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Mozilla to Bring Low-Cost Firefox Smartphones to India and Indonesia

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“India is poised to become the largest market for first-time smartphone users in 2014”
Earlier this year, during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we told you about Mozilla’s plans to bring smartphones into even the poorest regions by introducing a $25 dollar device.

Now the organization has launched a major new effort in that plan by announcing plans to bring its low-cost smartphone to India in the next few months.

“The platform will give us an edge in upgrading buyers from feature phones to smartphones while making it affordable for the mass market,” said Sanjay Kumar Kalirona, of India mobile firm Intex Technologies, in a statement accompanying Mozilla’s announcement. “This will propel our devices to be much more than a way to use the Web, but take the engagement further and develop the Web as a mobile platform.”

The news came during this week’s Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai.

“[We are] pleased to introduce Firefox OS in India through our smartphones to cater to the country’s masses,” said Dilip Modi, CEO of Spice Telecom, one of the leading mobile phone service providers in India, and the other company leading Mozilla’s push into the country.

According to a recent report from research firm Mediacells, India is poised to become the largest market for first-time smartphone users in 2014 India is poised to become the largest market for first-time smartphone users in 2014. Injecting Mozilla’s affordable, Firefox OS-powered device into the market is likely to help drive that regional shift in smartphone usage.

Further strengthening its position in Asia versus Android, on Wednesday, Mozilla also announced the addition Chunghwa Telecom, the largest telecom in Taiwan, to its list of wireless companies involved in the Firefox OS initiative.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Mozilla will also bring the low-cost smartphone to Indonesia later this year.

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BlackBerry Z3 Launch Off To A Good Start

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Soon after BlackBerry shuffled top management it announced a five year deal with Foxconn which makes it responsible for design and manufacturing of low-cost smartphones that run BB OS and carry BlackBerry’s name. The first device was unveiled at MWC 2014. BlackBerry Z3 is exclusive to Indonesia right now but multiple reports reveal that the smartphone is off to a good start, something which the company certainly needs.

Indonesia is probably one of the last remaining strongholds of the ailing Canadian manufacturer. It has bled market share in crucial markets like the U.S. and Europe, losing third place to Windows Phone in the process. The Indonesian market has favored BlackBerrys for a long time and the company rewards that loyalty with a smartphone made exclusively for it.

Many retailers have said that they’re seeing strong customer response for the new handset. Some reports also claimed that the Z3 has actually been sold out in Indonesia. The company is promoting it through TV ads and has even set up a massive pop-up shop of sorts in Jakarta’s Central Park Mall. There’s a counter set up which shows how many units have been sold through the pop-up shop, over 1,300 units so far.

With the launch now out of the way BlackBerry is focusing on at least 3 to 4 new devices according to CEO John Chen. One of them will be an all-touch device and others will probably have keyboards. The company is also working on “BlackBerry Classic,” a smartphone that brings back the iconic function key belt from legacy devices.

While there’s no indication as yet if the Z3 will make its way to other markets, the company has previously said that its possible for an LTE capable variant of the Z3 to be launched in the U.S. If offered at a competitive price it may very well position itself as a bona fide competitor in the mid-range off-contract smartphone lineup.

5 fantastic free Android apps that do amazing things the iPhone can’t

When it comes to smartphone platforms, there’s plenty to enjoy on iOS and Android alike. The “iPhone vs. Android” debate is obviously a heated one among enthusiasts, but most people will acknowledge that both platforms have advantages and disadvantages compared to the other. Many pros and cons leave room for debate, of course, but one thing is certain when it comes to third-party development: Google’s Android platform gives app makers far more freedom to explore new functionality than Apple’s iOS software.

We’ve got five fantastic apps for Android users to check out if they’re looking to extend the capabilities of their handsets in ways that iPhone owners simply cannot.

Dodol Launcher:

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The curiously named Dodol Launcher is described by its creator Camp Mobile as an app for customizing the decor of your Android interface.

