Mobile

Opera is investing $100m to integrate VAS, mobile payments & data bundling into its browser in Africa

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Opera, the guys who run Opera Mini, the most popular mobile browser in Africa have announced plans to invest $100 million (Ksh 10.3 billion) over the next two years in a move expected to facilitate the growth of African digital economy and maintain market share before Vivaldi, its competition grows.

Opera is working with over 47 top tier African publishers covering 107 web sites and seeking local partners to integrate value-added services, mobile payment and data bundling into its browser product to grant consumers access to quality content and services, giving them the ability to transact more easily on their mobile devices.

“Africa is a very important market for Opera. Nine of the top 20 Opera Mini user countries are from Africa,” says Richard Monday, Vice President of Africa, Opera Software. “We aim to invest heavily in Africa, to build a local platform and grow with the local business partners. This platform will expand the user base for content providers, e-commerce businesses, operators, OEM’s and others to strengthen the African internet ecosystem.”

The privately held company, headquartered in Oslo, Norway will also add other range of services over the next 12 months to create a content and services hub that will provide African users with a truly unique experience. This investment is expected to speed up internet adoption in Africa and strengthen the internet ecosystem with local partners.

According to a GSMA Intelligence report, the biggest consumer barriers to internet adoption in most African countries are the lack of digital skills and awareness, locally relevant content and affordability. To bring more first-time internet users without the fear of high data costs or lack of local relevant content, Opera invests in developing a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence engine for smartphone users that will ensure content discovery is at the heart of the browser. Opera users in Africa will get fully personalised and localised content delivered to their browser, the entry point for their internet experience while the data usage can be reduced up to 90%.

For the past five years, the Opera Mini browser has been a key facilitator in bringing more than half of Africa’s internet population online by featuring tools for lowering data costs. Recently, the company celebrated 100 million monthly users in Africa and is now focusing on making the next generation of web browsers to cater the needs of African internet users. Bringing fast and affordable internet access for all has always been Opera’s mission. To grow together with the African internet ecosystem.

Currently, Opera has operations in Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa and is expanding with new offices in Lagos, Nigeria and Nairobi, Kenya to support business and product development. The plan is to hire around 100 people for these offices over the next three years. This might help beat Vivaldi.

 

RTI Receives $2M From Google to Expand its School Tablet Program to Uganda, Malawi & Nepal

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Tangerine:Tutor, an open-source data light learning platform pre-installed on tablets for schools, an iniative of RTI International’s Tusome (Swahili for Let’s Read) program has received $2m in grants from Google.org to improve learning amongst lower primary pupils in all public schools in Kenya through the use of ICT.

According to Michael Murungi, Google Manager for Policy, East Africa, “We believe every student deserves access to quality education and recognise that technology can play a vital role in creating richer learning environments.”

With the funds, RTI International will enhance the Tangerine:Tutor Platform, procure and deploy the devices, mostly tablets. Google.org’s technical expertise will help RTI to update Tangerine:Tutor’s technical infrastructure and open-source documentation to scale to other educational systems, including  Uganda, Malawi and Nepal, in pursuit of their five-year goal of supporting teachers to reach 4 million students.

Tangerine:Tutor: is the first national tablet deployment in education in Kenya and hopes to expand to Uganda, Malawi and Nepal. Over 1150 Educational zones have been trained and provided with tablets loaded with Tangerine:Tutor. Tablets have also been provided to the County Directors of Education, Sub-County Directors of Education, the Teachers Service Commission County Directors and the Quality Assurance and Standards Field Staff. These tablets are loaded with instructional materials to help them manage, support and supervise the CSOs in their respective counties under the Tusome program.

Tusome is a collaboration between RTI International, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (UKAID) . The program utilises innovative data-based instructional improvement methods in reading and use of ICT integrated support through tablets which are installed with an openly licensed mobile platform (“Tangerine: Tutor”) designed by RTI International and optimized for low bandwidth use, ensuring access to curricula content even in remote/rural parts of the country.

The $2m grant is part of a broader Ksh 5 billion ($50 Million) commitment from Google.org to help close global education gaps.

 

Samsung’s new S8 and S8+ go on sale in Nigeria

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Samsung’s newest flagship smartphones the S8 and S8+ are available for sale in the  Nigerian market, following their unveiling at the Renaissance Hotel, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, recently.

Boasting some of the largest wrap-around screens ever made, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ come with 5.8-inch (14.73 cm) and 6.2-inch (15.75 cm) curved screens, respectively. Both devices have 1,440X2,960 screen resolution and are equipped 3,000mAh and 3,500mAh batteries, respectfully.

The display quality is Super AMOLED, featuring a new design named “infinity display”, which wraps around the devices in a smooth, perfectly curved pristine end-to-end screen, giving it a perfect symmetry while eliminating the bezels. Thanks to the new display, the physical home button usually located in the front of the phone has been replaced with a digital home button, built in the glass. Both devices feature a rear mounted fingerprint reader, quite close to the camera lens.

According to Managing Director, Samsung Electronics West Africa, Mr. Paul Lee said, “The launch of these smartphones marks the beginning of a new era of smartphone devices without edges or limits. This is a new way for our consumers to experience the world, capture every moment and share every memory through a device that is sleek and small enough to fit into their hands, but big enough to contain everything needed for work and play,” Mr. Lee stated.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ come with exciting new features for remarkable user experience. The extended screen is perfect for multitasking. Users can open their favorite IM app whilst watching a video simultaneously, by using Multi Window; this is same for typing text with the full keyboard without having to hide the video.

The smartphones offer five types of security technologies: iris recognition, face recognition, pattern, password, and PIN; users can easily choose their preferred method. Users can use the iris scanner to unlock their devices without having to swipe the phone. With Face Recognition, users can instantly unlock their devices with just a look even without the PIN or pattern; simply look into the camera on the lock screen and the device is unlocked.

