collect revenue had a negative impact on the delivery of their services. The e-payment has the ability to display dates and invoice. Invoice capabilities have been extended to SMS electronic payment and confirmation, while the City Council can make necessary amends to its accounts and meet its terms at the touch of a button. Mobile service providers YU, Airtel and Orange and car owners from other networks have been designated roles to facilitate transactions. They are currently using semiautomated system where payments are transacted through a cash agent system that enables the car park attendant to pay into the system on behalf of customers. Duba further assured council employees that the new project would not affect their employment. He added that with automation of services at the council as their main goal, they will start with parking tickets In this case, he said, motorists will be required to pay electronically and if it emerges successful, they will have it introduced in other departments in the council where services like paying for business permits, land rates, health certificates among other invoice services offered by the council will be done electronically. Duba added that with the system, the council would be able to stop the theft as only 40 percent of revenue collected will reach the treasury. He explained that the new system would also stop the inefficiency and inconvenience in parking situations where unprincipled officers play hide and seek with motorists wanting to pay. Mobile parking payment dates back to 2002 where an Estonian leading mobile communication operator and Norwegian communications applications developer Scangit AS launched a pilot project for mobile parking services in Norway.
A pilot project for testing a mobile car parking payment system in Kenya by Nairobi City Council is on track in the capital Nairobi’s Koinange Street. Nairobi Town Clerk Roba Duba expressed that if the project works as planned, it will be a
Huawei foresees smartphone sales in Nigeria growing by 35 percent
Huawei reports that by 2015, there will be nearly a 35 percent increase in smartphone uptake in Nigeria. Huwawei says there would be some 30 million smartphones sold in Nigeria in the next three years. Tony Liangwei, the Managing Director, Huawei Devices Nigeria during a mobile device dealers workshop in Lagos said the growing demand of smartphones from feature and basic phones will drive up the sales even as people yearn to remain connected to their friends and work on the go, reported The Punch. Nigeria currently has over 1 hundred million mobile phone subscribers and is the leading in Africa. A recent Informa Telecoms report however says only nearly 7 percent of the subscribers use smartphones. According to Huawei Nigeria, an opportunity in the Nigerian smartphone market which dealers should be ready to take up therefore exists. Huawei is known for its revolutionary Ideos smartphones that took to the Kenyan market by storm selling over 350,000 pieces in just a few months following the launch. The phonemaker is now looking to do the same for the Nigerian market. Huawei is at the moment introducing its de-
vices to the dealers in the country and taking them through its objectives for the Nigerian market. Liangwei said: “We want to use the workshop as a platform to encourage dealers in mobile devices to form partnerships with Huawei, which will be beneficial to all parties.” Huawei showcased its handsets, mobile broadband and home devices on the Friday seminar and was also looking to mutually
reward their dealers in the country. Industry analysts in Nigeria say Huawei devices are among the most affordable and both their low end mobile devices and smartphones are of considerable technology and quality, reports the Punch. Huawei Nigeria was established in 1999 and according to the Wall Street Journal, Nigeria is the Chinese firm’s favorite testing market.
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
Wikipedia goes down due to cable cuts
he site, and various associated services, were inaccessible or extremely sluggish for over two hours. [centres], one in Florida and one in Virginia, and some network proxies in Amsterdam. “Everyone in that data centre was affected!” He said it was not yet clear what had caused the cut, or where exactly it had taken place. Mr Gerard joked that due to the site’s limited financial resources, some of its infrastructure relied on “gaffer tape and string”. In an error message posted to the site, the Wikimedia Foundation reiterated its reliance on donations to fund its continued operation. “The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organisation which hosts some of the most popular sites on the internet,” the message read. “It has a constant need to purchase new hardware. If you would like to help, please donate.” Despite its limited funding, the site is considered to have impressive reliability. Its last significant down time was deliberate - the site went “offline” for 24 hours in protest at proposed anti-piracy bills in the US.
A status web page showed various parts of the Wikimedia network as suffering performance issues. Wikipedia ruled out any suggestion of malicious intent being behind problem. The two cables, which stretched between Tampa and Virginia, were broken for an hour and six minutes, the site said. After the cables were repaired, it took another hour for basic service on Wikipedia to be restored. Its mobile site appeared to be unaffected, although the service’s API - application programming interface - continued to suffer problems even when the main site had been restored. David Gerard, a UK spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation - the charity which owns Wikipedia and other similar sites - told the BBC that the problem had been fixed.
“Things appear to have been patched up, services are being brought back and things are getting to OK now,” he said. “Someone cut the cables going to the Tampa, Florida data centre. We have two big
Dropbox working with LAGbook to gain African market
LAGbook, Africa-founded social network with a global user base, is working with Dropbox to draw more subscribers in Africa. The firm is using Dropbox for teams which it says is good for firms as allows collaboration by team members working on a similar project. LAGbook’s cofounder Chika Nwaogu told HumanIPO that LAGbook is using “Dropbox for Teams,” which allows all LAGbook’s programmers and team members to work on a certain project without having to exchange an updated link to files it’s working on. Chika says it is simple as all LAGbook’s users have a folder titled “Dropbox.” “We create and save files on the ‘Public’ folder in the ‘Dropbox’ folder, which other team members can access from their computers with an Internet connection,” he said. He added that LAGbook is working with Dropbox to increase the uptake of Dropbox for teams in Africa as people are unaware of the ability of Dropbox and its endless possibilities. “It’s not a deal with a direct monetary value on it unlike our partnership with Blackberry Nigeria. It’s a progressive deal, and this is the basic idea behind it. We are to drive traffic to the Dropbox website in Africa. Visitors from our referral link are required to download and install the Dropbox application on their computer,” Chika said. Once the installation is completed, we get free 500MB space on Dropbox to save and share more files with our team members at LAGbook. It’s an asset though, since people have to pay to get an additional 500MB at Dropbox, but we’re getting it for every new visitor we direct to Dropbox. Chika told HumanIPO that LAGbook has now, since since August 15, 2012, over 20GB additional space on Dropbox, as they partner to get Dropbox into every corporate environment in Africa. He said the storage helped them work effectively on their recently launched “Search Ads”. The team cloud helped others to contribute codes to the project with other programmers working on the project in the know of the progress. Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi founded Dropbox in 2007. It is a cloud service that lets users store and share photos, docs, and videos remotely. Drobox says it has more than 50 million people across every continent who rely on the service. It’s partnership with LAGbook could be due to the increasing proliferation of cloud storage and sync services by top firms like Google, Apple, Microsoft and their concentration away from Africa though Google’s Drive drives on Google’s multiplicity of services like Search and Gmail used by over 450 million people. Dropbox emerged as the most used freelancer tool beating Gmail and other services. LAGbook users hit over 300,000 last month. — HumanIPO.com
SEPTEMBER 2012 pc tech
Comment: Apple’s $1 Billion Patent Win Over Samsung Rattles Google’s Cage
The billion-dollar verdict is the largest victory yet in Apple’s global proxy war against arch-rival Google. But what does the decision mean for mobile innovation?
pple‘s huge intellectual property victory over Samsung last Friday night was both dramatic and overwhelming. South Koreabased Samsung was hit with a $1.05 billion verdict after a federal jury of nine California residents found that it had infringed Apple’s smartphone patents. In other words, the jury found that Samsung ripped off the iPhone. Apple is now asking U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the trial, to bar Samsung, the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer, from selling eight of its popular mobile devices in the United States. That’s a big deal. Apple’s already-soaring stock price rose nearly 2% to an all-time high Monday. Samsung, meanwhile, plunged to a four-year low, wiping out some $12 billion in market valuation. (For perspective, that’s almost what Google paid to purchase Motorola Mobility, Samsung’s smaller rival.) Despite Apple’s victory, this dispute is far from over. Samsung has said it will appeal the verdict, and the two giants are squaring off over intellectual property in several other jurisdictions around the world. (TIME‘s Jared Newman breaks down the specific hardware implications of the decision here.) Any billion-dollar jury award will grab headlines, but this case is about much more than just money. The judgement represents 2% of Sansung’s global revenue. This is a drop in the bucket — a rounding error — for global corporate giants like Samsung and Apple. So, if not money, what’s this story about? It’s about market dominance in the exploding global smartphone race. Apple’s victory is the most high-profile outcome thus far from Silicon Valley’s escalating intellectual property war. The biggest winners? Lawyers. Can you imagine the litigation fees on a $1 billion jury judgement? The verdict was also a big win for the spirit of Steve Jobs, who raged against Google for stealing his ideas. Jobs was convinced that Google ripped off most of the Android OS and form-factor from the iPhone. The rift caused Google chairman Eric Schmidt to be politely dismissed from Apple’s board of directors three years ago this month. Google has invested heavily in Android in order to give it a foothold in the mobile space, which is the next great battle in the web advertising wars. This case should be viewed as just one (admittedly huge) front Apple is waging against Google worldwide, by proxy. Google’s Android OS has been the subject of specula-
Apple’s iPhone 4 (left) and Samsung’s Galaxy SII have come under the microsocope due to their similarity. Apple convinced court that Samsung infringed on some of its patents.
tion about its IP-weakness for some time now. That’s why Google purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Google wisely opened the platform to mobile-phone makers and developers. Today, Android is activating nearly one million phones per day worldwide. Last quarter Samsung sold twice as many units — many running Android — as Apple. There’s just one problem, as nine jurors in Apple’s home jurisdiction of Silicon Valley concluded on Friday. Samsung violated Apple’s intellectual property. In plain English, the jury found that Samsung stole Apple’s smartphone designs. That’s a major problem. “In a few years, the San Jose jury verdict may — I repeat, MAY — be remembered as the tipping point that sent Android on a downward spiral,” tweeted patent expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. (Mueller is a consultant to two Google rivals, Microsoft and Oracle.) Beyond the consequences for techgiants like Apple and Google, this case says a lot about the terrible state of the current U.S. patent law regime — a system many observers feel is woefully broken. In addition to this billion-dollar case, all the major tech giants are engaged in litigation and counterlitigation in dozens of jurisdictions worldwide. There’s an arms race gripping the tech world right now. The weapons of choice are patents. Generally speaking, there are two schools of thought coming out of this verdict. This first is that Apple’s decisive victory means that its competitors — ie. Samsung, HTC, and Google-owned Motorola — will have to redouble their efforts at innovation now that a jury has told them to stop ripping off Apple’s designs. In other words, the decision will benefit consumers by fostering a diversity
of designs and products in the smartphone market. The second school of thought is that Apple is big-footing its way around the U.S. IP system, obsessively patenting hundreds, if not thousands, of ticky-tack features like a square with rounded edges, or the flick-of-a-finger on a touch-screen. In this view, the current U.S. IP system — in which the big winners always seem to be high-priced IP lawyers and tech firms with deep pockets — is stifling innovation, because it allows one powerful company, Apple, to essentially have a monopoly on basic mobile smartphone features. Like a square with rounded edges. The truth is that the US intellectual property regime is in desperate need of reform. Inventors should be protected — otherwise what’s the incentive to create anything? On the other hand, there is general agreement inside the tech community that the current method of adjudicating patent disputes is badly broken. “The patent system is in crisis, and it endangers the future of software development in the United States,” according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a West Coast digital rights group that’s been at the forefront of patent reform advocacy. EFF is not proposing that we eliminate patents altogether, obviously, but the group is calling for a smarter, more streamlined approach. But with so many powerful forces interested in maintaining the status quo — from patent-rich companies like Apple to the legal community — it’s unlikely that reform will happen anytime soon, and certainly not during an election year. — SAM GUSTIN, TIME.COM
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
The Galaxy Note II
amsung has not had an easy month, with a federal court jury finding it guilty of willful patent infringement against Apple, but the electronics manufacturer is continuing with business as usual. It's moving on to bigger things literally. 29th Aug in Berlin at the IFA technology trade show, Samsung announced its newest Android smartphone: the Galaxy Note 2. The Android 4.1-powered Galaxy Note 2 is the successor to Samsung's original Galaxy Note, which was introduced close to a year ago. Except this time the phone if you can even call it that is bigger and thinner. While it is hard to believe that the phone or phablet (a portmanteau of the words phone and tablet) could get any bigger, the 5.3-inch screen has been taken up a few notches to 5.5 inches. It is closer in size to a 7-inch tablet than the iPhone, which currently has a 3.5-inch screen. The device is all screens, and it's a nice screen at that: it has Samsung's 1280 x 720-resoltuion, Super AMOLED panel. But there's an accessory that goes along with that screen that pops out of the edge of the device a stylus called the S Pen. The pen, which comes with all the other Galaxy Note devices like the Galaxy Note 10.1, uses special touch technology from Wacom to be more precise than styluses for the iPad or iPhone. Samsung has improved the software to go along with the S Pen too. You can now hover over an email with the pen and see the first sentence of the message, Air View lets you preview content by hovering the stylus over icons. For example, you could hold the S Pen over a day on a calendar, and a preview window of that day’s appointments will appear, customize what app pops up when you start writing on the screen, and still use Samsung's S Note, a combo note-taking and sketching application. There’s also Quick Command: Just sweep the S Pen up and a blank square pops up where you can write customized commands that will instantly do things such as send an email to a specific person. Popup Note is a kind of multitasking ability, letting you call up a note from the S Note app as a pop-up window on the screen. This could come in handy when you get a phone call and need to write something down quickly. There’s Easy Clip, a way to quickly outline and crop certain kinds of content on the screen. With the S Pen’s button, it intelligently figures out what you want to clip, then you can paste it into other content. And if you're worried you'd lose the pen, Samsung's come up with a solution for that. The phone will alert you with an alarm sound if the pen has been left behind somewhere. Beyond the stylus, Samsung has made some improvements to its Android 4.1 operating system, nicknamed Jelly Bean. As with the Galaxy Note 10.1 and the Galaxy S3, you can look at two apps side by side, and you can now resize the
box which houses one of the apps. Samsung also has its AllShare Play and S Beam features for easily sharing photos, music, and videos among different devices. S Beam uses NFC (Near Field Communications) so you can tap two Samsung Android devices together and transfer large files. The Galaxy Note II will be available in 16, 32 and 64GB configurations, all enhanceable via a microSD card. Like the Galaxy S 3 phone, which was released in June, the Galaxy Note 2 has a quad-core processor, a 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera and an 8-megapixel camera on its back. The Galaxy Note 2 will be available in white or gray, and it’ll debut October in Europe, Asia and the Middle East; Samsung is not releasing pricing or carrier information for the Galaxy Note 2 yet.