In simple terms, Dodol lays the groundwork for users to apply any one of a huge number of custom themes to their Android phones. And we’re not just talking about simple wallpapers here, we’re talking about completely changing the look of your device with a new layout, new icon packs, new widgets and extended functionality.

The app’s description states that “thousands” of high-quality themes are available to Dodol users, and they all include custom icon packs and unique graphics. Also included are various skins for Dodol’s special widgets, which include a memory cleaner, quick settings, a battery widget and a customizable wide settings widget for adjusting things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ringer profile and more.

“Your phone will become a piece of artwork itself with the totally new wallpapers and icons,” Camp Mobile says on the app’s settings page.

Oh and before you ask, the Dodol theme pictured in the photo at the top of this post — which happens to be my personal favorite — is called “Dark Chic,” and it’s free.

Dodol Launcher is free in the Google Play app store.

Hello SMS:

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It seems like there are a million mobile messaging services out there right now, and new ones pop up each day. There is one thing that most popular options do not do, however: Take standard SMS into account.

Hello SMS serves two main purposes. First, it completely replaces your Android phone’s messaging application, funneling all of your standard SMS, MMS and group messages into an app with a gorgeous tab-based UI that might just be one of the most enjoyable mobile messaging interfaces we have seen so far.

Beyond that, the app lumps in a typical data-based mobile messaging service that provides free unlimited international messaging to all users.

There are plenty of great messaging apps out there for the iPhone, of course, but obviously none of them have the ability to also take over iOS’s in-built messaging app and replace it with a gorgeous new design.

Hello SMS is available now as a free download in the Google Play store.

Weather Underground:

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Weather Underground? But… Weather Underground also makes an iPhone app!

Indeed it does, but Weather Underground’s Android app is a perfect example of software that features terrific functionality on Android that its iOS counterpart simply cannot achieve.

Beyond providing users with exhaustive current weather and forecast information, the Weather Underground app for Android does two awesome things that no iOS weather app in the App Store can do.

First, it allows users to add one of several weather widgets to a home screen, providing detailed weather information that is updated on a configurable schedule.

Want to always see the current weather conditions without taking up precious home screen real estate? Weather Underground’s app also allows Android users to display the current temperature in the notification bar along with an icon representing the current conditions. This way no matter what screen you’re on, you can always see the weather.

Weather Underground is completely free and it can be downloaded from Google’s Play store.

AppLock:

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There are plenty of iPhone apps that can hide certain data such as photos and videos behind password protection, but what if you don’t want to deal with a brand new third-party app just to view hidden content?

AppLock is a terrific Android utility that can protect a wide range of standard Android apps by requiring users to enter a password before accessing them. This password is in addition to the standard PIN or passcode people might use to secure their Android devices.

By using AppLock, users gain a second layer of security to help ensure no one can access their private data.

From the app’s description:

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AppLock is a free download from the Play app store.

The Pirate Bay Browser:

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Regardless of your opinion of The Pirate Bay and torrents in general, it’s hard to argue that blocking access to apps that deal with The Pirate Bay isn’t a characteristic of a closed ecosystem.

While iPhone users may never be able to access apps like The Pirate Bay Browser in Apple’s App Store, Android users looking to access the popular site have plenty of options and this might be one of the best.

The Pirate Bay Browser does exactly what you think it does: it provides people with access to The Pirate Bay, one of the most popular torrent directories on the planet. Users can see popular torrents along with associated details, and links can be opened in the bittorrent client of your choosing right from within the app.

The Pirate Bay Browser is completely free in the Google Play store.

 

Download our eMerchantNG Android App here…we look forward to your feedback to help improve the BETA App.

If the App doesn’t install, please go to your “Settings”, “Security”, under “Device administration” tick ”Unknown Sources” and re-install again.

Thank You.