The Galaxy S8 and S8+ 12 MP rear camera utilizes Dual Pixel technology for incredibly fast autofocus, allowing users capture important moments. Thanks to the F1.7 lens, pictures appear bright and crisp even if taken in low-light environments. Samsung did revamp the front-facing camera to an 8MP with auto focus. This will definitely excite ‘selfie queens and kings’ as pictures come out sharp and vibrant.

Similar to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the Galaxy S8 and S8+ are IP68-certified for dust and water. This feature protects the device from immersion in up to 1.5m of fresh water for 30 minutes, allowing users capture memories at pool parties or on the beach with loved ones.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Product Specifications

 

 

  Galaxy S8 Galaxy S8+
OS Android 7.0
Network LTE Cat. 16*

*May differ by markets and mobile operators

Dimension 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm, 152g 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, 173g
AP Octa core (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10 nm process

Octa core (2.35GHz Quad + 1.9GHz Quad), 64 bit, 10 nm process

*May differ by markets and mobile operators

Memory 4GB RAM (LPDDR4), 64GB (UFS 2.1)

*May differ by markets and mobile operators

Display 5.8” (146.5mm)1 Quad HD+

(2960×1440), (570ppi)

6.2” (158.1mm)1 Quad HD+

(2960×1440), (529ppi)

1 Screen measured diagonally as a full rectangle without accounting for the rounded corners
Camera Rear: Dual Pixel 12MP OIS (F1.7), Front: 8MP AF (F1.7)
Battery 3,000 mAh 3,500 mAh
Fast Charging on wired and wireless

Wireless Charging compatible with WPC and PMA

Payment NFC, MST
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, 1024QAM

Bluetooth® v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC,

Location (GPS, Galileo*, Glonass, BeiDou*)

*Galileo and BeiDou coverage may be limited.

Sensors Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor,
Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Heart Rate Sensor, Proximity Sensor,

RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor

Audio MP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, WMA, AMR, AWB,

FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA, DSF, DFF

Video MP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM

 

Huawei regains smartphone lead in China as top three take a 50% share-Report

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After spending two quarters in second place, Huawei moved past Oppo to recapture the lead in China’s smartphone market in Q1 2017. The Chinese smartphone giant, which launched the P10 and P10 Plus during MWC, shipped close to 21 million units to secure an 18% market share.

Despite strong annual growth of 55%, Oppo fell to second place with shipments of just under 20 million units. Third-placed Vivo had the lowest annual growth of the top three, capturing a 15% share with its shipment of 17 million units.

“China’s smartphone market continues to grow, with shipments increasing by over 9% year on year this quarter,” said Canalys Research Analyst Lucio Chen. “But there is a clear indication that the market is consolidating. The top three vendors are pulling away at the head of the market, accounting for more than 50% of shipments for the first time this quarter. In the corresponding quarter a year ago, Huawei led with Vivo second and Oppo fourth, together accounting for 42% of the market. Xiaomi took third place but has since fallen to fifth behind Apple, shipping just over 9 million units in Q1 2017.”

Xiaomi faces increasing pressure from Huawei’s online efforts with Honor, as well as Oppo and Vivo, whose marketing activities have been taking attention away from Xiaomi. “To grow this year, Xiaomi will need to quickly switch from being a value-for-money vendor to become an aspirational brand,” said Canalys Research Analyst Mo Jia. “Xiaomi’s desire to move up the value chain in China will be an uphill struggle, considering Oppo and Vivo’s lead and Huawei’s plans to increase investment in its offline channel in 2017.”

Canalys estimates 114 million smartphones shipped in China in the quarter ending 31 March 2017

The OPPO A57 is launching this month in Kenya, here is what to anticipate.

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The OPPO A57 was launched in China in November 2016 before making its way to India in February this year. The company already made headlines with its selfie-centric FIs and FI Plus which featured a 16-megapixel selfie camera and it looks like the company wants to continue with the same trend with the launch of the A57.

So what should Kenyan consumers expect? First, the OPPO A57 is clad in a metal unibody design and its home button also doubles as a fingerprint sensor. Available in two color options of gold and rose gold, the phone features a sleek back finish with curved edges.

The OPPO A57 Review,camera,specs.

The Oppo A57 is powered by 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 processor and it comes with 3GB of RAM. The phone packs 32GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 256GB via a micro SD card. As far as the cameras are concerned, the Oppo A57 packs a 13-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 16-megapixel front shooter for selfies.
The Oppo A57 runs Android 6.0 and is powered by a 2900mAh non removable battery. It measures 149.10 x 72.90 x 7.65 (height x width x thickness) and weigh 147.00 grams.The Oppo A57 features a non-removable 2900mAh battery which easily lasted us a full day on a single charge. Our HD video loop test gave us a runtime of 12 hours and 7 minutes, which is very good. There’s no fast charging, so the battery does a take a fair while to fully charge.

The Oppo A57 is a dual SIM (GSM and GSM) smartphone that accepts Nano-SIM and Nano-SIM. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, USB OTG, FM, 3G and 4G (with support for Band 40 used by some LTE networks in India). Sensors on the phone include Compass Magnetometer, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor and Gyroscope.

 

 

Samsung woos Galaxy S8 buyers with accessories

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Following the global release of the new Galaxy S8, Samsung Electronics East Africa has opened up pre-orders of the device ahead of its arrival in Kenya forecasted for May.

Pre-orders in Kenya for the device open on April 10, and the first 2,000 customers will get the Level Box Slim, a portable Bluetooth speaker that was launched at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier in the year. The portable speaker is light- weight at just 236 grams and has a powerful 8-watt audio. With a microphone, noise reduction and echo cancellation features, the speaker can be used to take calls. The portable speaker also has an *IPx7 water resistance rating and can additionally be used as a power bank when you plug in your device via USB cable.