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
Samsung’s Smart TV
BY JaYa Thakrar
SAMSUNG’S 2012 top-of-the-line plasmas and LED HDTVs offer new features never before available within a television including a built-in, internally wired HD camera, twin microphones, face tracking and speech recognition. While Web cameras and Internet connectivity are not new to HDTVs, their complete integration is, and it’s the always connected camera and microphones, combined with the option of third-party apps (not to mention Samsung’s own software). Samsung demoed these features to the press earlier this month. The camera and microphones are built into the top if the screen bezel in the 2012 8000-series plasmas and are permanently attached to the top of the 7500- and 8000ES-series LED TVs. A Samsung representative showed how once set up and connected to the Internet, these models will automatically talk to the Samsung cloud and enable viewers to use new and exciting apps. The Samsung’s Smart TVs, including the ES8000, is built to be reasonably future-proof. The unit has an in-built ‘Evolution Kit’ that allows you to upgrade your TV software to match up to new releases by the company in the future. The DIY upgrades are also simple with a small slot located in the rear panel of the TV. The proprietary technology – a systemon-chip – is currently one of its kind in the television space. We love the fact that Samsung has given some thought into future-proofing the television. Spending a large sum of money on something that might become redundant two-three years down the lines would be a major letdown. Samsung Smart TV epitomizes the importance of good-looking & well-built technology. The Samsung ES8000 in a nutshell shares the company’s ‘One Design’ philosophy that was integrated in some of its displays last year.
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COVER STORY COVER STORY
In many parts of the world, more people have access to a mobile device than to a toilet or running water; for millions, this is the first phone they’ve ever had. Mobile phones are affecting our lives in a way many probably never anticipated. In this issue, we take a close look at this phenomenon.
Mobile Phones & Our Lives
Model: Ms. Eunice N. Gnay, Program Manager, Text2Change (www.text2change.org)
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Just as remarkable as the power of mobility, over everything from love to learning to global development, is how fast it all happened. It is hard to think of any tool, any instrument, any object in history with which so many developed so close a relationship so quickly as we have with our phones. Not the knife or match, the pen or page. only money comes close — always at hand, don’t leave home without it. but most of us don’t take a wallet to bed with us, don’t reach for it and check it every few minutes, and however useful money is in pursuit of fame, romance, revolution, it is inert compared with a smart phone—which can replace your wallet now anyway.
phone they’ve ever had. In the West, close to 9 in 10 adults carry a mobile, leaving its marks on body, mind, spirit. There’s a smart-phone gait: the slow sidewalk weave that comes from being lost in conversation rather than looking where you’re going. Thumbs are stronger, attention shorter, temptation everywhere: we can always be, mentally, digitally, someplace other than where we are.
here’s how the mobIle techNology Is chaNgINg the way we lIve.
“Easier Texted than Said”: The Problem with Text Messaging
hatever people thought the first time they held a portable phone the size of a shoe in their hands, it was nothing like where we are now, accustomed to having all knowledge at our fingertips. A typical smart phone has more computing power than Apollo 11 when it landed a man on the moon. In many parts of the world, more people have access to a mobile device than to a toilet or running water; for millions, this is the first
ou do not want to talk to me on the phone. How do I know? Because I don’t want to talk to you on the phone. Nothing personal, I just can’t stand the thing. I find it intrusive and somehow presumptuous. It sounds off insolently whenever it chooses and expects me to drop whatever I’m doing and, well, engage. With others! When I absolutely must, I take the call, but I don’t do a very good job of concealing my displeasure. A close friend once offered his opinion that I exhibit the phone manners of a goat, then promptly
withdrew the charge — out of fairness to goats. So it was with profound relief that I embraced the arrival of e-mail and, later, texting. They meant a conversation I could control — utterly. I get to say exactly what I want exactly when I want to say it. It consumes no more time than I want it to and, to a much greater degree than is possible with a phone call, I get to decide if it takes place at all. That might make me misanthropic. It surely makes me a crank. But it doesn’t make me unusual. The telephone call is a dying institution. The number of text messages sent monthly in the U.S. exploded from 14 billion in 2000 to 188 billion in 2010, according to a Pew Institute survey, and the trend shows no signs of abating. Not all of that growth has come out of the hide of old-fashioned phoning, but it is clearly taking a bite — particularly among the young. Americans ages 18-29 send and receive an average of nearly 88 text messages per day, compared to 17 phone calls. The numbers change as we get older, with the overall frequency of all communication declining, but even in the 65 and over group, daily texting still edges calling 4.7 to 3.8. In the
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TIME mobility poll, 32% of all respondents said they’d rather communicate by text than phone, even with people they know very well. This is truer still in the workplace, where communication is between colleagues who are often not friends at all. “No more trying to find time to call and chit-chat,” is how one poll respondent described the business appeal of texting over talking. The problem, of course, is what’s lost when that chit-chat goes. Developmental psychologists studying the impact of texting worry especially about young people, not just because kids are such promiscuous users of the technology, but because their interpersonal skills — such as they are — have not yet fully formed. Most adults were fixed social quantities when they first got their hands on a text-capable mobile device, and while their ability to have a face-to-face conversation may have eroded in recent years, it’s pretty well locked in. Not so with teens. As TIME has reported previously, MIT psychologist Sherry Turkle is one of the leading researchers looking into the effects of texting on interpersonal development. Turkle believes that having a conversation with another person teaches kids to, in effect, have a conversation with themselves — to think and reason and self-reflect. “That particular
skill is a bedrock of development,” she told me. Turkle cites the texted apology — or what she calls “saying ‘I’m sorry’ and hitting send” — as a vivid example of what’s lost when we type instead of speak. “A full-scale apology means I know I’ve hurt you, I get to see that in your eyes,” she says. “You get to see that I’m uncomfortable, and with that, the compassion response kicks in. There are many steps and they’re all bypassed when we text.” When the apology takes place over the phone rather than in person, the visual cues are lost, of course, but the voice — and the sense of hurt and contrition it can convey — is preserved. Part of the appeal of texting in these situations is that it’s less painful — but the pain is the point. “The complexity and messiness of human communication gets shortchanged,” Turkle says. “Those things are what lead to better relationships.” Habitual texters may not only cheat their existing relationships, they can also limit their ability to form future ones since they don’t get to practice the art of interpreting nonverbal visual cues. There’s a reason it’s so easy to lie to small kids (“Santa really, truly did bring those presents”) and that’s because they’re functional illiterates when it comes to reading inflection and facial expressions. As with real reading, the ability to comprehend subtlety
and complexity comes only with time and a lot of experience. If you don’t adequately acquire those skills, moving out into the real world of real people can actually become quite scary. “I talk to kids and they describe their fear of conversation,” says Turkle. “An 18-year-old I interviewed recently said, ‘Someday, but certainly not now, I want to learn to have a conversation.’” Adults are much less likely to be so conversation-phobic, but they do become conversation-avoidant — mostly because it’s easier. Texting an obligatory birthday greeting means you don’t have to fake an enthusiasm you’re not really feeling. Texting a friend to see what time a party starts means you don’t also have to ask “How are you?” and, worse, get an answer. The text message is clearly here to stay and even the most zealous phone partisans don’t recommend avoiding it entirely. But mix it up some — maybe even throw in a little Skyping or Facetime so that when you finally do make a call you’re actually seeing and interacting with another person. Too much texting, Turkle warns, amounts to a life of “hiding in plain sight.” And the thing about hiding is, it keeps you entirely alone.
Bloggers Ruth Aine, Albert Mucunguzi, Evelyn Namara and Collins Mugume at a certain event last year. Young people are increasinly growing closer to their phones and the people around them. Photo by Boaz Shani (UGO)
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trackINg DIsease, oNe text at a tIme
ccurate bookkeeping is on nobody’s list of heroic acts.
But without it, some revolutions are impossible, including the overhaul of a nation’s health care infrastructure. And Uganda’s health care system needs quite an overhaul. There aren’t enough doctors, just 131 hospitals serve nearly 36 million people, and children are dying of treatable diseases, especially malaria, which accounts for up to 40% of medical visits and almost a quarter of deaths among kids under 5.
The Ugandan Ministry of Health and various NGOs have tried to address the issue with smaller clinics and volunteer village health team workers, some of whom dispense drugs. Malaria can be held at bay with artemisininbased combination therapies (ACTs). But too often, Ugandans who turn up at local clinics cannot get them. There isn’t a shortage of medicine, but supply lines to the clinics have gotten snarled or the drugs have been diverted to private clinics. Without accounting, it’s impossible to untangle the knot. While Uganda may not have enough hospitals, it’s well served by cellular carriers. A third of Ugandans have mobile phones, which are widely shared. They’re not smart phones — the only app most of these $7 handsets offer is a flashlight — but they can send texts. For all the apps and gee-whiz features of phones, their ultimate transformative power is the ability of one person, no matter where he or she is, to communicate with another. In developing nations, the simple text message represents a quantum leap in connectivity. In a new initiative called mTrac, supported by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, health workers using these phones to text details of drug supplies and disease outbreaks that they had previously put on paper. This information is amassed and coded into a kind of online dashboard so that public-health officials can see in real time what’s going on. “It’s easy to track who has a lot of medicine and who has none and to move the stock from one clinic to the next,” says Nabukalu Hasipher, a records assistant at the Mpigi district health office. “Before, I had to call each and every one.” Of course, the texts are useless if they’re not accurate. And local health clinics aren’t eager to report gaps in service. So the system has an alternate stream of data: crowdsourcing. “It’s a toll-free SMS complaints hotline,” explains Sean Blaschke, who leads UNICEF’s healthinnovation work in Uganda. “Anyone who wants to report a problem about health care delivery can anonymously send information to a call center.” These complaints are collated,
while uganda may not have enough hospitals, it’s well served by cellular carriers. a third of ugandans have mobile phones, which are widely shared.
checked out and added to the region’s dashboard. And finally, UNICEF has recruited about 140,000 members to a kind of SMS social-networking group called U-report. Communicating entirely by text, U-reporters, who join the group much as people join Facebook, send and receive information about development issues, including health. These texts can be targeted; mothers can be alerted to free vaccinations in their area, for example. One of the tripartite system’s key strengths is that for an innovation so digital, it’s actually low tech. This means the ongoing
Q&A: Eunice Namirembe
What’s your reaction to the view that mobile phones can actually change the future of a country in terms of health care?