 

Internet Explorer 11 now looks nicer no matter what device you’re using

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With Windows 8.1 updates rolling out on April 8th across all platforms, you didn’t think Microsoft was going to forget its browser, did you? Redmond has unified features on its mobile and desktop Internet Explorer 11 versions, while making it easier to use on different-sized devices. IE 11 for Windows Phone 8.1, in particular, underwent a major overhaul. You can now pin sites to Live Tiles like you can with the full version and sync tabs between devices using OneDrive. Another highly-requested new feature is InPrivate browsing, which leaves no trace of your surfing à la Chrome’s Incognito mode. There’s also a nod to low-bandwidth users with the so-called High Savings data compression mode which loads only the elements you want, reducing data use by 60-80 percent. Finally, Microsoft has introduced voice commands to WP8.1, plus a new reading view that brings a Kindle-like look to articles on your smartphone. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 8.1 received more subtle tweaks.

For the full IE 11 version, Microsoft is trying to make sure users are happy whether they’re using a 7-inch tablet or a 28-inch all-in-one. Depending on the device and whether it has a mouse or touchscreen, the browser will adjust the number tabs of displayed, adapt the type size and permit full-screen or regular browsing. Other changes are mainly for developers, with enhanced debugging and simplified testing for older versions of Internet Explorer — the latter often being a serious pain. Finally, Microsoft revealed FishGL, a new version of its classic aquarium screen that also serves as a 3D WebGL graphics benchmark on Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1. If you’re raring to grab all of that now, the updates are available for download on Windows 8.1 — otherwise, they’ll be pushed automatically for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 starting April 8th.

 

Download our eMerchantNG Android App here…we look forward to your feedback to help improve the BETA App.

If the App doesn’t install, please go to your “Settings”, “Security”, under “Device administration” tick ”Unknown Sources” and re-install again.

Thank You.

Why smartphones can bridge digital divide

Ericsson has released its first regional consumer insight report focusing on trends and analysis of the mobile ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa. The report highlights how mobile phones create and promote connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa from the consumer perspective, covering topics regarding smartphones, the internet, financial services, and applications.

The mobile phone, more specifically the smartphone, has the potential to bridge the digital divide by providing universal access and connectivity to a wider scope of citizens, regardless of location or economic status.

Though basic and feature phones still dominate the market, the research estimated that the smartphone will be key to enabling internet usage and an essential device in connecting personal and professional lives, as well as society at large.

However, growth in the uptake of smartphones, which are presently seen as expensive, is expected to significantly increase, particularly with the anticipated introduction of a smartphone in the USD 50 price range.

Referring to the report, Shiletsi Makhofane, Head of Marketing, Strategy, Government and Industry Relations, Ericsson Sub-Saharan Africa said “Our analysis shows that the entry of low-cost smartphone handsets in the market will allow people from different social classes to benefit from an integrated ecosystem. The smartphone will become key to accessing the internet, which we believe will change the regional status quo and enable a level of connectivity not seen before. Add to this the on-going installation of submarine cables and country/city fiber-optic networks across the continent, and we’ll see a significant increase in the potential for connectivity and supporting infrastructure for greater data consumption.”

This ConsumerLab report also shows that the top three communication services used (other than voice) are sending/receiving SMS messages (72 percent of mobile users), social networking (44 percent of mobile users), and browsing the internet (43 percent of mobile users).

Smartphone users are driving internet use, and are showing strong interest in performing data-intensive mobile activities such as video calling, watching live TV shows, and streaming videos from channels such as YouTube.

“Spotify not coming to Africa soon” – Spotify

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Music streaming services have become very popular over the last couple of years and aside from the likes of Pandora and iHeartRadio, Swedish offering Spotify has probably been the most prominent and popular.

However users in Africa should not hold their breath for the service to be made available on the continent. The Company’s Head of New Markets, Axel Bringeus said that they will only launch in new territories once a number of factors are in place.

“It is important for us to go global as fast as we can, but we don’t do it for bragging rights as localisation is very important to us. We won’t go live until we can offer the same user experience as other countries and have a strong catalogue, we won’t go live until an economically viable price point has been reached and partner with companies, such as Coke,” he said.

Relating specifically to the African market, Bringeus said that there is no time-frame for when the service will launch on the continent. “There are a number of challenges in Africa that are the same as with global regions. Price and catalogue is very important, which requires preparation and we’ll wait till all that is in place.”