Globally, the phone will go on sale on April 21 in select markets.

Making the announcement, Jung Hyun Park, the Vice President and Managing Director Samsung Electronics East Africa said the Galaxy S8 will be available starting on May 5th in Kenya, and will be offered in a rich colour palette including Midnight Black, Orchid Gray, and Maple Gold.

“We continue to evolve our smartphone portfolio to provide our customers with devices that enhance their lives and open the possibilities to new experiences. The Galaxy S8 is our testament to regaining your trust by redefining what’s possible in safety and marks a new milestone in Samsung’s smartphone legacy,” added Mr. Park.

Samsung Galaxy S8 gets launched tonight, here’s what to expect.

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The Samsung Galaxy S8 has been the star for the rumor mill for a while now. Here’s a roundup of all the leaks we have come across so far. Most of these things will be verified tonight as the phone gets officially launched.

Design

Bixby

The phone will retain the glass back and front of its predecessor. The changes will come in the bezels, they will be the thinnest of any Samsung phone ever made. The screen will still be curved but the borders will be even smaller than previous edge displays as you can see in the picture above. The body will be waterproof as before as well as dust resistant. There will be no physical buttons below the screen this time round, on screen keys will be used instead and the fingerprint sensor will migrate to the back, next to the camera.

Display

aa-galaxy-S8-leak-456

gsmarena_002

Galaxy S8 will come in two curved display sizes, a 5.8 inch will be the standard and a 6.2 inch will be on the S8+ version. Super AMOLED technology will make a return but the resolution will be slightly different to accommodate the new 18.5:9 screen aspect ratio.

Processor

Just like Samsung did with the Galaxy S7, there will be two versions of processors used. The international model will have their latest in-house chip, Exynos 8895, the US model will have the latest Qualcomm chip, Snapdragon 835. RAM is being said to be set at 4GB, but there are reports that there will be a special edition that will have 6GB RAM.

Software

Samsung Experience UI
Samsung Experience UI

Android 7.0 Nougat will run under the new Samsung Experience UI, it will be premiering on the S8. Speaking of premier things, a new reworked version of the “Over the horizon” signature ringtone will debut on the Galaxy S8 as well. Bixby assistant will be the star of the software sector. It is a revamped digital assistant that will have its own dedicated physical button on the left side of the phone.

Camera

Galaxy S7’s camera makes a return here, 12MP, with ultra-fast Dual Pixel auto focus and optical image stabilization (OIS). We are only assuming that it’s the same camera based on the resolution but Samsung might utilize a different sensor since the Galaxy S8 is said come a 1000fps slo-mo recording, a feature that the S7 didn’t have. The selfie camera will graduate from 5MP to 8MP, it will be a very welcome upgrade.

Battery

The Samsung Galaxy S8 will have a 3000mAH battery just like the S7 did, but the S8+ will have a 3500mAh, 100mAh smaller than what the S7 Edge offered.

Price

AKG premium earphone will be offered in the box
AKG premium earphone will be offered in the box
Samsung Dex Station will be sold separately
Samsung Dex Station will be sold separately

The Samsung Galaxy S8 will cost 830 Euros according to leaks and the S8+ will be priced at 930 Euros.  They will also have AKG Premium earphones in the box made by Harman, the high end audio company that Samsung acquired recently. However, the  Dex station will be sold separately, it promises to turn your phone into a desktop experience using any external monitor with a HDMI port. We only need to wait a couple of hours and see how many of these leaks pan out.

 

TECNO launches the Camon CX across various markets in Africa

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TECNO Mobile, has launched the much anticipated Camon CX  across 41 markets in Africa, Middle East and Latin America, including in Kenya and Nigeria.

Introduced in 2015, the Camon series has sold over 5 million handsets globally giving the firm over 25 per cent of market share in Sub-Saharan African countries since 2014.

Sales in the African market reached 25 million devices in 2015, including 9 million smart phones. Globally, it sold 60 million devices last year while the sale of smart phones manufactured by the company increased by 40 per cent.

Nigeria, Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya and Cameroon are among the firm top markets in Africa.

TECNO Camon CX uses a smart image sensor composed of 16 mega pixel sensors in the front camera, coupled with unique ‘4 in 1’ technology.

Each pixel sensor detects light, captures individual images and converts the information into signals before forming the final image, resulting in selfies that are 30 per cent brighter, capturing special moments perfectly.

The phone’s dual-front flash feature allows Camon CX users to take amazing quality selfies in dark environments where previous artificial light would blur and distort images.

It also has a customised ring flash, light speed charge and a 5.5 inch FHD (Full High Definition) screen, all allowing for ease of use on the go as well as the best quality images.

Below are the phone’s key specs

SPEC Camon CX
Basic
Size Design Size 152.8*75.8*5.6mm (visual)
Thickest Size 152.8*75.8*7.65mm
Weight 155g
Color Champagne gold/Sky gray/Elegant Blue/Rose Gold
CPU MT6750T 8 corte
GPU ARM Mali-T860 MP2 650MHz
processor type 8x Cortex-A53, up to 1.5GHz
Frequency Range 1.5GHz
Camera
Sensor IMX298
Back Cmaera 16M AF
Aperture f/2.0
Optic angle 77degree
Lens type CMOS
Flash type Four Flash/Circle Flashlight
Front camera 16.0M FF
Optic angle 78.4degree
Screen
Size 5.5inch
Material TFT
PPI 404
Image resolution FHD
Network
SIM card Dual SIM(micro+nano)+ T Card(support to 128GB)
Main Cellular GSM/WCDMA/FDD
Data service GPRS/EDGE/WCDMA/LTE
Frequency band GSM:850\900\1800\1900
WCDMA:900\2100
FDD:Band 3\7\20\28A\40
GPS support
Blue tooth support BT 4.0
WIFI support
Battery Battery Storage 3200mAh polymer lithium battery
Music format mp3
Video format mp4
Picture format jpg png bmp gif
Video format 3gp mp4
Video player 3gp
Memory
Storage 2GB
EMMC 16GB
Sensor
Gravity sensor support
Distancce sensor support
Electronic compass support
Gyroscope software support
Mic support
PIN
Earphone Jack 3.5mm headphone jack
Charge jack support Micro 5pin USB
OTG function support
Accessory
Charging plug 5V2A
USB link support

Qualcomm 205 mobile platform brings 4G connectivity to entry-level feature phones

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Qualcomm has introduced the Qualcomm® 205 Mobile Platform, designed to bring 4G LTE connectivity and 4G services to entry-level feature phones.

The Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platformwill allow feature phones to access Wi-Fi like their smartphone counterparts.

“Qualcomm Technologies is committed to the migration of users and networks from 2G, 2.5G, and 3G to 4G,” said Kedar Kondap, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Feature phones are a lifeline in many emerging countries and the Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform allows us to bring 4G connectivity and services to the masses with devices at price points never seen before.”

The Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform is designed for emerging regions, such as those in India, Latin America, and Southeast Asia to help operators in this regions take advantage of robust LTE network rollouts to support consumers use advanced LTE data services such as Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi).

Africa was not mentioned but it has a huge population of users who will benefit from this technology.

The Qualcomm 205 SoC features include LTE Cat 4 modem with up to 150 Mbps download, 50 Mbps upload; support for 4G, 3G and 2G networks; support for 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, ANT+, FM radio.

The Qualcomm 205 SoC also features Dual Core CPU at 1.1 GHz; Qualcomm® Adreno™ GPU;3 megapixel rear camera, 0.3MP selfie camera, VGA display at 480p 60 frames per-second; HD Video streaming and support for Linux based OS; Support for dual SIMs.

The Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform is available today with devices expected to reach consumers in Q2 2017.

LG puts the focus on phone screen to bezel ratio, with the new G6; the latest flagship phone.

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With the smartphone market becoming more and more competitive, designers are always seeking for new ways to enhance their screen display.

The big players today are no longer relying exclusively on Qualcom to supply them with mobile chipsets. Rather, they are manufacturing their own chipsets in-house. These chips are adapted to a specific device and customized for both flagship and feature phones to suit the needs of consumers. With the use of sensors, you can now see your notifications without unlocking your phone.

Over the years, there has been quite a transformation in the phone industry. Technology has provided a bevy of options for consumers to choose from. It has eliminated the need to use a computer or any other device to perform any function. Whether you want a large or small, curvy or straight phone, the market provides all kinds of phones at your convenience.

LG is at the frontline of creating products that are not only aesthetically beautiful, but that also provide durability and speed. This is evidenced by the new LG G6, which has an impressive processor that has increased the performance of the phone.

With the G6, LG have moved a step further and upgraded their typical modular design to glass and metal. This is a departure from the use of plastic that characterized the company’s previous flagship devices.

Moreover, the company emphasized the minimality of bezels in this new phone. The phone screen to bezel ratio is greater than 90 per cent. The quest to make all screen phones has allowed users to enjoy more of the smartphone experience and almost feel like they are living in the moment they are watching from their smartphone screen. One of the best insights in the 21st century mobile phone design was getting rid of physical keyboards altogether. Given the industry’s fixation on smaller phones and tiny screens, ending up with an all screen phone was a good idea.

Although the new G6 has great features, it did not abandon all the features of previous LG phones. The rear design of the phone, dual camera system and centre –mounted fingerprint sensor make a return in the G6.

“The new LG G6 was designed with new features that are a departure from previous designs. We are constantly looking for different ways to improve our devices. We are glad to provide great battery life, wireless charging and a USBC port to our consumers, “said LG Electronics Marketing Manager Moses Marji.

Smartphones have created a large market for the advertising industry as users are constantly on their phones.  Advertisers can stay connected with their customers 24/7. The mobile technology experience has become extremely visual with apps like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram providing platforms for advertisers to engage with their audience. It is now the norm to always see a two second ad before you open a You-tube video.

In a few years, mobile technology will become more capable with an array of features; thanks to computing advancements, cloud computing and network infrastructure.  Tools which were exclusively used by tech professionals will become commercialized into the mainstream market. Futuristic features like virtual reality will no longer be for video games and comics, but for the mass market.

 

 

Moto Z Keyboard Mod could be a reality very soon 

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From the Moto Z unboxing article we just posted the other day, we mentioned Moto Mods, they are unique hardware units that you magnetically attach to your Moto device to add extra functionality. The Moto Mod we tested was the JBL Sound Boost. It left us with a very positive experience due to its easy integration and amazing sound.

Motorola vowed that they will push the technology to developers out there to come up with innovative mods. It seems that their strategy has been working. A company by the name Livermorium has started a campaign at Indiegogo to gather funds to manufacture a Physical Keyboard Mod .

For those not familiar with Indiegogo, it’s a crowd funding website where startups publish their idea and people contribute money to make the idea a reality.

The company requires a total of $100,000 (KES 10,000,000) to actualize the Keyboard Mod. So far, a total of $34,623 has been contributed and there is still a month to go before the campaign is closed. If you fancy such a mod, you should consider chipping in. The retail price of the keyboard is set at 120 once it is produced. However, contributing $60 towards the goal secures you a free black mod once they start shipping. $80 gets you a choice of gold, black or white color mod. $200 gets you a limited edition mod in which ever color you desire, $500 guarantees you a laser engraved edition and lastly $600 will ship you 10 mods for selling.