Mobile phones actually present vast opportunities for health care. I am glad that more especially mHealth has presented tools that can improve the delivery of health care to communities even those that are hard to reach around Africa. To the simple use of SMS, voice messages and to complex technology solutions using data applications and information systems, these are all being explored in health care delivery. More and more projects across Africa are working towards exploring the use of mobile technology in their programmes which presents even more opportunities. Let us look at mobile phones as another channel or media to reach masses on health. And we must keep in mind that phones will not represent a doctor but will just act as a tool to deliver health care. Am sure it will be interesting to see how mhealth develops over the next few year.
When we talk about health care, most people think in terms of the facilities and the drugs. Just how important are the phones?
Not only can phones be used for drugs and facilities but more importantly for health behavioural change. A simple reminder via SMS to take medicines at the right time could improve adherence and encourage patients. A voice message to share awareness information can also boost health education . More innovative ways have also been explored in conducting health data collection and research using a mobile phone. I can say SMS, Voice and Data will still continue to play a big role in improving health care delivery in Africa.
Do you have any cases?
I am proud that my work at Text to Change has presented me with the opportunities to develop programmes in the area of mhealth around Africa. From cases like using mobile for reproductive health, HIV/AIDS awareness messages, TB medicine Adherence, Health data collection have been developed over the years. SMS based mobile encyclopaedias have also been developed to share information and have seen thousands of people taking part in retrieving this information on reproductive health.
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cost of mTrac to the Ugandan Ministry of Health appears to be negligible. The U.K.’s Department for International Development provided the initial capital, including money for building the software, training workers and setting up the Internet, but the workers use their own phones. UNICEF estimates the Health Ministry’s outlay to be about $14 per district per month. If the costs are slight, the value isn’t. In January, the health team in the Kotido district noticed an uptick in reported cases of pneumonia. Upon investigation, it found that a village health team worker was misdiagnosing the disease and that patients were being treated with unnecessary and costly antibiotics. The mistake was spotted and fixed within weeks. (The worker was retrained.) The community hotline was also engaged after the Ebola outbreak in Kibaale in July killed 17 people, mostly disproving reports of further cases and limiting public hysteria. The mTrac program is under way in clinics in 57 of Uganda’s 113 districts; the other 56 should be added this year. Initially, about 8,000 village health team workers are being trained. Some texters, says Blaschke, can send in their reports in five minutes. Others have never used cell phones for anything except pressing the green button to make a call. The further uses to which this method of data collection and bookkeeping can be put are myriad; Blaschke hopes to track and treat a multitude of problems. “In the past, in order for UNICEF to know, for example, how many water boreholes were working, we’d have to spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars sending a team out for months to do surveys,” he says. “We could now do that in 24 hours for a hundredth of the price — and involve community members in the process and better represent their needs.” mTrac is certainly not a cure-all; having the details of a problem at your fingertips is by no means the same as having a solution. The Ministry of Health has 1,000 reports coming in weekly and sometimes struggles to respond.
And the ability to reach public officials — who have gone on TV and radio to address the concerns raised on U-report — has changed expectations among people who formerly felt they had no voice. “In a way,” says Blaschke, “it’s remaking the social contract between government and its citizens.” Which sounds quite a lot like a revolution.
THE PHONES THEY USE: Maureen Agena
gaDgets IN eDucatIoN
Instead of banning kids’ phones, some schools are starting to embrace them. Recently, there was a debate on Twitter about the future of education services in the light of advancement of technology. Such debates a joy to watch from the sidelines, especially if, among the tweets are people representing a cross-section of age-groups. Even though mobile phones are still crucially banned for high school students in most African schools, international schools are leading the way in beginning to embrace them. This is, predictably, in sharp contrast to students, say in the US where about 80% of the students have a cell phone by eighth grade. And yet a few pioneering administrators are considering a new approach called BYOT – bring your own technology. BYOT offers an elegant solution to an old problem. Instead of outlawing kids’ devices, BYOT policies allow kids to take their phones or tablets to class and use them not just to Instagram stupid photos from weekend hangouts, but also to engage with one another in classroom lessons. The winner of last month’s Orange Community Innovations Awards in Uganda is an Android-based quiz-style game that is built to aid students’ revision with “the element of fun”. Surely, the developers of this app believe that students, in general, either have or are going to have access to Android phones. And since Orange has trusted them with UGX. 10million (about $4000), it shows they actually
maureen agena is a New media enthusiast, trainer, youth activist and a trained citizen Journalist. she was recipient of canadian commonwealth scholarship and an arDyIs 2010 eastafrican award winner and is passionate about Ict4D, mobile technology and gender issues in technology.
What phone do you use?
I use 3 different phones; a samsung galaxy s2, an htc or a my blackberry 8900. but currently, it’s the galaxy s2.
Is it your favorite phone, or are you already drooling about it’s possible successor?
the galaxy s2 is so far my favorite. with technology, it feels good to always keep up with the trends. so am exploring ways of laying my hands on an s3:)
What app(s) do you use most?
tweetdeck comes onto of the list. I use whatsapp, viber, Navigator, mini diary, skype and facebook mostly.
How much has your life changed, if at all, from the you acquired your first smartphone?
It totally changed my way of communicating and how fast I could get information about several global issues. I use text, voice and video on my phone. I navigate new places, I communicate in real time with my friends as far as china. It just made life better for me.
Do you have some peers that hate your phone habits?
ofcourse. my friends say that I am addicted to my phone and they joke that I might tweet my vows on my wedding day. but yes, whenever I am with them, they have always complained that I do not give them all the attention they deserve because I am always pressing my phone.
Ugandan Prime Minister poses with winners of Orange’s Community Innovations Awards. The students were awarded for developing innovating mobile-based solutions to community problems.
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believe them. So the issues we’re talking about are actually real. To many parents who use cell phones to juggle the obligations of work and family and Words with Friends, school bans on phones can seem ridiculous. Even a first-generation iPhone is more powerful than some computer labs’ ancient desktops. Putting a new laptop at every desk can cost hundreds of dollars per student, so tapping into the tech that kids already have seems line a no-brainer. Why can’t schools turn those devices into learning tools? Companies like Avaya and HP as well as , many smaller players are rushing to develop in-classroom apps for mobile devices. One idea that a teacher presenting a maths problem can ensure that every student has responded and then compare the answers. It’s not as convuted as it sounds. At many colleges, professors are using clickers – remote-control-like devices that let students answer questions from their seats – to gather real-time information about whether students are comprehending lectures.
DecIDINg the rIght age
How young is too young for a cell phone? There really is no “right” age to allow our kids to dip a toe into the digital pond, but if we pay attention to the issues, we’ll be able to decide what makes sense for our kids without getting in the way of a process that will occur whether we like it or not. At the same time, there is no rush. We can keep the pace
reasonable and developmentally appropriate and allow our kids to use technologies that make sense without granting them access to technologies that don’t make sense for their age. The majority of parents in a recent survey find that age 16 is about the right time for kids to have a smartphone. Standard cell phones are OK at a younger age; that makes sense as households dump landlines and kids are talking more to friends.
A quick survey in Uganda – and East Africa indicates most students in urban centres (schools) get their first phones in S. 4 vacation (usually about 16years old). Of course they leave them at home since most of their schools won’t let them carry them along.
Information from TIME.COM was used in this article
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Why tablets could potentially change education in Africa
BY DaVID OkWII
usage cases and form factor. Microsoft has been experimenting with these devices for years in the past, but it wasn’t until apple launched the iPad back in 2010 that anybody would make sense of these devices. WHY TABLETS Tablets given the infrastructural stand point in Africa and in Uganda in particular naturally fit as medium through which digital educational content can costeffectively and rapidly be delivered to [remote] class rooms or students. Tablets unlike [desktop] computers, or laptops are portable mobile devices that run off a charged battery. In Uganda where grid power is still a remote dream in most parts of the country, it becomes obvious to me that a device that runs off-grid stands chances of being viable. Tablets will build on the success that mobile phones have enjoyed for these same reasons. Secondly, now that tablets could easily be powered, they come with significant memory capacities that could accommodate offline an entire basic library. With say 16GB of in-built memory, a student could be equipped with an entire curriculum, a few
believe education is key in the development of Africa. Many governments across the continent are taking this issue serious with the Ugandan government providing free primary and secondary education. Even though critics my argue against the fruits of these initiatives so far given the effectiveness of these schemes, I personally think it’s a positive step in the right direction and we can do more(the crux of this post). Tablets… a device that very few Africans know, used or perhaps heard about potentially changing the face of education? You must be joking. But hang on. THE BASICS A tablet is an electronic device that you can think of as an in-between smart phones and laptop computers device in terms of computational capabilities,
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government-sponsored free eBooks, one or two commercial eBooks, 20+ educational apps and other learning tools. Wikipedia the famous encyclopedia I respect so much already provides a striped-down offline version of Wikipedia in a DVD format for students which is only about 4GB. This content can be reformatted for the tablet platforms and freely available to millions of students. Thirdly tablets also come with 3G connectivity. Each telecom is now rolling out an all-out 3G cellular network across the country. What does this mean? This means that teachers can easily “push” home work to students in an instant. Government can also remotely sent eText books or eBooks to schools or students in an instant because of the low cost of distribution. Corruption or theft of such resources by dubious head teachers is significantly reduced if not eliminated. Students can also learn from each other via some sort of peer-to-peer learning. This could be very beneficial for rural students who often get less quality education and therefore can’t favorably compete with their fellow urban counterparts or even other students from all over the world. Technology can narrow this gap significantly and also reduce the tendency of rural-urban migration since one of its causes -- search for quality education-- will be significantly curtailed. Suddenly, we shall have kids that grow up, study and later develop their home areas. Fourthly, tablets won’t only encourage
cost these fancy devices given the income levels in Africa especially rural Africa. While the current market prices for the cheapest tablet ($199) I would say they aren’t affordable yet (even for those in the developed world), with mass adoption, competition and technological advances, cost is bound to be trivial. That was the case with mobile phones 5 -10 years ago, but now, am sure there are more phones than light bulbs in Uganda. The phone is unbelievably a house hold item even in rural Africa. Teachers too, need to be educated in these technologies before they can use them. The learning curve, however, shouldn’t be much of an issue, because anyone who can use a phone (which is all teachers and some students), can mostly likely get their way around a tablet.
Some pupils already use tablet computers for educational purposes
content consumption (reading) as is the case with books, but also content creation. I believe with these devices, students will not be able to read their class notes, but also create their own notes, share and answer their classmates’ questions with the right tools. This will be a new paradigm to learning where students are not just fed at school by their teachers, but also challenge and create knowledge. THE CHALLENGES Skeptics will be quick to point out to me the
My major concern, however, would be the government/school policy on technology in schools. I studied in one of the top secondary schools in Uganda, all of which were Techaverse. No radios were allowed and being found with a phone was tantamount to expulsion supposedly because they were a cause of distraction, misbehavior and perhaps crime. With these stringent measures in place, it leaves me wondering the possibility technology ever making in-roads to Ugandan schools. Policy makers must adjust to the times, grab the opportunity otherwise other countries will remain to been glimpsed lightyears away from Africa.
UGO Now 3rd Most Popular Website in Uganda
ganda’s “first of its kind” web portal, UGO (www.ugo.co.ug) celebrated its first anniversary last month with a milestone third place in local (Ugandan) traffic rankings. According to Amazon’s Alexa.com, UGO comes just behind Daily Monitor and New Vision as the country’s most popular websites according to national traffic. As for last month, UGO registered 17,236 unique visits with over 311,085 pageviews, representing a 100% increment from the preceding month. That, by African standards is very remarkable. “We are all about putting Uganda online, and the numbers show that this is beginning to happen,” CEO Boaz Shani told PC Tech Magazine. “We have made it easy for both residents and the international community to get to access to information about Uganda, in Uganda, for Uganda, hence promoting Uganda and its online products and services,” he said. UGO continues to grow as it provides access to latest local and international news, online local radios, business updates, forex, commodity prices and sports, including live scores among other categories of content. UGO runs a fast-growing online business directory that seeks to create a mirror of what Uganda is like online. Listings on the UGO
directory are free of charge. The company’s Social Media strategy has seen the portal’s Facebook page grow to over 11,000 Likes, putting it in the class of 10k Likes with a few other brands, including MTN Uganda.
UGO has embarked on a program to conduct social media trainings among various organizations in the country. Trainings cut across a range of modules, from how to get started, to using social media as a marketing tool and as a way to reach global audience for business and social purposes.
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Someone broke into our offices a few days ago. They went through a lot of trouble to gain access to the hard-drives in our PCs. I bet they hardn’t considered that sensitive information these days isn’t stored locally. So, are you fed up with losing backup DVDs? Tired of syncing PCs with a USB drive? Then read on.