While the service is not yet available in any African country, users have signed up to be notified about any developments, which Bringeus says is very encouraging. “We do see people accessing the service from Africa, with a significant number that have signed up for waiting list on news,” he concluded.

 

BlackBerry Introduces the New BlackBerry Z30 Smartphone

 

After months of rumors and speculation, the super sized BlackBerry Z30 has officially been announced!

Sporting a 5″ Super AMOLED display, 1.7 GHz processor with quadcore graphics and running BlackBerry 10.2, the Z30 follows up the Z10 as the latest all-touch BlackBerry 10phone from BlackBerry. To keep it running all day long, the Z30 features a 2880mAh battery – the biggest battery on a BlackBerry to date. Stereo speakers and BlackBerry’s exclusive “Natural Sound” technology make the Z30 sound great, while new antenna technology from BlackBerry keeps the Z30 connected with faster download speeds in more places.

As for getting your hands on one, the Z30 will be available from select retailers in the UK and Middle East beginning next week, and all other regions going into the holiday season.

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Airtel Offers Nigerians Opportunity to Own Nokia Lumia 520 Smartphone

L-R: Head, Operator Channel, Nokia Middle East and Africa, Scott Smith; General Manager, Nokia West Africa, Chris Brown; Senior Manager, Data and Portals, Airtel Nigeria, David Umoh; Head, Data Services, Airtel Nigeria, Funmi Omotayo and Head, Smart Devices Business Portfolio, Nokia India, Middle East and Africa, Stefan Gerrits during the launch of Airtel’s new promo on the Nokia Lumia 520 held at Nokia Office, Victoria Island, Lagos.

L-R: Head, Operator Channel, Nokia Middle East and Africa, Scott Smith; General Manager, Nokia West Africa, Chris Brown; Senior Manager, Data and Portals, Airtel Nigeria, David Umoh; Head, Data Services, Airtel Nigeria, Funmi Omotayo and Head, Smart Devices Business Portfolio, Nokia India, Middle East and Africa, Stefan Gerrits during the launch of Airtel’s new promo on the Nokia Lumia 520 held at Nokia Office, Victoria Island, Lagos.

 

Leading telecommunications service provider, Airtel Nigeria and Nokia, have partnered to provide Nigerians the opportunity to exchange any of their current handsets for one of Nokia’s swank smartphones, the Lumia 520.

To qualify for the Airtel/Nokia phone upgrade programme, customers are to visit any of Airtel shops with their old but functional device of any given brand and network, then pay an exchange fee of N23, 990, to own the Lumia 520.

The offer also gives customers who embrace it up to N10, 000 worth of value for exchanging their old devices for the new Lumia 520 as they stand to enjoy 6 months free airtime for net calls and data worth  N6, 000.

In addition, customers will also enjoy the device value discount worth more than N4, 000, based on the current market retail value of N28, 000.

L-R: General Manager, Nokia West Africa, Chris Brown; Senior Manager, Data and Portals, Airtel Nigeria, David Umoh; Head, Data Services, Airtel Nigeria, Funmi Omotayo and Head, Smart Devices Business Portfolio, Nokia India, Middle East and Africa, Stefan Gerrits at the launch of Airtel’s new promo on the Nokia Lumia 520 held at Nokia Office, Victoria Island, Lagos.

L-R: General Manager, Nokia West Africa, Chris Brown; Senior Manager, Data and Portals, Airtel Nigeria, David Umoh; Head, Data Services, Airtel Nigeria, Funmi Omotayo and Head, Smart Devices Business Portfolio, Nokia India, Middle East and Africa, Stefan Gerrits at the launch of Airtel’s new promo on the Nokia Lumia 520 held at Nokia Office, Victoria Island, Lagos.

 

Speaking on the offer, the Chief Sales Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Inusa Bello, said the initiative is another first by any operator in Nigeria, saying it will further provide telecoms value to Nigerians, in line with its commitment to become the most loved brand in the daily lives of Nigerians.