We hope that this momentum goes on and we see more manufacturers get on board with the mods technology. It is a breakthrough feature that once you start using, you will wish all phones had it as we will illustrate on the Moto Z review we are working on. Remember, one doesn’t have to possess the Moto Z to take advantage of mods; they also work on the cheaper Moto Z play as well as the big battery Moto Z Force edition.

Enjoy durable LG smartphones without sacrificing aesthetics or performance

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New innovations in smartphones are now making it possible for phones to combine durability with performance and elegant, striking exteriors.

Although smartphone durability is rarely among the top concerns that consumers give when looking for in a new phone, in not so many years to come, a phone’s durability is going to be increasingly important to consumers.

Again, as smartphones continue to evolve, it’s getting harder and harder for manufacturers to create compelling new features and functions that drive existing users to upgrade their phones. Sure, there are important increases in display sizes and resolutions, improvements in camera quality and modest increases in performance. But most of these have been underway for quite a while now. This, making smartphone durability the next battleground.

Experts estimate that nearly half of all active smartphones are currently broken, meaning that cracked screens or waterlogged phones are extremely common.

In as much as we lack hard statistics on reasons for phone replacements in Kenya, a good percentage of smartphone replacement purchases are based on broken phones-either from dropping on the ground, dropping in liquid or any number of other accidental spills bound to happen to devices most of us carry with us all the time and everywhere we go. It is for this reason that having a durable device is bound to be attractive to consumers.

As unsightly as phone cracks and scratches may be, most amount to little more than cosmetic damage and don’t interfere with phone functionality. Water damage on the other hand is another story entirely. Not only do smartphones represent a significant investment, but they carry sensitive data that may not be backed up. These are just a few of the reasons why it is so frustrating to lose a smartphone.

Worry about that no more, LG’s trendsetting V20 that has features to effectively prevent breaking shows that the phone is intended for extended use with features that effectively resist breaking, even by accident. Through this model, LG has been successful in keeping a phone sleek, lightweight and still durable.

This innovative phone was constructed using premium materials that can commonly be found on aircraft, sail boats and mountain bikes. It passed drop tests conducted by an independent lab that conforms to US military standards, the results of which show that the phone can survive repeated drops landing in a variety of positions.

Another test by Android Authority was able to crack the screen only after dropping it on screen from about eight feet in the air.
“Once in a while our smartphones slip through our fingers and fall, when that happens, your phone had better be LG V20. This trendsetting phone’s chassis uses the military grade material made for aircraft. Drop tests have shown that LG V20 is tough and unbreakable, it is designed to handle fairly standard drop heights,” said Moses Marji, General Manager Marketing LG Electronics.

Apart from being unbreakable, the phone has a wide-angle lens making it capable of capturing wonderful selfies. Additionally, it has an HD audio recorder that picks only prominent voices and cancels background noise. The recorder uses sophisticated microphones which empower users to create studio quality recordings.

 

 

Samsung Galaxy S8 to come with 1000fps slow-motion video. 

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Samsung Galaxy S8 rumors are coming in from left and right. Most of the times the leaks are repetitive. However, every once in a while you get a really juicy piece of intel.  According to the latest leak, the S8 will come with a 12 MP camera. Now before you frown that Samsung has retained the same resolution that was in the previous S7, this new iteration comes with a whopping 1,000 fps slow motion video. Now recently Sony Xperia XZ Premium made headlines with its record breaking 960fps but it seems that glory will be short-lived.
Sony achieved that by using its new sensor the Sony IMX 400. Samsung had traditionally used Sony sensors and even mixed them with Samsung ones depending on regions. This time round, reports say that S8 will not employ the Sony sensors. We are assuming that the in house ISOCELL Samsung cameras will be utilized.
Other amazing tech on the camera will be a new Iris sensor. It will utilize a 3.7 MP scanner along side a 8MP selfie camera. We recently had an encounter with such a scanner on the very affordable Fero Iris and it was quite a positive experience.  This, however, won’t be the first time that the company is working with Iris scanners. The ill- fated Galaxy Note 7 was the first phone in the world to have it. Samsung will only have to build on that knowledge.

Moto Z: Unboxing & First Impressions of the World’s Slimmest Phone.

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Motorola was acquired by Lenovo, the world’s leading laptop manufacturer with plans to replicate the same success into the mobile world.

Lenovo has launched the Moto Z, the world’s slimmest phone which comes with ground breaking modular design and premiumspecs and innovative features.

TechMoran got a review unit and let’s see if Lenovo is winning or yet to.

Key Specs

Screen: 5.5 inch QHD AMOLED

Processor:  Snapdragon 820, 4GB RAM

Storage: 32 GB internal with Expandable storage

OS: Android 6.0 installed but Android 7.0 update is available

Rear Camera: 13MP rear with OIS and dual tone, dual LED flash coupled with Laser autofocus.

Front Camera: 5MP with LED flash

Battery: 2600 mAh with turbo charging.

 box box back 

In the box

  • Moto Z
  • Turbo Charger
  • Bumper case
  • Style Shell mod

in the box acces

Note : Neither earphones nor USB Type C were packaged in the box. Sometimes reviews units have some components missing. There is a chance that these items will be available in the final retail box.

Design

side 1 side 2

Moto Z has the most breathtaking design of all time. The metallic frame with rounded edges blend seamlessly with the 2.5D glass covering the front. The back has glass at the top and bottom antenna lines, with metal in between. The metal had subtle lines on it which would lead one into thinking that it is solar powered. But the most pleasing aspect of the device is how slim it is, at 5.2mm,the Moto Z is the thinnest phone from a global manufacturer. It is simply breath-taking. On top of that, the golden color model that I have reflects light with its rear panel making the phone shine like a piece of jewelry.

