Tech Stuff We Loved in 2015

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Throughout the year I wanted to do one of those posts with many people contributing. But I didn’t have anything in mind to ask them to write about. Then as the end of the year approached and I was looking back at everything I had posted on this site, everything I had saved on Pocket, and everything I had on my Keep as “To be written”, I realised I could ask people to share what fascinated them most in 2015. So I DM’d, emailed and Facebook messaged as many as I could. Great people. Some responded. Some ignored. Some said they’d respond but never did. I think some said “What the hell?” Especially those with whom we are not well acquainted and deleted the message.

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The ones who responded did a good job. And I was happy reading exciting stuff from different parts of this world. Below I have their replies:

[bctt tweet=”#2015Review by 12 Great People from different parts of the world”]

You can keep this post in your phone or computer or Drive for future reference by downloading the PDF Version here


  • Virtual Reality

ChenzeThere are a lot of cool things happening in the tech world right now. However nothing impressed me in 2015 more than the coming of age of virtual reality. Tech is only meaningful when it moves from being a preserve of a few geeks and the confines of laboratories and other spaces ordinary Joe has no access to and hits retail stores. You can now order a VR headset for as little as $150. That is only 0.1% of the story. The magic is in actual use. There’s just so much one can do and with 2016 setting in, focus has now shifted to what we can do with those VR headsets in our personal spaces. Apps, games, name them. I had the pleasure of using the Gear VR on several occasions this year. Every time was like the first time. While VR has been around for a while, to just experience it in its most noble mainstream use so far was more epic than my first ride in a self-driving car (yes I did that in 2015!)

[bctt tweet=”Tech is only meaningful when it moves from being a preserve of a few geeks via @echenze” via=”no”]

by Emmanuel Chenze, @echenze. This guy is one of the biggest tech reviewers in Kenya if not the biggest. Who else in Kenya writes posts that trend worldwide? Or breaks news before every other tech site in the world? You all know Techweez.com right?


  • Bitcoin & Google Photos

Shiku NgigiHere we go. Of course you knew that the first thing I would say would be Bitcoin.

Let me say that Bitcoin and the Blockchain can be very confusing, especially if you tend to be technophobic, but at the same time, fascinating. Given the recent notices in the Kenyan space, need I say more? Watch that space.

Two. Google Photos, just like the year before. The intelligent search feature introduced in 2015 made it even more intriguing. I use it to search for cat pictures which make up half the photos I take, shoe pictures for my secret shoe blog etc. As with all tech, the two above have their flaws and politics, and that’s what makes them ever the more fascinating! 🙂

At some point, Android 5.0.1, a.k.a Lollipop, made me happy, until it began to gobble up my battery. Currently procrastinating the downgrade process which looks like a pain. Maybe I will “just buy a serious phone”, to quote Mr Dickson. Lol. Merry Christmas!

by Shiku Ngigi. She calls herself a Social Story teller. She writes at shikungigi.com and inkikuyu.com. She’s the Social Media and Customer Service Manager at BitPesa.


  • Google’s Project Soli

Irving amukasaBeing an Android developer I was all excited about Google’s annual developer conference famously Google I/O. What I was not really ready for though,was the crazy technology that their Advanced Technology Team (ATAP) were working on. The craziest of these technologies was a wearable that they had earlier promised would knock us off our socks. I’m referring to Project Soli, an innovation set to bring to reality 3D gesture sensing. A brief demonstration brought to mind Iron man’s modular suit,and how he could assemble it with hand gestures. Project Soli uses RADAR technology, and what’s amazing is they quickly miniaturized from a laptop size sensor to one the size of a sim card in only 10 effin months!!!! The implications of this technology is enormous like not having to touch your phone or ear piece to use your phone or wearable. Even more amazing is the fact that it’s only the beginning. As a developer I’m eagerly waiting for their API and the awesome things I’ll be able to do with it. Hell with a little advancement in holograms and we can make the JARVIS interface possible!!