Said “The phone upgrade programme is yet another unique initiative by Airtel and Nokia to provide Nigerians a rare opportunity to own smartphone devices, complete with innovative applications to enhance their communication experience.  Also, the additional value of free voice and data services is one more reason for consumers to port to Airtel.”

L-R: General Manager, Nokia West Africa, Chris Brown; Operator Account Manager, Nokia West Africa, Beatrice Olumhense; Head, Data Services, Airtel Nigeria, Funmi Omotayo and Head, Operator Channel, Nokia Middle East and Africa, Scott Smith; at the launch of Airtel’s new promo on the Nokia Lumia 520 held at Nokia Office, Victoria Island, Lagos.

L-R: General Manager, Nokia West Africa, Chris Brown; Operator Account Manager, Nokia West Africa, Beatrice Olumhense; Head, Data Services, Airtel Nigeria, Funmi Omotayo and Head, Operator Channel, Nokia Middle East and Africa, Scott Smith; at the launch of Airtel’s new promo on the Nokia Lumia 520 held at Nokia Office, Victoria Island, Lagos.

 

The General Manager, Nokia West Africa, Mr. Chris Brown, said Nokia was ecstatic that the Lumia 520 had been chosen as the smartphone of choice for consumers to get their first smartphone experience on. He also applauded Airtel for leading the way on a much requested upgrade opportunity which will offer consumers the best starter kit with the device discount and a fully loaded phone with free airtime and data for easy internet access.

L-R: Head, Operator Channel, Nokia Middle East and Africa, Scott Smith; General Manager, Nokia West Africa, Chris Brown; Senior Manager, Data and Portals, Airtel Nigeria, David Umoh and Head, Data Services, Airtel Nigeria, Funmi Omotayo during the launch of Airtel’s new promo on the Nokia Lumia 520 held at Nokia Office, Victoria Island, Lagos.

L-R: Head, Operator Channel, Nokia Middle East and Africa, Scott Smith; General Manager, Nokia West Africa, Chris Brown; Senior Manager, Data and Portals, Airtel Nigeria, David Umoh and Head, Data Services, Airtel Nigeria, Funmi Omotayo during the launch of Airtel’s new promo on the Nokia Lumia 520 held at Nokia Office, Victoria Island, Lagos.

 

 

New photos reportedly reveal iPhone 5C packaging and colors

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The closer we get to Apple’s September 10th event, the more “leaked” photos and rumored parts belonging to the next iPhone(s) are revealed.  We still won’t “know” for sure exactly what they will look like for another week.  However, it has become readily apparent that there is little Apple can do in this global economy to keep one of the most anticipated phones each and every year a complete secret.

Today, there are a handful of new photos claiming to reveal the new, less expensive,  iPhone 5C and its packaging before they were pulled off their site.  With this new transparent packaging it seems obvious that it’s designed to showcase the new colors options Apple is planning to offer with the 5C.

Close-up views seem to indicate what we already suspect–the iPhone 5C will have curved edges and look like an iPhone 5 wrapped in a color plastic shell.  The clear face-plate cover from the packaging also reveal wallpaper matching the color of each phone–nice touch!  The pictures also showcase iOS 7 icons, potentially lending some reassurance to those worried that it might not be sold with the latest version of Apple’s software.

It won’t be long now.  Expect Apple to send out invitations in the next day or so as we quickly approach the most anticipated Apple event of the year. We’d love to hear what you think.  Please leave a comment below

@: eMerchant_NG

BlackBerry 10 devices goes on Sale in The UK tomorrow [Alleged Z10 Price Included]

BlackBerry 10

The much anticipated launch of BlackBerry 10 devices is only a day away. With the Blackberry 10 devices, sources say that specific BlackBerry data plans (BIS) needed to use the BBM or access the internet would not be necessary noting that the device can be used on regular data plans, something that was not possible on previous BlackBerry devices.

The most talked about among the soon to be released BlackBerry 10 devices, The BlackBerry Z10, is said to be priced at £480 for the white SIM-free version.

Source

@9jamerchant