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The only negative is in the easily oiled-up nature of the back panel and the unconventional front panel; there is a finger print scanner below the screen which weirdly doesn’t double as a home button. The phone uses on-screen keys instead. Most of the time I found myself pressing the fingerprint sensor expecting to be taken to the home screen. Also, I have some reservations with the sensors that are located next to the fingerprint, they are unsightly. I only wish that Motorola would have covered them. Fortunately, they are invisible on the black model. The good news is that the finger print is very fast and can save up to 5 fingers.

What I found surprising was the location of the speaker. The earpiece doubles as the main speaker of the phone. Perhaps this was a move made to keep the phone so slim. Nonetheless, the speaker is loud enough to hear even in a noisy room so you won’t miss any calls.

 

Display

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The display of the Moto Z is stunning; the AMOLED brings out rich colors. The saturation, however, is toned down. Unlike other AMOLED screens, the colors have a natural look even at “vivid setting”. Samsung screens have their colors popping out more. To some, the conservative and natural color representation might be a plus, others would have wanted more punch considering that this is an AMOLED display. Despite where you stand with color representation, you will greatly appreciate the sharpness of the screen. At QHD resolution, the Moto Z has over 400 pixels per inch. This means that even the smallest details will be very sharp with no pixilation whatsoever.  All in all, the screen has richer colors than what you would find on an LCD screen and on top of that, the 2.5D glass on it is very smooth to the touch which adds to an overall premium feeling.

Performance and software

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As you would expect from a high end phone like this one, the performance is to notch. The snapdragon 820 with 4gb RAM is the same configuration found in the Samsung Galaxy S7. The phone simply flies through the Android 6.0. Moto Z has stock software, which only helps the phone run leaner and faster. Only one app is not stock, the Moto app. This app holds all the magic that makes the phone unique from other stock software phones. The Moto app holds the options for activating and setting up the Moto Voice which can be used to control the phone hands free. This voice feature has been a signature of Motorola phones since the days it was owned by Google. The app also holds settings for Moto Display which senses when you are close and automatically turns on the display. The sensors below the screen are meant to make this feature flawless. Finally, the app has the Moto Actions, they let you do things like flip to mute, shrink the screen to one handed mode using one swipe and much more.

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During the review period, I got a notification for an update to Android 7.0. The update brings along native split screen multitasking among other features. I will install the update and tell you how it runs on this device.

 

Camera

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The 13 MP rear camera has dual-LED flash, which are also dual tone meaning that they preserve the natural color of the subject. It also has optical image stabilization for steady video recording and a hidden laser focus. The front facing camera is 5MP with an LED flash for low light shots. Initially impressions of the camera are positive with the phone taking decent pictures during bright and low light. Most impressive is how the flash doesn’t blow out the scenes. A more detailed photography dissection will be on the full review so make sure to look out for that.

In case you want more control with the snaps, there is a powerful manual mode dubbed “professional mode”. It has sliders to help you adjust exposure, ISO,  white balance and more, the mode comes in handy under low light. I have managed to squeeze out more light into the images using this mode.

Battery

The battery is only 2600 mAh. Lenovo says that it can last for a whole day but we will have to put it to the test to prove that. On a positive note, the battery maintains its percentage while in standby very well. I once left it at 97% before going to bed at night; it was that same percentage when I woke up about 7 hours later. In addition, the charging is really fast. This phone takes less than an hour and a half to fill up from zero to 100%. It is so amazing at first you will think that percentage meter is playing tricks on you.

Moto Mods

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This is the phones claim to fame feature. It is Motorola’s shot at the modular phone concept called Project Ara, that they had kick started right before that division was taken by Google. LG G5 had tried to do a modular design but the Motorola’s approach is miles better. With LG you had to remove the phone’s bottom section, which would turn off the device , before interchanging the modules. On the Moto Z, all you have to do is snap the module in the magnetic back cover of the phone and the integration happens automatically, thanks to an array of pins located on the bottom rear.

All sorts of modules, called Moto Mods, have been made. Inside the box you get a free style shell mod whose purpose is to protect the pins as well as add a little personality to the device.

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bass boost

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My favorite was the JBL Sound Boost mod. It is like a portable stereo speaker, but much smaller and connects via magnets instead of tedious Bluetooth pairing. It was really loud and had punchy bass. Even at the highest volume, it did not distort.

More manufacturers are producing mods for Motorola, we can only hope that this trend keeps up and we get a thriving ecosystem of this promising and genius technology.

 

Huawei P10 Lite goes straight to pre-order without being launched first.

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Huawei thought, “launches are so boring, let’s be different and skip them all together” at least that’s what I think was going on in their minds. The Huawei P10 Lite just got on pre-order on an Italian online retailer called Monclick. The site exposes the phone in its full glory revealing all its specifications.

Sure, the P10 Lite has been in the rumor mill for a while just like the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 is as well as the LG G6 did, but it’s always good to see the specs verified by a creditable source. This time round the rumors were correct. The Huawei P10 Lite came with a 5.2” Full HD display, powered by Kirin 655,4GB RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. Calling the shots is Android 7.0, running under the EMUi 5.1 skin of Huawei phones.  The cameras include a 12MP sensor with an f2. 0 sensor and 8MP front facing selfie shooter.  This whole package is wrapped in a glass black and front body with a metallic frame sandwiched in between.  A finger print scanner keeps the back camera company on the glass rear. A 3000mAh battery is onboard too, and is quickly filled by fast charge technology. As you can see, this being the “lite” version, a lot of the bells and whistles of its bigger brother the ,Huawei P10, are missing. For instance, neither the dual camera technology nor the Leica fine tuning is available in this package, but that’s the whole purpose of the “lite” category, offering the same DNA as the flagship but at a fraction of the price.

The Italian site even has the price stated, the phone will retail at €350. The package is reasonably priced in line with the Huawei product culture. A quick Google translation from the Italian phrase “Prenotabile: Disponibile dal giorno 11/04/2017” reveals that the phone will be available in stores on April 11th,this year.