BACKING UP IMPORTANT files or your entire disk is a task that no-one relishes, and few people enjoy synchronising files among their many PCs with a notepad and USB drive. Wouldn’t it be great if there were online tools to assist you? Luckily, there are, and very few of them are absolutely terrible. This month, we’ve reviewed eight online backup services and four synchronization services that take the stress and strife out of backing up and synchronising your most important files so that you can easily recover and access them. Some of the services are free and some charge you for specific storage sizes, but all of them are worth a look. NO WORRIES We all know that backing up is essential, but how many of us actually do it? It seems there’s always something more pressing or interesting to do. Thankfully, online backup services can put an end to the worry of losing all those precious files. Managing a local backup routine can be a chore that often gets postponed, but online backup is usually a setand-forget affair. It’s also more secure than local backup. Data is taken off-site, which means you’ll be able to recover it in the event of fire, flood or theft, and now that SIZING UP YOUR OPTIONS
broadband is so fast and cheap, it’s realistic to back up all your data online. You can also use synchronisation services to make sure the work you want to take home gets there long before you do, letting you access your data wherever you are. Plenty of companies promise fast and secure online backups and synchronisation, but what do you need to know when choosing a service?
Obviously, you need to know how much storage you get for your money. This can vary widely, with some providers offering just 20GB of space, while other, similarly priced services provide hundreds of gigabytes or even unlimited storage. However, some companies that offer unlimited storage impose other limits on the amount of data you upload. They might not support external drives or certain file types, for example. Services with fixed-capacity allowances tend to be more relaxed about how you use them, and let you use multiple computers for a single account. Most users have only a couple of gigabytes of important personal files, but you’ll need more space if you want to back up lots of photos, videos or audio files. Often, the limiting factor isn’t how much space you have available
by albert mucuNguZI
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will send DVDs or USB drives to you when you need to restore, and Carbonite will do the same at an additional cost. This could prove critical if you need to restore more data than your broadband service’s monthly download allowance will allow, or you simply wish to carry out a full restore without delay. Most services offer throttling, which involves deliberately slowing uploads and downloads to minimise the impact of backups on your other broadband activities. Most let you pause a backup, too. If you have multiple PCs, choose a service that doesn’t restrict you to backups from only one computer. THAT SYNCING FEELING As well as online backups, we’ve also looked at synchronisation services. There’s some blurring of boundaries, however. Some online backup providers, such as Memset’s SquirrelSave, let you back up data from multiple PCs, while a few synchronization services also have basic backup functions. However, if a service’s key feature is to synchronise data between two or more PCs, we’ve classed it as a synchronisation service. Most synchronisation and backup services will retain old or deleted versions of files. Version retention can be a lifesaver if you’ve accidentally deleted or mangled a section in an important document, whether it’s your financial records or the first draft of your novel. Some services keep only a few versions, such as the last five saved copies. However, as most of us are in the habit of saving frequently, this might not be enough before you notice your
often, the limiting factor isn’t how much space you have available to you online, but the length of time it takes to upload your data.
mistake. A few services, including SquirrelSave, Dropbox Pro 50 and SOS Online Backup, can provide version storage over an unlimited period, which is worth having if you need extra peace of mind. Our table tells you how long each service retains deleted copies, and how it handles version retention. SHARE AND SHARE ALIKE Online backup and file-sharing services are closely related, and many of the companies reviewed here provide both in one convenient package. The most limited only let you email links to individual files; others provide a full multimedia browser that lets you not only share entire directories but also incorporate photo galleries or a streaming facility for your audio and video files. Many services also let you access and even upload files directly from your mobile phone or tablet. Our table lists those services that provide online or mobile access to your backups, and you can find more details in the individual reviews. A backup service is no use if you can’t be sure it’s copying new versions of your files as they change. It’s handy if the service you choose provides some form of logging or can email you to confirm that your backup has completed successfully. Most services have some form of logging or email alert; see the table for details. FREE FOR ALL Online backup and synchronisation is a highly competitive market that includes dozens of companies, large and small. Because of this, and because of the need to impress prospective customers, many providers offer free as well as paid-for services. You’ll find them listed at the bottom of our table, along with the time-limited trials offered by other providers. You can get free versions of Mozy, iDrive, Dropbox and SugarSync, all of which are fully functional, while Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Google’s Drive are free in the first place. A number of services, including Dropbox, SugarSync and iDrive, even let you earn extra free storage space by referring other users to the service, up to a maximum of 16GB for Dropbox free accounts, 15GB for iDrive and 32GB for free SugarSync accounts. Previous free versions limited backup features, but we’ve found no such restrictions in the latest free software clients. There’s never been a better time to discover online backup services and develop a new backup and synchronisation regimen, especially when so many services are free and come with fully usable storage capacities.
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to you online, but the length of time it takes to upload data. TAKING THE BROAD VIEW Most home broadband connections have an upload speed of between 448Kbit/s and 1.5Mbit/s. It might take around 14 minutes to upload 30MB of data over a basic home ADSL connection, while a Virgin cable connection with an upload speed of 1Mbit/s can manage the same task in around seven minutes. At these speeds, 100GB would take 16 to 32 days of continuous uploads, and much longer if you wanted to switch your PC off at night or if your broadband supplier throttled the connection due to excessive use. There are no performance scores for individual services in this group test because it depends on the speed of your broadband connection, the time of day and various other contributing factors. If you have a lot of data to back up or restore at once, it may be worth choosing a company that lets you post a DVD or hard disk to them instead of shifting gigabytes of data over the internet. There’s an option built into SOS Online Backup’s client interface that makes it easy to burn a backup to DVD and post it to the service, which could be a real time-saver if you want to back up your home movie archive, for example. Its 50GB or 150GB capacity limit means you can’t get too carried away, though. Meanwhile, Mozy
ONLINE BACKUP SERVICES
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Simon is an enthusiastic Ugandan who describes himself as a Professional Communicator. As Director of Business Convergence at SMS Media, Simon is presently pursuing business strategy amid a fast-growing and highly dynamic sector. Having started out with SMS Media being simply a Content Provider over nine years ago, Simon now describes the Ugandan firm as a New Age Media Value Added Services Solutions Provider.
Simon is also Lead Analyst with Media Analyst Uganda, a Communications and Image Management Firm; and Secretary to the Governing Council of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda. He is particularly passionate about Corporate Governance, New Media technologies and the impact of Globalisation on his home country, Uganda. His blog is published every week on PC Tech Magazine website.
Start them young
FROM the moment I started typing stuff my future was secured. And I wasn’t satisfied having to do this on a typewriter because I knew about the computer, so I fought my way to using one whenever the opportunity presented itself. At University I remember having an argument with a colleague over the future of the typewriter and to this day I can recall the despair I felt in the pit of my stomach over how much he believed that owning a typewriter after university was an important objective. I had been luckier – having learnt how to type proficiently in my senior four vacation, and even that after years of playing with various machines thanks to my mother’s profession. By the time we began our first year course, I already owned a typewriter – an electronic one, at that. The university required us, however, to register and borrow typewriters from a basement troll who had obviously spent very many years at this job and treasured his charges. He released typewriters to us with the same vigour a serious orphanage sanctioned an adoption, and woe unto you if you caused any damage whatsoever to his precious machines. I tried not to borrow one, since I had my own, but some stupidity of bureaucracy had it that if I didn’t get my name registered as having taken a typewriter out then it would be believed that I had not taken enough of an interest in the course…and I would score an F or something. The university had no clue and probably didn’t care that I had already done a computer course – word processing of the early days type though – in my senior four vacation, after learning how to type asdf round jul;. I was so good, at my level, that I had been allowed into a newspaper office in senior six vacation to type out my own stories at a speed that had the senior journalists extremely worried about their own future at the paper. Better still, while the university issue typewriter decorated my drab room, I was spending time at a donor-funded project office doing data entry off a computer with a black screen and green lettering. A couple of my colleagues in that room were proper adults and couldn’t keep up, which forced me to step up and type up some of their stuff just so the project could end as soon as possible so we could get paid and I could go drinking. By that time, I had been typing out words, sentences, paragraphs and stories – not for publication – almost daily for about five years. Every time I got to my parents’ offices I was at the typewriter – and my mother’s office moreso because she had a sea of the machines, being a secretarial trainer. Long story short, by second year I was hanging out at the Infocom offices every Saturday making free, unfettered use of the internet and got to cover much more ground than the rest of the group (which included the girl who eventually became my wife) because I typed faster than they all did. And by then, I had already mastered a way of filing stories with the newspapers on a weekly basis without going through lots of white-out (that fluid or cream we used back then to correct typing errors), paper or time. I discovered quickly that editors liked a fellow who handed in clean copy within few minutes of having returned to the newsroom. My advantage lead over the rest was widened with the introduction of a small computer that sat neglected in one corner of the newsroom and was reportedly reserved for some ‘expert’. I wasn’t having any of that and made full use of the thing, much to the chagrin of many older folk. And I wasn’t alone in this. A couple of friends – Allen Mutono and Paul Busharizi – were in on the passion and acquired an old Macintosh that became our high value work plaything. When we first walked into the newsroom to simply “hand in” our stories instead of queuing up at typewriters to type them out, we were marveled at. The Editor on hand didn’t quite know what to do with us, but after a few seconds made mind up to go with the flow and voila! We were being published hassle-free. The story goes on to many lengths, but I know it all started with me being a young teenager encouraged to make use of the very best technologies available. That’s why my seven-year-old has an iMac, and my two-year old is given the iPad (not mine, of course, my wife’s) whenever she asks for it.
Follow your favourite blogger every week!
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Ansher is a journalist, writer and news anchor based in Uganda. Her focus areas are social media, mobile technology and media and society.
What if Nelson Mandela had Social Media?
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart. __ Nelson Mandela
I bet that he would be able to update all his statuses’ like this. Celebrating milestones with all his friends on Facebook. Birthdays, Start and end of relationships- all that we love to use Facebook for. ould our nations Father Nelson Mandela have spent 27 years in Prison if he had access to the same technology, social media platforms, instant sharing apps, and Global Monitoring tools like we do today?” That is the opening clause of the video made by Prezence Digital Production backed by Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory for his 94th Birthday today. I am a fan of Nelson Mandela’s Life Quotes; I managed to tweet a few of them today and I am sure that for everyone that can read and write; they are a well of wisdom. However that is not what I am writing about today. Would his Facebook profile have read like this ? I wonder. Instagram would help to take pictures. I guess that would give us more colour for then. Though I am sure I still prefer the no-colour for the early 60′s. The pictures look old. And I realise that everyday that goes by, we tend to want to identify with the olden days. There are a lot of black and white pictures these days.
What about Four Square? There would be an interesting record of places that he checked in to, and maybe became Mayor of. Robben Island? CapeTown?
Then we would all get to re-tweet Nelson Mandela after leaving Robben Island. I would have loved to be a part of those 26,000 people that get to re-tweet. Problem is , I would not have been born. I think that it would be a different ball game. I appreciate though the lots of Black & White that come with the pictures of Robben Island and the documentation of the struggles that South AFrica and Mandela went through. They are definitely rich. “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” ― Nelson Mandela This has so far been my favourite quote for today. It speaks volumes.
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Douglas Kasyaba Bugeiga
Experienced Telecommunications Engineer and IT Professional with a passion for business, tennis and automobiles!
BlackBerry: Hard to let go
IT IS April 2011, I meet a friend of mine and he immediately says “Wow, nice phone!” It is a BlackBerry curve. Fifteen months later, the same friend says to me with a sarcastic laugh, “You have a BlackBerry, ha-ha!” It is a BlackBerry torch 9860 (the one that is almost entirely touch screen!) Am a bit confused since this is an improvement from my last one. How did the BlackBerry suddenly become so un-cool? From a tool once held by the globes elite, to a tool you want to keep hidden in your pants unless you are hanging out with 50+ year old CEOs. Even the ordinary BlackBerry is not cheap, has a few and not so interesting apps, so why are we (BlackBerry users) not so happy writing an obituary for RIM? Maybe there is a sense of nostalgia. For most of us, the BlackBerry was perhaps the first fully fledged smart phone we ever held. I remember the first time I was able to receive corporate email (well, mostly jokes and funny pictures) on these devices on the go, at home and bars. It was thrilling typing away at the physical keyboard and using the shift button the same way one used that button on a computer. Unlike the touch screen virtual keyboard, I typed faster and with confidence knowing I was unlikely to make spelling mistakes in each word, people with fat fingers! For those that got BlackBerries from their employers, it was cool and fancy to have a circle of friends that you could ‘BBM’ or send messages by PIN. It was like being part of a military intelligence outfit, communicating via a secret protocol. And the BlackBerry always felt more ‘businessy’. Take a peek into any board room full of CEO’s , you will see them busy typing away on their Blackberries (unless of course they are Chinese, this lot sure does love their iPhone), sending important email. If there are a couple of them swiping away at their iPhones, I bet they are playing ‘Angry Birds’. Sure some BlackBerry users will sneak in a few moments to play ‘Angry Pigs’ but only when the meeting is extremely boring. From its inception BlackBerry became a darling for corporate companies, seeking a secure and centrally managed system to keep their employees at work even when out of office using the enterprise server. True, Android and iOS have managed to bring cool features for mail (remote wipe, encryption) onto the menu but they still need some work to make it suitable for corporate IT requirements (like central management). And for the users, BlackBerry being a service that is managed by your service provider, you always have someone to blame. It gives me relief to know that if suddenly my email stops working, I can always walk into the customer service center, claim to be losing millions of money and demand to see the manager (even though all am really waiting for is people to comment on my latest Facebook update “Just got out of bed”). And the unlimited internet, what would I do without this? (Lucky for my service provider, I still won’t find a torrent client for my Blackberry) Like a 20 year old Swiss wrist watch or a classic automobile, forget the fancy features or close to a million apps to play with but the eccentric lot that BlackBerry users are, we are not in hurry to get rid of it. And if (or when) RIM finally goes down, I will probably hang mine in my private museum (some box with things that were once dear to me) and I will miss it.
RIM begs devs: Build for BlackBerry 10, we’ll bung you $10K
In other news, developers who get BlackBerry 10 apps in quick will get their income bumped up to $10,000 if they make more than $1,000, as RIM gets in the drinks at the last chance salon. The “10K Developer Commitment” kicks in this autumn, and applies to applications submitted before BlackBerry World which will be early next year. Applications will have to generate more than $1K in revenue, including in-app purchases, but if they make less than $10K then RIM will make up the difference. Unsurprisingly there are a few caveats: only one payout per development house (though multiple apps may be submitted), at least 100 unique downloads, apps have to run through the (free) “Built for Blackberry” approval process, and RIM will likely reserve the right to kick out those it thinks are gaming the system (the full Ts&Cs aren’t up yet), but in general the scheme seems remarkably sensible. RIM is painting the deal as a demonstration of confidence in its own platform, but it is of course a reflection of the general lack of confidence in the future of RIM. Developers don’t want to commit to a platform which might not have a future, but without those developers it certainly won’t. If BlackBerry 10 does fail then RIM could end up with a considerable bill to pay, but if ‘10 fails then the company will be nothing but a pile of patents and a BBM server so there’s little point in holding back at this point... $10K might encourage some developers to support a fourth ecosystem, giving BlackBerry 10 enough time to at least make a fight of it.
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We believe in giving back to the local communities in which we operates. As a member of local communities, we are committed to charitable efforts and we make positive contributions to the charity, education, disaster relief and environmental protection of local communities.
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Quality of Services
QN: What is your comment about the deteriorating quality of services by telecommunication companies in Uganda today? AN: Well I am one of the complainers, because I have been a victim and I have discussed it with the minister and the head of UCC as well. We have discussed it with NITA. So it’s a matter that I expect the relevant government offices to be working on because it has reached unacceptable levels - as far as am concerned. There are a few things we have lined up because you see our capacity is the issue. So we have been looking at our capacity even to know what is happening and we are now building capacity to reach a level where we can really take control. QN: Is there a deadline you’ve given the various players [in the telecoms sector]? AN: I don’t have a time frame in mind, but I have made it very clear that this must be sooner than later, as soon as our resources permit. We are all conscious of the problem. By the way we know what the answers are and together even with the private sector, we are determined to work on it to find a solution, together with the service providers as well. QN: Looking at the new budget, and introducing VAT on computers as well apportioning about 0.1% of the budget to the ICT sector, do you feel government is suppressing the sector?
in telecoms sector “has reached unacceptable Standards” — Prime Minister, Mbabazi
AN: No, I don’t think so because really it’s the problem of resources. I want you all to understand that. Because you see, when we study our budget we look at the things that we have to provide for the activities of government for the next one year and how we have allocated resources you will see that really we had very little alternative. You see there are some sectors which are cross cutting where we invest and investment benefits the entire economy. The obvious one is security. When we invest in security and we are secure then everything moves on. So there are certain things we had to do before we put some investments elsewhere and there are others where there is obvious need like the Ministry of Finance and we announce it as the president did in the state of nation address; and in the budget speech that the ministry of tourism is a political sector in terms of priority by this government. But when we look at the allocations then you think they have not allocated enough, that is true but this is because we need to work on the roads because we cannot have tourism unless we have access to the tourist areas, security because if you don’t have security the people cannot come
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anyway. So although in a way we are investing in something else like security we are still investing in tourism. So similarly, many of the areas we know as priority, ICT is obviously priority because this is the direction now. We do not have enough resources to allocate in that sector other than what we have allocated now. But our expectation is that as we move on, the resource envelope is going to grow and we will have more and more resources for things like ICT. QN: You are a very vibrant user of social media, Twitter and YouTube yet your office is not. Don’t you think the office needs to borrow a leaf from you? AN: [Laughs] We’re working on it. One of the reforms we are going to have is that the office of the Prime Minister must use modern methods to even perform some of the functions I mentioned like monitoring, supervision and things like that. We have been talking about a system of computerization, how are we going to deal with it? We are going to have some kind of organic integration. Using the systems and infrastructures but linking them up with a center somewhere, more like how call centers work so that we have a collection center where the information is gathered and is processed and where information originates from and using the most modern methods of communication. QN: As the office of the Prime Minister , are you taking the initiative? AN: Yes, and it will spread out to the rest of the government. QN: It appears, there is hardly anything about ICT on the office of the Prime Minister’s website. AN: We are still working on it. QN: Finally, which one of these many gadgets is your favorite? And why? AN: I have to tell you that I find the Samsung S3 very exciting because it has all the functionalities of an iPhone and those of a Blackberry, did you know that?
#AskThePM: Putting faces to the tweets
EVERY MONTH, the Prime Minister hosts a meeting in which he interacts with users of microblogging website, Twitter. The 2-hour meeting, called TweetUp, discusses topical issues as determined by Organizer, Alan Kasujja. Kasujja, a popular TV/Radio said the #AskThePM forum was initiated at the realization that there was a need for engagement between government officials and the people they serve. “It’s an opportunity for us hold our leaders accountable,” Kasujja said. Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi (@amamambabazi on Twitter) is one of the few government officials in Uganda utilizing Twitter to engage with the people, and has close to 6000 followers, making him the most followed official in the current government.
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Clicking the Next Leader
by rIcharD boateNg (phD), Joseph buDu & Isaac JacksoN
IN SEPTEMBER 2010, the students’ union of the University of Ghana organised an election to appoint a new executive committee. A system of electronic voting was used as for the election. This paper uses an exploratory case study method to gather data about and report the election process. Analysis is done on the system’s logistics, security and trust. It is observed that e-voting without the Internet could be very useful especially in a developing country context with generally low Internet penetration. It could be found from the paper that factors like the possibility of quickly delivering results underlie the choice to go electronic. The paper concludes with five recommendations for institutional adoption of e-voting. The recommendations outline that selecting contextually-appropriate applications, pilot testing, education of the electorate, strategic evaluation of electoral process and availability of supporting logistics are primary considerations for the effective adoption of e-voting in institutional contexts. Further, in a resource-poor context, a parallel implementation of old and new voting processes may be required until accuracy and efficiency are ensured in the e-voting process.
Exploring e-Voting for Student Union Elections
LECTRONIC VOTING TENDS TO BE ONE OF the potential ways of using information and communication technologies (ICTs) to promote democracy and the achievement of good governance. E-voting is generally the use of ‘connected’ computers for election purposes (Xenakis and Macintosh, 2008). The word “connected” here refers to a form of joining in close association using wired or wireless means, to (form) a relatively smaller network or more extensively, the Internet. E-voting entails the electronic means of casting the vote and the electronic means of counting the vote (Buchsbaum, 2004). Electronic voting machines can be employed as direct vote recording equipment at polling sites or stations. These electronic and automated technologies minimise the human element in the vote collection and tabulation process. On the other hand, ICTs also enable remote voting, which can be done through the Internet (internet voting) or by other remote communicating devices including mobiles and computers (Mason, 2004). This use of online or “connected” information gathering and retrieval technologies can expand the reach and range of the potential electorate. Exploring the possibility of implementing e-voting without the Internet especially in rural communities would be of great benefit in a DC context (Thakur and Boateng, 2011). However, Dunne (2007) notes that e-voting is quite new and is an emerging field which exists primarily within the field of public and private electoral administration. Arguably, most of the available literature on e-voting has explored e-voting in Europe (Drechsler and Madise, 2002); and the USA (Solop, 2001;
Buchsbaum, 2004 and Kai, 1999). For developing and emerging economies, the success of electronic elections in India and Brazil has stirred up the research into e-voting prospects in Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa (Stöbich, 2010; Thakur, 2011; Ndou, 2004; Ayo, 2006). This paper presents a case study which explores the use of e-voting in a students’ union election in a university in a developing country. E-voting opponents argue on citizens’ lack of trust in the security and reliability of the technology used (Buchsbaum, 2004). Citizens must have confidence in the system’s ability to perform accurately and reliably before entrusting their civic voice to it. Thus, understanding how to implement e-voting systems and ensure citizen acceptance is primary to leveraging e-voting benefits. The case study discusses the use of wireless networked computers as voting booths for an electoral process in a university in a developing country, Ghana. A previous study on e-voting in a university context explored internet voting for a students’ union election in Umea University in Sweden (Ohlin and Hallgren, 2002). Studies on e-voting on such a micro-scale in Africa are, perhaps, non-existent. This study attempts to draw lessons from e-voting implementation which may offer strategic considerations for future deployment of voting technologies in resource-poor contexts. The paper is structured into five sections, including the introduction. The second and third sections present the research methods used in the study and case study on e-voting. The fourth and fifth sections present the research discussion and conclusion. METHODS This research was conducted on the 2010 student
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association leaders’ election at the University of Ghana Business School. An exploratory case study approach was adopted since it strongly supports the research objective set out at the beginning (Yin 2003). Three data collection methods were applied – participant observation, interviews and artefact examination of the e-voting software. In-depth interviews were used to gather data from ten participants including the electoral commissioner and one electoral officer. Participant observations were carried out by interacting and observing 50 participants casting their vote. The researchers also had an opportunity to evaluate the e-voting software being used to coordinate the voting process. These data collection methods were chosen for their advantage of highest response
rates, and allowing researcher to observe the surroundings and the use of non-verbal communication and visual aids (Neuman, 1999). The focus of the study was to understand the drivers of e-voting in that setting and key lessons acquired in implementing the e-voting system. CASE STUDY BACkGROUND The University of Ghana Business School has an estimate of 3,000 members consisting of undergraduate and postgraduate students. Election of the executive committee of the students’ union is held in the first semester of
every academic year. This case study presents an account of the 2010 electoral process which was conducted electronically. VOTING This is normally preceded by a mock voting exercise held about two to three weeks to the main elections, to enable students become familiar with the system. A recent report on the GSMA shows that mobile subscribers across East Africa are highly taxed the world over. This has to be lowered to encourage mobile deployment in Africa. In order to encourage mLearning, the government needs to be creative with tax incentives that will encourage service providers to engage without incurring losses.