One Plus 3T Colette launched, a very limited edition fashion oriented phone.

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The One Plus has a been a very interesting company, it is among the youngest in the mobile manufacturing field but also among the fastest rising. What makes the company special is the flagship-rivaling hardware it produces and sells at very affordable prices. It has been making headlines for all sorts of things from weird marketing stunts to new products iterations. This time round, the company has made a partnership with a French fashion house, called Colette, to produce the One Plus 3T Colette Edition.

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Colette is a brand that has been in the fashion industry since 1997, it prides itself as an experience which offers “a never ending assortment of fashion, high-tech, arts, streetwear, beauty and waters.” The company decided to team up with One Plus to release the device as a celebration to their 20th anniversary.

The One Plus 3T Colette Edition is, for the most part, very similar to the previous 3T, available in Kenya through Avechi stores, but there are some minor differences. The Colette Edition comes with the Colette logo on a black paint job, a whopping 128 GB internal storage with no expansion slot, and a higher price tag of €479 (KES 52,877 according to current exchange rates ). Only 250 units will be produced, all of which will be available in the Colette Paris store on 21st March at 11 AM.

The remaining specs are very high end and similar to the usual 3T. They include 5.5 Full HD AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 821 coupled with a whopping 6GB RAM. Photography is done with a 16MP rear camera with optical image stabilization (OIS) and a 16 MP front facing camera. The system is under the command of Android 6.0 and powered by a 3400 mAh which supports the legendary Dash Charge feature that fills the battery to 60% in only 30 minutes. A finger print sensor is on-board as well and located under the screen.

If this phone follows the sales tradition of the other products from One Plus, there is chance that the stock will end before the store closes that day.

 

Lenovo Sets Stage for New Mobility with Smart, Connected Devices & Services

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Lenovo introduced a new device portfolio at Mobile World Congress 2017 that spans nearly all mobile form factors for the ultimate in choice with: the detachable Miix 320, blending affordability with connectivity on-the-go – two convertibles, mobile powerhouses Yoga 720 and 520 – four tablets, the versatile Tab 4 family built for everyone in the family – and Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus, smartphones that pair premium features with affordable prices.

Lenovo also announced an enhancement to Lenovo Connect with support for reprogrammable e-SIMs, which on select Windows LTE enabled devices, will allow customers to take advantage of their local Telco contract for data when at home and the best local wireless pricing when they are roaming, without having to swap out their SIM.

Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus: Captivating Design, Unlimited Performance.

Moto G heritage is one of premium features without a premium price tag, and the all-new Moto G5 and Moto G5 Plus remain true to this legacy, delivering what people want most without a premium price tag.

The newest members of the Moto G family bring together an unexpected combination of beauty and power. Both devices feature precision crafted metal design – a first for Moto G – and powerful octa-core processors that enable exceptional performance. Long lasting, all-day batteries mean less plugging in and more getting done, fingerprint readers keep user information safe and secure and advanced camera capabilities allow for the capture of stunning photos with faster focus. Unexpected is now extraordinary.

Lenovo Tab 4 Series Tablets for Kids and the Family

The Lenovo Tab 4 tablet family builds on the foundation of its mainstream tablets by making them even better: delivering four beautifully designed, powerfully built devices crafted for every member of the family. High on the multimedia experience, the Lenovo Tab 4 8 and Lenovo Tab 4 10 models have dual speakers and Dolby Atmos®. The Lenovo Tab 4 family also introduces an all-new premium line for media buffs: the Lenovo Tab 4 8 Plus and Lenovo Tab 4 10 Plus, sporting a standout dual-glass design with full HD displays, powerful processors and up to 12 hours of battery life.

We take the tablet concept ever further with optional packs that transform the Lenovo Tab 4 series into dedicated kid’s tablets or productivity tablets.

The Kid’s Pack comes with a shock-resistant bumper, a blue-light filter and a pair of colorful, scratch resistant 3M stickers, augmented by an optimized kid’s experience from the Lenovo Kid’s Account, which features up-to-date and curated kid’s content, a browser with whitelisted websites and scheduling tools for parents. The tablets can also transform into a 2-in-1 Android workhorse with the addition of the optional Productivity Pack with Bluetooth keyboard, which complements the experience of the Lenovo Tab 4’s productivity interface.

This interface incorporates a taskbar for quick switching between apps, multi-window support, support for common keyboard shortcuts, and optimization for mouse and keyboard operations.

Miix 320 Detachable with Lightning-Fast LTE Option*

The Miix 320 combines the productivity of Windows 10 with full keyboard in a lightweight, affordable detachable. Use it as a laptop with its up to FHD 10.1-inch display for work or detach and use it as a portable tablet on the go weighing only 550g. 1 With up to 10 hours of battery life, you can catch up on a full season of Game of Thrones® without a charge. 2 Connect nearly anywhere with its optional LTE.* The mobile multitasking generation will find its balance of size and weight particularly useful with its detachable screen to watch videos, its stable docking keyboard and full PC performance when needed to create content.

Keeping Connected Anywhere with Lenovo Connect e-SIM

Lenovo Connect e-SIM enhancement makes it easy to connect anywhere in the world – no more swapping out SIM cards. Lenovo Connect gives users a seamless connection and local wireless pricing even when they are abroad by taking advantage of local Telco contract for data. Users can even share the same plan across devices when those devices are enabled with Lenovo Connect.