Presentation of Student ID card Crosschecking with official student list
Fingerprint capture Issue of voting chit/ ticket
• • • •
Voter log in Candidate selection Voter log out Drops voting chit
Computerized Incremental Vote
Verification with voting chits
Figure 1: Flowchart of Voting Process
Declaration of Results
Voters present their student identification card (ID) at an authorisation point where the student’s details are verified with an official students’ list. The forefinger print of each voter is captured, matched and stored with the
student’s ID. A ‘voting’ chit is then issued. The prospective voter proceeds to one of three computers (wirelessly connected to the computers and running the ‘booth’ side of the system at the
authorisation point) to cast a vote. The voter inputs the student ID number for access to electoral candidates’ list and executive positions which are up for voting. Figure 3: Screenshot of e-voting software used on computers at the voting booths A successful login displays the candidates’ list from which voter makes a choice for each of the five executive positions available for voting. After vote has been cast, the voting chit is put into a ballot box. TECHNOLOGY The system was implemented with seven laptops connected to each other via Wi-Fi with a password. The average specification was a dual-core Intel processor or its equivalent, 250 GB or more hard disk, 1 GB RAM running Windows XP/Vista/7. However, the voting application was acquired from a private software house, which also provided the fingerprint scanner. FINDINGS Issues that have been discussed relating to electronic elections have included turnout, privacy, security and practical/logistic problems
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Figure 2: Student voters presenting ID cards for verification and authorisation
(Ohlin and Hallgren, 2002). This case study lends to the discussion from a DC context while giving insight into implementing e-voting without the Internet. DRIVERS TO E-VOTING ADOPTION According to the Electoral Commissioner (hereinafter referred to as EC), one reason for choosing computer-based voting system was quicker vote casting. He said, “for paper balloting, five different ballot papers would have being issued (by five officers) to each student”. This system thus saves the time that would have been used to issue four other papers. Consequently, “Counting is faster, easier and less error-prone, speeding up results declaration. There’s also savings on cost of printing ballot papers, and indelible ink”. It is worth noting further “savings made on electoral officers’ remuneration”. The key drivers were cost, timeliness and efficiency/reduction of errors Acquisition, Training and Implementation The students’ union leased Election Pro, the election software from a private company Qui Systems (pseudonym) just for the election process. This was primarily because the previous administration used it and recommended the e-voting as a more costeffective approach to the union’s elections. In addition, a mock election had been organised to prepare for the actual day affording both electoral officers and electorate opportunity for acquaintance and to make suggestions towards successful implementation. LOGISTICS AND BACkUP During the period of observation, the system run smoothly and void of power outages or fluctuations. This situation could be what informed the EC’s assumption of continuous supply of electricity. Thus, the EC saw no need for backup power source (like a UPS or inverter). He intimated that: “There was less power problems at the Business School because of the reliable automatic power plant. The laptops (for authorisation and voting) also had their batteries tested and ‘passed’ to keep running on batteries. If there’s power outage, they could self-power till the school’s generator is started”. BROADER IMPACTS Asked about replication for national elections, the EC said, “It would be too ambitious because some level of general and computer literacy was needed to operate the system. Such a system would not help much in a nation with low literacy levels”. However, he recommended its replication in all academic environments, because of high literacy levels. This supports the call that so
long as e-voting is not universally available, it should run alongside and not replace traditional paper balloting. It should remain an optional and additional channel (Buchsbaum, 2004). Even in this case study, the student voters were required to drop a voting chit in a ballot box for auditing purposes if the need arose. The voting chit facilitated the count of the number of voters. DISCUSSION A careful analysis of the system described above shows only a partial fulfillment of Mason (2004)’s and Mitrou et al.’s (2003) ‘proper’ voting system requirements. Ensuring eligibility was achieved using the combination of the students’ list and the capturing of biometric data to prevent double-voting. Furthermore, the exercise being organized onsite at a designated polling station enabled the electoral candidates to provide representatives to observe the elections and thereby facilitating transparency. Notwithstanding e-voting’s ability to make voting cheaper and easier (Solop, 2001), secret balloting, a very critical requirement cannot be totally guaranteed in such a system. Leasing the software raises questions pertaining privacy and security of electoral data. Gritzalis (2002) posits that any new agent invited to the process of delivering a secure service should undergo some authentication to ensure accountability related to the design of e-voting systems, because its introduction creates new security risks for the process. Here, such a process would forestall possible software tweaks/hacks in favour of a particular candidate. Such concerns could cause the scrapping of an entire e-voting exercise (Mason, 2004; Xenakis and Macintosh, 2008). In this case, the recommendation from the previous executive committee concerning the e-voting software encouraged the current executive committee to adopt e-voting. However, questions on security were addressed through the mock voting exercise held about two to three weeks to the main elections, to enable students become familiar with the system and offer the opportunity to address questions and doubts. Trust in the voting system, bordering on transparency and honesty, is the basis of the elected representatives’ legitimacy (Mason, 2004). Thus information about a system should be easily accessible to avoid voter apathy and/ or boycott. CONCLUSIONS This case study provides insights on e-voting adoption in educational institutions in resource-poor contexts. It points out pertinent considerations relevant for the effective adoption of e-voting systems in resourcepoor contexts. First, contextually-appropriate technologies should be selected or adopted. Selecting the appropriate technologies vis-a-vis the degree of technological awareness or experience of the electoral commission and electorate, the complexity
of the electoral process and the financial readiness of the electoral commission and other relevant election governing bodies are primary. Second, the adoption process should begin with a pilot testing phase to test applicability of the e-voting application to the election process and also to obtain an initial education and feedback from the electorate. Third, adequate education of the electorate should be done to explicitly explain what the e-voting system does and does not do. This is important to clarify all misconceptions, expectations and concerns on security and privacy about the e-voting system. Fourth, the electoral commission need to be more strategic in considering why they need e-voting system and which functions are relevant to the current needs of the election process. Fifth, appropriate support logistics should be provided to ensure the smooth running of the e-voting system. In a resourcepoor context, provision of back-up power supply may be necessary. In this scenario, inverters and other voltage regulators may be considered. Lastly, though costly, it may be important to run the e-voting system alongside the traditional/paper-based voting system in order ensure consistency, efficiency and check for discrepancies. Though not exhaustive, this study on e-voting in educational institutions has yielded a number of recommendations which may be applied to e-voting in institutional settings. FURTHER RESEARCH DIRECTIONS Future study to investigate students’ perception and satisfaction of e-voting systems could be helpful. REFERENCES
Ayo, C.K. (2006). E-democracy: A Panacea for Enhanced Participatory Democracy (Nigeria in Perspective). Information Technologies, 3(1), 8-17. Buchsbaum, T.M. (2004). E-Voting: International Developments and Lessons Learnt. Electronic Voting in Europe Technology, Law, Politics and Society (pp. 31-42). Lake of Constance: GI-Edition. Drechsler, W., & Madise, U. (2002). E-Voting in Estonia. TRAMES: A Journal of the Humanities & Social Sciences , 6 (3), 234244. Dunne, S. (2008) Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance Case Study Elections and Technology: Technology Systems and Elections. P240-246 Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building Theories from Case Study Research. Academy of Management Review , 14 (4), 532-582. Gritzalis, D. (2002). Principles and Requirements for a Secure e-Voting System. Computers and Security , 21 (6), 539-556. Henry, S. (2003). Can Remote Internet Voting Increase Turnout? Aslib Proceedings , 55 (4), 193-202. Holyer, J. (2002, August 1). Identifying the Right Barriers to e-Voting. New Media Age , pp. 18-19. Kai, R. L. (1999). Voting Technology
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Implementation. Communications of the ACM , 42 (12), 55-57. Mason, S. (2004). Is There a Future for Internet Voting. Computer Fraud & Security, 2004 (3), 6-13. Mitrou, L., Gritzalis, D., Katsikas, S., & Quirchmayr, G. (2003). Electronic Voting: Consitutional and Legal Requirements, and their Technical Implications. In Gritzalis, Secure Electronic Voting. Kluwer Academic Publishers. Nathan, S. (2000, March 27). More Investors to Click to Cast Proxy Votes. USA Today , p. 13. Ndou, V. (2004) E-Government for developing countries: opportunities and challenges. The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, Vol. 18. Pp1-24 Neuman, L. W. (1999). Social Research Methods (Fourth Edition ed.). Boston: Allyn
and Bacon. Ohlin, T., & Hallgren, M. (2002). Internet Voting in Practice: the case of Umea Student Union, e-Service Journal, 2(1), pp 35-61 Rohde, L. (2000). Net Voting Resolves Boeing Labor Dispute. Retrieved from The Standard: www.thestandard.com/article/ display/0,1151,13112,00.html> Rubin, H. J., & Rubin, I. S. (1995). Qualitative Interviewing: The Art of Hearing Data. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Schryen, G. (2004). How Security Problems Can Compromise Remote Internet Voting Systems. Electronic Voting in Europe Technology, Law, Politics and Society (pp. 121-131). Schloß Hofen/Bregenz: GI-Edition. Smith, A. D., & Clark, J. S. (2005). Revolutionising the Voting Process through Online Strategies. Online Information Review , 19 (5), 513-530. Solop, F. I. (2001). Digital Democracy Comes
of Age: Internet Voting and the 2000 Arizona Democratic Primary Election. PS: Political Science and Politics, 34 (2), 289-293. Stöbich, K (2010) e-democracy in developing countries. Modern Democracy - The Electronic Voting and Participation Magazine ISSN 2072-7135. Issue (3) P11-13 Stromer-Galley, J. (2003). Voting and the Public Sphere: Conversations on Voting over the Internet. PS: Political Science and Politics, 36, 727-732. Thakur, S. (2011) unpublished PhD Thesis, Durban University of Technology Xenakis, A., & Macintosh, A. (2008). A Framework for the Analysis of Procedural Security of the e-Electoral Process. International Journal of Public Administration , 31, 711-729. Yin, R. K. (2003). Case study research: Design and methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Google updates spreadsheets on Drive with discussion function for comments
GOOGLE HAS UPDATED SPREADSHEETS on Drive with the discussion function that is already available on documents and presentations. Through the new feature, the familiar cells of a spreadsheet will be highlighted if there is a comment in there along with the expected data. When users hover over the cell, the full discussion appears for further reading. As you might expect from a spreadsheet, there’s some calculation involved too. The total number of comments are tallied at the bottom of the screen on the sheet tab, so users can quickly see if something has more queries and might need attention sooner. Hovering over the comment icon at the bottom of the page will show all of the comments on that sheet. To call in another opinion, the +mention
function also works here. Add someone in with +mention and they will automatically be included in a discussion and a notification email will flag this up to that user. A nice addition for those who could do with saving time when they are flagged in this way, they can reply to a comment without leaving the email inbox. Any comments that were created in spreadsheets before today are still available and saved as “Notes”. These show up on a spreadsheet using a black triangle in
the corner of a cell to point out the difference between them and new discussion-style comments. Partick Donelan, the software engineer who put together the post on the Google blog regarding this new functionality says, ”We hope discussions makes working in spreadsheets with others more fun and productive, and we look forward to making even more improvements to collaboration in Google Drive.” Hopefully that really does mean fun and productive. Not everyone is a fan of spreadsheets and a discussion on each cell might make the going tough. At least with a way to talk about things, it might help to make sure the data is correct. — Source: The Next Web
pc tech’s conversations on technology, business and society is a journal which explores ways in which organizations and society is affected by technology. It is published as the academic research journal of pc tech magazine. articles for the journal are publicly accessible online at www.ctbus.biz. submit paper/essay/viewpoint: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
BY anDersOn hOWarD MugIsa
within easy when reach he Samsung Galaxy S3 is, according to Samsung, ‘inspired by nature – it sees, listens, responds, and allows you to share the greatest moments. While this is all a little hyperbolic, the nature theme is certainly present when you handle the phone for the first time. Well, Brushed polycarbonate (a versatile and one of the toughest plastics ever made) - you have got a choice of ‘Marble White’ and ‘Pebble Blue’. I will lay it out right now: the plastic feeling of the Galaxy S3 will not appeal to all. It feels very lightweight in the hand, and some people will read this as feeling a little cheap. However, it is exactly the same sensation as I found on the Galaxy S2, and given the terrific numbers of sales that it had, I think there is more than a market for a phone that you will barely notice in your pocket most of the time. But I will be very clear on this, the Galaxy S3 is not a cheap-feeling phone. It has got a really solid Epic Glass 2 front, a well-packaged interior and a more stoutly built battery cover. It’s polycarbonate rather than bog-standard plastic, I am sure some people will like the more rounded nature of the design. Compared to rest of the Galaxy line, the S3 has more in common with the original Galaxy Nexus than the S2, with curved edges the theme in the design language. The home button has also been elongated, although the same menu and back buttons remain from the prequel. Overall, the effect is much more like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus than anything else – rounded edges, HD screen but with a more minimal bezel to really accentuate the larger screen in the hand. The button design around the phone has been well thought out in my opinion - for a phone this big it is very difficult to make all the keys accessible, so putting the lock button on the right-hand side rather than the top makes a large degree of sense. The addition of the lozenge-shaped home button, and its softkey ‘Back’ and ‘Menu’ buttons are great additions in my eyes, as it means contextual menus can be found easily without needing to mess around looking for the on-screen icon. The volume up and down button is parallel to the lock key on the left-hand side of the phone, and also holding the Galaxy S3 in the hand. The microUSB slot is placed at the bottom of the phone - easy to find with a charger but it will be interesting to see how it is used when placed in docks and car cradles. The battery cover is also made of the same polycarbonate material as the rest of the body. Yes, you read that right - the battery cover is removable! This means one can not only can switch the battery in and out - a key consideration for many people – there is also a cheeky surprise in the shape of a microSD slot next to the microSIM port. Expandable memory? This just gets better and better. This means that theoretically you will be able to have a 128GB-capacity Samsung Galaxy S3 if you combine the top spec of internal memory (64GB) with the largest microSD card around at the moment (64GB)... making it a mouth-watering prospect for those that love a spot of media. There are statistics that say only 10% of users regularly go over 16GB of storage, but there is always the lower end version of the Galaxy S3 for that... but with HD movie downloads becoming far more prevalent, plus the influx of HD apps, I am thinking more space is an excellent idea. Overall, in the hand, the Samsung Galaxy S3 feels superb. The design contours well against the palm, and while the screen size may be a little big for some (you will need a bit of shuffling to reach the upper section of the screen) it is definitely useable in the hand. So in short, if you don’t mind a slightly lighter-feeling polycarbonate shell and you like big HD screens in your pocket, this is a phone definitely worth checking out and owning instantly like a five months smilling baby, when you hold it, you never want to let go.
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SAMSUNG are back to basics and they say there’s always room for one more in the low end. Especially one that doesn’t take too much space. The Galaxy Pocket makes the Galaxy Mini look like it’s on steroids and the Y series like a bunch of semi pros. Life at the bottom of the food chain is far from enjoyable but it can be pretty exciting, and some creatures have figured out how to adapt. They’re usually small, fast and good at mimicry. The Galaxy Pocket meets the size requirement, but we’ll have to check about the speed. And no, no one will mistake it for a trimmed down S III but some feature phones may be fooled into getting too close. In the realm of aptly named products, Samsung’s Galaxy Pocket fits right in. With its tiny form and sporting Google’s smartphone OS, the Pocket is aiming at capturing the throne in the lower budget smartphone segment. Of course in doing so, it will have to outperform the likes of the Spice Mi-280 and 350n and their own Galaxy Y S 5630. While there are a few differences, especially in the price tag, here’s a closer look at the Galaxy Pocket to help you decide if it’s worth your money. FORM FACTOR The Pocket is a neat little handset that’s easy to hold in the palm of your hand, making it extremely portable. Like most Samsung smartphones, the rectangular Home button is placed front and centre, below the 2.8-inch capacitive display (240 x 320 pixels). Viewing angles aren’t the best when in broad daylight and the auto brightness option won’t make too much of a difference. The volume rocker is on the left and the power/sleep button is on the right. A 3.5mm handsfree socket is placed at the top, beside a dual function micro USB port that’s neatly covered with a flap. The Pocket comes with store(not yet Launched in many African Countries) as well. But features, like left and right swiping over messages or names for dialing or messaging contacts does make for quick access when required. The drop-down menu also gives you access to networking toggle switches reducing the need for the Power Control widget that could take up unnecessary space on the small screen. MEDIA This little handset is capable of dishing out some very decent audio. Samsung included a few EQ presets that make a difference for those looking for a lightly customized experience. There’s also an option for a virtual 5.1surround experience. The onboard FM radio also proved to be quite an asset. The native video player features codecs for the basic video formats, like 3GP and MP4 (H.264/H.263) and supports resolutions of up to 640 x 480. With third part players, like RockPlayer you’re allowed a wider range of formats. CONNECTIVITY As far as connectivity goes, the Galaxy Pocket features all the basics, like 3G, Wi-Fi (with Hot Spot) , tethering, Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP and of course USB 2.0 via micro connector. The Pocket also comes with GPS and A-GPS support for Google Maps and the corresponding apps, like Latitude, Local and Navigation. Aside from the Google Play store, Samsung Apps, the company’s own app store also has a few preselected apps for the handset that will help enhance the device’s functionality. Google’s array of apps that include Google Talk, Google Voice search, Google+ and its messenger app and YouTube are also included, of course. You can also access your Picasa gallery via the handset’s Gallery app. A News and Weather app has also been provided. Samsung has thrown in their Social Hub app as well to consolidate all your accounts into one space for easy access.
3GB of internal storage and also supports microSD cards up to 32GB, making it one of the very few devices to come with this much internal memory in this price range. INTERFACE With an 830MHz processor powering the Galaxy Pocket that’s running on Android Gingerbread (v2.3.6) Overall functionality is quite seamless and while TouchWiz UX UI has its good points, you do have the choice of multiple free launchers off the Google Play
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ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
COMPARISON BY SPECS
SAMSUNG GALAXY POCKET S5300 GENERAL 2G Network 3G Network 4G Network Announced Status Dimensions Weight Type Size Multitouch Protection SOUND Alert types Loudspeaker 3.5mm jack Card slot Internal GPRS EDGE Speed WLAN Bluetooth NFC Infrared port USB Primary Features Video Secondary OS Chipset CPU GPU Sensors Messaging Browser Radio GPS Java Colors GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 HSDPA 900 / 2100 2012, February Available. Released 2012, April 103.7 x 57.5 x 12 mm 97 g - Touch-sensitive controls TFT capacitive touchscreen 240 x 320 pixels, 2.8 inches (~143 ppi pixel density) Yes SAMSUNG I9300 GALAXY S III GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100 LTE (regional) 2012, May Available. Released 2012, May 136.6 x 70.6 x 8.6 mm 133 g - Touch-sensitive controls Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors 720 x 1280 pixels, 4.8 inches (~306 ppi pixel density)
Yes Corning Gorilla Glass 2 - TouchWiz UX UI - TouchWiz UI Vibration, MP3 ringtones Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones Yes Yes Yes Yes microSD, up to 32 GB, buy memory microSD, up to 64 GB, buy memory 3 GB 16/32/64 GB storage, 1 GB RAM Yes Class 12 (4+1/3+2/2+3/1+4 slots), 32 - 48 kbps Yes Class 12 HSDPA, 3.6 Mbps; HSUPA HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot Yes, v3.0 with A2DP No Yes, microUSB v2.0 2 MP, 1600x1200 pixels Geo-tagging Yes, QVGA@15fps No Android OS, v2.3 (Gingerbread) 832 MHz ARM 11 Accelerometer, compass SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS HTML Stereo FM radio with RDS Yes, with A-GPS support Yes, via Java MIDP emulator Black Yes, v4.0 with A2DP, EDR Yes No Yes, microUSB v2.0 (MHL), USB On-the-go 8 MP, 3264x2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash Simultaneous HD video and image recording, geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization Yes, 1080p@30fps Yes, 1.9 MP, 720p@30fps Android OS, v4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Exynos 4412 Quad Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A9 Mali-400MP Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
BATTERY Stand-by Talk time Audio quality Battery life
HTML, Adobe Flash Stereo FM radio with RDS Yes, with A-GPS support and GLONASS Yes, via Java MIDP emulator Pebble blue, Marble white, Amber brown, Garnet red, Sapphire black, Titanium grey • SNS integration - MicroSIM card support only • MP4/H.264/H.263 player - S-Voice natural language commands and dictation • MP3/WAV/eAAC+ player - Smart Stay eye tracking, Dropbox (50 GB storage) • Organizer - Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic • Image/video editor - TV-out (via MHL A/V link) • Document viewer - SNS integration • Google Search, Maps, Gmail, - MP4/DivX/XviD/WMV/H.264/H.263 player • YouTube, Calendar, Google - MP3/WAV/eAAC+/AC3/FLAC player Talk, Picasa integration - Organizer, Image/video editor • Voice memo/dial - Document viewer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF) • Predictive text input - Google Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk, Picasa integration, Voice memo/dial/commands - Predictive text input (Swype) Standard battery, Li-Ion 1200 mAh Standard battery, Li-Ion 2100 mAh Up to 800 h (2G) / Up to 500 h (3G) Up to 590 h (2G) / Up to 790 h (3G) Up to 17 h (2G) / Up to 5 h 40 min Up to 21 h 40 min (2G) / Up to 11 h 40 min (3G) (3G) Noise -87.6dB / Crosstalk -85.6dB Noise -90.3dB / Crosstalk -92.6dB 34h endurance rating 43h endurance rating
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
Galaxy Note 7000
BY Mark kaheru
hen Samsung announced their new GALAXY Note N7000 in September 2011, I immediately thought it was going to be a great success then I figured Samsung wanted to take over the world with this new device. Weighing in at only 178 grams, this super slim phablet (It is both an android smartphone and a tablet) has a 5.3 inch super AMOLED HD screen. This means that with the GALAXY Note you get higher refresh rates, improved response time often to under a millisecond, and they consume significantly less power which is well suited for portable electronics, where power consumption is critical to battery life. Oh, did I mention that it is unbreakable? The storage capacity on the Note is out of this world. The phablet has a RAM of 1GB and an internal storage capacity of either 16GB. This is easily comparable to a number of desktops I can list here but for lack of space, maybe another time. The note also has a Memory card slot that can take microSD up to 32GB but comes with 2GB. The GALAXY Note runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread skinned with TouchWiz off a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor. Gingerbread has a refined user interface with improved soft keyboard and copy/paste features. This OS also has a fantastic gaming performance and now with the Note’s 5.3inch screen, the experience of gaming and watching movies is fantastic. The phablet has 1280 x 800 pixel touchscreen with a pixel density of 285ppi. The Note also comes with both finger inputting as well as the ‘S Pen’ which is digital stylus inputting for more precise entries. Samsung claim that the S Pen offers the best multi-input experience on the go. You have the ability to freely capture and create ideas anywhere and everywhere, you can easily
sketch drawings or write notes with increased accuracy and ease and the S Pen functionality is integrated into the GALAXY Note’s native applications to provide a richer interactive experience. It is the most advanced pen input technology featuring an array of functions including pressure sensitivity, preciseness, speed and more…almost like an actual pen. The GALAXY Note also sports an 8-megapixel main rear camera with a flash capable of 1080p video recording, while up front there is a 2-megapixel shooter primarily for video calls. The clear lens cover of the main camera lies flush with the back panel, exposing it to the same scratches that the panel might suffer, which has been a source of criticism. However, the quality of images captured with the main camera is phenomenal. As for connectivity, the GALAXY Note N7000 It offers
802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0+ HS support and, for longer-range data communication, supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz), UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+ (850, 1900, 2100MHz) and, of course, 4G LTE and is also GPS enabled. The sensors include Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, Digital compass and barometer. The Samsung Galaxy Note welcomes you with the fully loaded home screen, after the quick boot up showing the Samsung graphics during the startup. Though Samsung has left customization up to the user, there are 7 home screens with some applications preset. The multiple home screens could be scrolled by hitting on the left or right of the numbers, or else dragging the finger on those numbers would bring up a carousel appearance of the home screens for an easier navigation. There is a huge number of widgets available for usage, and these would keep increasing with the number of new applications downloaded and installed in the device. Speaking of applications, Samsung has loaded the Galaxy Note N7000 with cool apps like S Planner which is an advanced calendar with many syncing options, even with your google calendar. You have time options and the view from the normal Android calendar is changed. You get to see a right panel which organizes the calendar to make you view it in one of the ways – Year, Month, Week, 3 Days, Day, Agenda and Task. You can view the calendar even in the way you have the tasks arranged for the present and future time. One of the coolest apps is the S Memo which is a perfect tool for editing pictures, writing with your own handwriting, adding static text to pictures, adding images to a memo and a lot more stuff. Opening the app would open the list of memos created, beautifully organized by default in the grid view, where the average sized previews of each memo is shown, and Samsung sends you a few memos already created, to show how creative people can go with the S Memo and the S Pen. The list of the features of the Galaxy isendless but it comes back to one fact that, the Samsung Galaxy Note is a great Smart Phone…and they sold 5,000,000 devices in 3 short months. How cool is that!
Samsung’s Galaxy Note (First Generation)
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
Lookout How secure is your phone?