Yoga Convertibles Balance Design, Performance and Mobility

There are times when mobile users want the full power and productivity of a PC in a thin and light machine. As these multitaskers constantly flip between work and play, we built the Yoga 720 and 520 for them, available in 13, 14 and 15-inch models. The 15-inch Yoga 720 is the most powerful convertible in its class3 and comes with up to the latest 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processors, NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 discrete graphics, blazing-fast Thunderbolt™ 3 and up to nine hours of battery life.2 For those looking for a wafer thin device, we designed the 13-inch Yoga 720 that’s 17 percent thinner than before at just 14.3mm.4 All the convertibles give users the most freedom and flexibility to use

Nintendo Switch, a hybrid handheld & in-house gaming console

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Nintendo has had quite a merry go round history when it comes to the gaming industry. The Nintendo Wii was its claim to fame; it outsold the Sony Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 by a huge margin. This could be credited to the fact that the company caters for the casual player which is a market that covers a wider audience than that of hardcore gamers that Playstation and Sony targets. Nintendo’s luck ended when it launched the successor to the Wii, the Nintendo Wii U. It performed poorly in the market and was no match to the great PS4 and Xbox One. The company went back to the drawing board and came up with a new solution, the Nintendo Switch.

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The switch is a very unique console; it is a handheld gaming device that can instantly be transformed into an in-house console. The system includes the actual switch console with comes with a 6.2 inch screen. To turn the system into an in-house console, you simply dock the Switch console into a docking station which instantly displays the game on the TV. The dock is connected to the TV via HDMI.

Switch-gamepad

The console has J –Con controllers that can either be attached on either side of the Switch display (making it look like a PS Vita) to play on the go or can be snapped to a grip device that would create a traditional looking gaming controller. This latter mode is perfect when playing on the TV.  The button arrangement is similar to that of the Xbox console.

The Nintendo Switch has a battery that can be used 2.5 -6.5 hours depending on the game being played while the J con’s batter can last up to 20 hours. Speaking of games, the system uses small cartridges that can be slotted into the device. Moreover, users can simply buy games online via the eShop. To keep kids from putting the cartridges in their mouth, a bitter coating was put on them which is quite a neat touch. Another neat move is the act that Fifa, from EA sports, is making a comeback to the Nintendo platform.

Nintendo-Switch-bundle

In the box you find the Switch console, the J-con controllers, the grip device, the dock, a HDMI cable and a power adapter, no games are included. The Nintendo Switch will retail for $299 or KES 29,999, while the games cost around KES 1,500 ($15). That makes it cost the same as the standard PS4 and Xbox or even a bit higher now that discounts on those two are available everywhere. Despite this fact, the Switch keeps getting sold out, so much so that it has become the company’s fastest selling console from Nintendo. It will be interesting to see if it breaks the sales records made by the Wii.

 

Tecno Camon CX and CX Air Leaked Specs and Exclusive Images

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Just the other day, Tecno sent out invites for the launch of its new phones, the Tecno Camon CX and the Tecno Camon CX Air, the X moniker represents 10 in roman numbers. This will be a successor to the selfie oriented Tecno Camon C9. The name Air can be seen as a hint to a super slim phone. Apple has used that name to refer to their thin iPads and even Macbooks.

Camon-C10

Tecno choose Kenya for the Global Launch, this emphasizes the notion that the country is truly the Tech Hub of Africa,  no other country has seen the unveiling of these two phones. Fortunately, the rumor mill has already gathered some of the expected specifications. The Camon CX and CX Air are said to be 5.6mm thin effectively making them among the slimmest phones in the world and living up to the ‘Air’ name. Other leaks say that the actual waistline is 7.75 mm with the 5.6mm being the visual slim size. There are two sets of specs being rumored, they include,

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  • Display: 5.5 inch Full HD Display
  • Processor: Mediatek MT6750T Octa Core
  • RAM : 2GB
  • Camera: 16.0MP Rear Camera with Ring-Flash (Quad-Flash) on The Rear Camera, 0MP Front Facing with Dual-Flash
  • OS: Android 7.0 Nougat , HiOS 2.0
  • Battery: 3200mAh Li-Polymer
  • Storage: 32 GB Internal storage, Expandable Memory up to 128 GB

 

Other features

  • Full Metal Body
  • 75 mm Thin (5.6mm Visual Slim Size)
  • Water Drop Screen
  • 5D Glass screen
  • Light Speed Charge
  • Dual SIM Card, Three Slot
  • Super Screenshot
  • Fingerprint
  • 4G Connectivity

The second set of rumoured specs includes higher end internals, among them is a total of four cameras.

Camon-C10

  • Display : 5.5 inches Full HD Display
  • Processor : 2 Ghz MTK Helio P10 Octa-core 64-bit
  • OS : Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Ram : 3 GB
  • Storage : 32 GB
  • Rear Camera : Dual ( 16.0 MP )
  • Front : Dual ( 8.0 MP )
  • Battery : 4,000 mAh

There is a possibility that the second set represents the specifications of the CX and the initial bunch portrays the CX Air. Well, the best part is that we won’t have to wait long to see the actual phones, Tecno will unveil them at March 23rd, only a couple of days from today.

 

BlackBerry Aurora is not a Blackberry phone, let me explain 

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BlackBerry has been in the rumor mill for a while now. Yesterday, it finally got launched but to the surprise of many, the company behind it goes by the name BB Merah Putih. It is of Indonesian origin and has the license to make phones bearing the Blackberry brand name but only for that country. As we had started earlier in the Blackberry Keyone unveiling, TCL also has the license to distribute berries for most parts of the world.
Indonesia is a unique country since Blackberry had a huge demand in that country.  Even before the TCL deal, Blackberry phones still continued to be sold in that region.
Back to the Aurora, it comes 5.5 inch 720p, Snapdragon 425 coupled with 4Gb RAM which are enough to push the Android 7.0  and DTEK software preloaded in the phone. The camera section is endowed with 13MP rear sensor and a 8MP front facing one. Keeping the lights on is a 3,000 mAH battery. Surprisingly, it is the first Blackberry to feature dual SIM capability.
At the moment, the phone is available for pre-order in Indonesia at a low price of $260 (KES 26,000). We can only hope that these iterations won’t dilute the values that once defined BlackBerry