BY Mark kaheru
few months ago I was having a conversation with a friend of mine called Paul f about phone thefts and he told me he was unworried about his phone getting stolen. Now Paul uses a Motorola Droid 2 and I know that it is not very cheap so for him to say he was not worried was rather shocking. He shared with me why. He had downloaded this app called Lookout and he advised I should to. I immediately went to the android market and downloaded Lookout (for free) on my Samsung GALAXY SII and decided to test it out. The Lookout app for Android offers up a triple-threat of protection for your phone-and it is completely free. First, you get a mobile anti-virus scanner. We all know how annoying viruses can be, but with Lookout, you simply press Run Virus Scan and the app will do the needful. The cool part is the auto-scan each time you download a new app and you get verification of safety via notifications. You also get to backup your personal data including your contacts, photos, videos, e-mails and text messages. You can manage your data and see what has been backed up in Lookout’s browser-based dashboard at http://www.mylookout.com. You can schedule automatic data back-ups and anti-virus scans so you’ll never have to worry about your phone not being up-to-date in case of an emergency. Then comes the kicker. If you do lose your
phone, which can happen because these are mobile devices that can be hard to keep track of always, do not panic. You can scream sound the alarm direct from the phone. To make the phone scream, you simply visit the browser and click on Scream on the browser-based dashboard and the phone will literally scream. Lookout can also pinpoint your phone’s location within a few metres. Lookout is currently free on the Android Market but you can also upgrade to Premium version at only USD2.99$ a month or USD29.99$ a year. This gets you two new security measures. You can lock your phone and deny the thief or finder access to your data and they wont even be able to use the phone or, better still, you can also wipe the phone clean of all data remotely. The Lookout app is unobtrusive, you do not get any annoying pop-ups constantly reminding you to update your software nor does it freeze up all of your open apps when it scans for viruses. The app’s interface is not complex at all. There are three panels show the modes of protection and their status. If your phone is up-to-date on all fronts, you’ll see green checkmarks for each panel. If there’s something that needs attention, you’ll see a yellow triangle with an exclamation point. And Lookout is such an easy-to-use, low maintenance app, you’ll hardly know it’s there-until you need it.
Screenshot of Lookout on iPhone.
new product or service that you would like to tell your clients about?
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ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
Payment of electricity bills goes mobile as Umeme launches TouchPay
ganda’s power distributor umeme earlier on July 11th balance and amount due launched a bill payment solution called touchpay. the • select pay now system is a payment platform aimed at introducing • enter amount you wish to pay convenience in the lives of the consumer. the platform utilizes • enter your mtN mobile money pIN and send convenient solutions including mobile money platforms of • You will receive a confirmation message telcos mtN uganda and airtel uganda, over the counters at • you have to be a registered mtN mobile customer with banks, payment through atm’s and online payment solutions. sufficient funds on your account the instant payment solution, launched under the banner ‘touchpay solutions’, was unveiled by minister of Information CHARGES and communication technology, Dr. ruhakana rugunda, at the (MTN Uganda) kampala serena hotel. one of the coolest things about it is that once a bill has been Bill amount Transaction charge paid and confirmation of receipt of payment via SMS on users’ 5,000 – 125,000 400 cell phones, the system makes real time bank reconciliation 125,001 – 250,000 700 on any of the platforms used including partner banks, online, 250,001 – 500,000 1000 atms and using the mobile phone. this is a phenomenal 500,001 – above 2000 improvement from the previous lead times that were more than 24 hours and sometimes even weeks. “this means that customers will be able to avoid disconnections caused by delayed payment reconciliations,” charles chapman, the umeme chief executive officer said. Gone are the days when if one made their bill payment in the bank, it took a couple of days for that payment to be reconciled with umeme accounts. subscribers to mtN uganda and airtel uganda, as well as customers to these nine partner banks, namely bank of africa, barclays bank, centenary bank and citibank, crane bank, Dfcu bank, post bank, stanbic bank and standard chartered bank are enjoying this service. Just a week after launching its latest product, the touch pay, umeme had witnessed a huge interest among the public to settle their electricity bills Umeme Limited’s MD, Charles Chapman (CENTER) and other staff and partners as the company over the phone, with more than shs presented the Annual Financial Report for 2011 at Sheraton Hotel in Kampala 500m worth of transactions made. the convenience of touch pay has also made consumers more eager to settle their bills either over the mobile phone, bank atm, bank counter umeme’s investment in It infrastructure and innovations is or online and umeme was able to collect over shs 1bn in few to provide convenience and cost effective interactions to the weeks of touch pay launch customers. by early august, over 10,000 transactions had been made think for a minute how much you spend to travel from on MTN mobile money platform alone, according to figures kyotera to masaka town to pay a bill of ugx 30,000 or get a from umeme. these transactions are worth more than shs statement of your current outstanding. 800million in electricity bills payments while 181 transactions think of the busy men and women engaged in their worth shs 9m had been made on airtel money. livelihoods and cannot afford to “stand in the cue.” think of the mother who cannot leave her children home to HOW IT WORKS: go to the UMEME office to pay. that day you are at home and caught off guard by the (mtN subscribers only) Disconnection team and you don’t want to leave home. you simply pick up your mobile phone, make a quick payment that from your mobile money menu, respond to the following takes less than 5 minutes and you get an instant receipt that prompts: you can show the team to leave you connected. or better still, you don’t have to be home at all and don’t • select pay bill have to wait for the disconnection team. simply program • select umeme touch pay yourself to pay your umeme bill on a particular date every • enter your umeme account number month and you can easily get that done behind your desk at • the system will show you your outstanding umeme the computer.
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
Orange San Diego
Intel Makes Phones: Finally
he first generation of Intel-powered Android phones has arrived, and while the chip maker doesn’t appear to be claiming that its initial efforts are world-beaters, we’ve been promised a chipset that prioritizes what people want most: capable web browsing, strong camera performance and robust battery life. Although we’ve sampled plenty of incremental versions of this Medfield tech, Orange UK’s San Diego is the first finished device to land for review. Priced at £200 ($308) it joins a large spread of wallet-friendly, entry-level smartphones in Orange’s lineup. With a (1024 x 600) 4-inch LCD, 8-megapixel camera with flash, micro-HDMI port and 1GB of RAM, it looks to be a respectable, if middle-of-theroad, Android device. But the focus here lays with the 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z2460 CPU and whether it delivers on those performance and battery life promises. Does Intel have a handle on mobile processors? Is the San Diego, near-identical to Intel’s own reference model, going to be attractive enough for buyers? You’ll find our verdict after the break. HARDWARE Since Mobile World Congress earlier this year, the Orange San Diego (previously known as the Santa Clara), has benefited from some slight revisions. The whole frame is now much more solid, and there’s no longer any hint of a creak. The softtouch backing, while a magnet for scratches and dings, helps to separate it from an army of glossy sub-$300 Android devices, but it’s certainly not the most imaginatively designed phone. The shape lies somewhere between the Galaxy S II and iPhone 3GS, although the substantial bezel below the screen stops the phone from being quite as hand-friendly as the latter. It’s simply not a pretty phone, and we lay the blame on the ho-hum build materials. The black body is ringed with a silver border, and while it didn’t chip during our use, it’s not a particularly fancy finish. The 10mm edge houses the volume rocker, micro-SIM slot and two-stage camera button on the right, micro-USB port at the bottom,
and mini-HMDI output along the left side. A fiddly power switch resides along the top edge, but once you gain purchase on them, all of the physical buttons are responsive -including the camera button, which will also quick-launch into the camera. The San Diego is home to an 8-megapixel / 1.3-megapixel camera duo, both of which can be controlled using either the physical key or touchscreen. The primary, rear-facing shooter is also capable of recording 1080p video. The four capacitive buttons are clearly signposted in daylight, but will also light up if the environment dictates. Thankfully, despite the lightweight tinkering from Orange, both Android Gingerbread shortcuts remain intact, with a multitasking screen accessible by holding the home button. Storage space comes in at just under 11GB -- with no option for expansion. In fact, the whole phone is sealed up -- so there’s no easy option to change the battery either. (It is possible to wrench off the back cover, but the battery still isn’t the in-and-out kind.) DISPLAY The San Diego’s 4-inch screen was a pleasant surprise. While there’s no Super AMOLED Plus or Super LCD 2 fanfare, it’s sharp and rich, although wider viewing angles introduce some gentle discoloration. But for a low-to-middleranger, the 1024 x 600 screen was plenty serviceable, and at full brightness was just about manageable in full daylight. CAMERA While Intel seemed to pride itself on the camera skills of its reference design, we can’t agree. If ever there was a phone to demonstrate that a camera’s performance can’t be measured by megapixels alone, then the San Diego is it. While some effort was made on the software side to ensure the phone is capable of burst capture, we were left underwhelmed by the blurry results. Perhaps we’ve been spoiled recently, but the image quality certainly doesn’t measure up to the standards of other earnestly-priced phones. Colors were often washed out with subjects appearing dull, while less-than-favorable lighting resulted in hefty doses of noise. This time, we won’t blame it on the often cloudier climes of
the UK as color reproduction indoors was also meager, and a good deal of detail often got lost in translation. Having said that, there were flashes of decent imaging, but these moments were rarer than we’d liked. Performance in macro mode was generally better than other settings. Intel has added a raft of control options for the camera, and while there isn’t an HDR mode, per se, you do have the option of capturing a selection of photos at differing exposures to craft your own HDR images on separate hardware. The camera app doesn’t cut corners at all on options, with several auto exposure modes (including aperture and shutter priority), shutter-speed adjustment, anti-banding options, RAW mode, ISO settings (800 maximum) and a burst-mode capable of 15 frames per second for up to 10 shots. Unfortunately, the results from the get-go didn’t really warrant extensive use of all those options. Video performance matched what we found with stills, with results often noisy and a little rough around the edges. White balance largely did the trick, but it did end up washing out the swan you’ll see in our sample. Autofocus kept up with us, although it’s not the speediest.
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
SOFTWARE The San Diego runs on Android Gingerbread. We’ve been told that Ice Cream Sandwich can already run on this hardware, but it still won’t be seen on these devices until Q4. It’s difficult to describe what’s been done to stock Android. For every change Orange made, some parts were left completely unaffected -- like an increasingly rare stock version of the app drawer. We were able to scrape back most of what Orange had wrought -- aside from the dated orange app icons. The carrier did add gesture features, which are largely unobtrusive and occasionally useful. By slowly tracing across the screen (on any app or the home screen) you can draw out a symbol that acts as a shortcut, catapulting you to whatever’s assigned to it. We give it a run in the video review -- check that out if you’d like to see how it all works. Up to 27 shortcuts can be assigned to apps, contacts, playlists and even FourSquare places. Popular carrier apps, like Orange Wednesday, are pre-installed and are unfortunately flanked by less useful additions like the Orange Assistant helper app, an additional user guide and an NFC tags app that went largely untouched. PERFORMANCE AND BATTERY LIFE The stock Android keyboard felt very, very
responsive -- more so than on various other Android devices we’ve reviewed this year, and Swype is offered as well if that’s more your style. As we’ll cover more closely in the performance section, the web browser copes well with denser sites -- there’s a little stutter but it’s on par with existing dual-core Android phones, if not quite on the same level as a flagship. App compatibility on the new chipset was a concern that we almost completely forgot about during our review. We came across only two apps that didn’t work during our review and we use a lot of apps -- it simply
wasn’t a problem. Alas, real-world battery life didn’t hold up to those heady promises of 14 days’ standby. Many people might want a smartphone that can simply exist in their bag for a few days -- but we’ve reviewed enough devices and tested enough batteries to tell you it’s the screen that will burn through your charged-up phone. On our video rundown test, which involves looping a video with the screen fixed at 50 percent brightness, the phone managed to wind down in around seven hours and 20 minutes. That time is no better than current Android devices, but it’s still pretty good for a 4-inch smartphone. In day-to-day use, we found the battery fared better, managing closer to two or three days between charges -- substantially better than many other smartphones we’ve used this year. Unsurprisingly, its runtime is directly related to how much you use it, but if you’re not going to use those smartphone features, it will doggedly hold onto its initial charge very well -- close to that posited two-week mark. Call quality was strong -- Orange offers HD voice calling between the San Diego and other compatible devices. It also has the same earSmart voice-cancellation processing found in the likes of the Galaxy S III and, er, Dell Streak, keeping our test calls sharp and clear.
Intel’s first Android smartphone proves that the company is more than happy to bring the fight to existing processors. Despite the low price, the admirable performance of the San Diego’s Medfield processor is the take-home message here -- which is great news for a manufacturer looking to dip its toes into mobile devices. What we’re interested in seeing now is what Intel can make if it really pushes the envelope. How would an Intel-powered, 1080p, flagship smartphone with a more capable camera compare to Samsung’s and HTC’s best and brightest? In comparison, the San
Diego looks plain cheap, lacks Ice Cream Sandwich and has often disappointing camera. If we think globally, the Galaxy Nexus is just $100 more expensive, and represents competition that the San Diego (and its duplicates) would lose out to. However, for this price -- and as Intel’s entry-level smartphone gambit -- we were left impressed by both the display and battery. The first Medfield phones may not register on the radar for those looking for the best Android has to offer, but it remains a strong start for Intel to build upon.
ISSUE 23 SEPTEMBER 2012
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