[bctt tweet=”Project Soli: A little advancement… and we can make the JARVIS interface possible! via @IAmukasa” via=”no”]

by Irving Amukasa. He’s a Tech Entrepreneur, Innovator, Programmer and the team lead at Ultipedia.


  • Boston Dynamics

MaisamJust when you thought artificial intelligence would be enough to take over the world, now they have an embodiment and can send an army of robo-dogs to shake you down. Behold, Boston dynamics. In a nutshell, it’s what is born when animals and machines have sex. These guys have successfully managed to find a way to push the laws of balance and physics to its limits. Mimicking the animal kingdom’s ability to react and adapt to irregularities in motion and terrain. Watch their test runs on YouTube.  

Imagine the possibility of technology like this and how disproportionately it would advantage a superpower on a war front and national security.

[bctt tweet=”Boston Dynamics: What is born when animals and machines have sex.”]

by Maisam Pyarali. He’s a Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Dar es Salaam and co-founded Medroid.


  • RogerVoice

Justine MaryJustineMtdh Rogervoice is an application that enables the deaf and hard-of-hearing people to make phone calls. It subtitles all conversations in real time. Worldwide. This is an  innovation that will help disabled people by giving them more freedom and opportunities!

I discovered this project thanks to MakeSense, a global community of people who are passionate about social business. We use digital technologies and innovative tools to help social entrepreneurs develop their projects. We contributed to raise money to develop the app through a crowdfunding campaign that enable Olivier Janel (the founder) to reach 35K$ on Kickstarter! Since then, the application is available on Android and iOS.

[bctt tweet=”RogerVoice: an innovation that will help disabled people; more freedom and opportunities! via @MaryJustineMtdh” via=”no”]

by Justine Mourtadhoi. She’s a world citizen living in Paris. She co-founded the YES Tour and is a ONE Fr ambassador, and a ‘Happy Gangster’ at MakeSense.


  • Sendy

Sidney OchiengOn the Startup Scene, I’m most excited for and will be keeping a close eye on Sendy. I’ve been bullish on them since I first saw them pitch at Pivot East Africa. They make it such that any business particularly small ones can add a delivery option to their offerings and that’s powerful. Now that they’ve raised funding I’m expecting them to use it to raise awareness of the product and increase the number of riders they have. 

On Gadgets, the Infinix phones proved that you can get a decent phone for less than 10k. They’ve somehow managed to avoid the trap/stigma that TECNO fell in of being seen as low quality. I expect them to continue to providing high quality entry level devices in the next year. I myself use the Hot Note and I must say it’s excellent.

2016 will be a great year for Tech.

[bctt tweet=”The @InfinixKenya phones proved that you can get a decent phone for less than 10k via @PrincelySid” via=”no”]

by Sidney Ochieng. He’s a research coordinator, a data scientist and you’ll particularly like his #todaysreads string of tweets @princelySid. Find more at sidneyochieng.co.ke.


  • Rise of Infinix Mobility Brand & Uptake of E-commerce in Kenya

Kevin KimaniAs a Mobile Tech Blogger I was in 2015 fascinated by the rise and rise of the Infinix Brand and the uptake of E-commerce in Kenya.

Infinix Mobility rose from a little known smartphone brand to partnering with Google to bring Android One to Africa. The brand was able to effect a disruption that not long ago would have taken years.

On E-commerce it was fascinating how Kenyans were able adopt online shopping, a concept that is still foreign to most. In a nutshell, it is simply exciting what the future holds.

[bctt tweet=”@InfinixKenya rose from a little known brand to partnering with Google via @kevin_kimani” via=”no”]

by Kevin Kimani. He runs one of the biggest tech sites in Kenya. A site you all read and rely on: mobitrends.co.ke.


  • Hoverboards and Phones Charging other Phones

Maureen WahuThe tech that impressed me most this year is the ability of a phone to charge other phones! How cool is that? 2015 saw great phones with impressive specs and at very good prices. For example the Snokor Rocket Z5000.

Number two on my list: hoverboards. My niece and nephew would never get over it if I gifted them one.

[bctt tweet=”2015 saw great phones at very affordable prices e.g. @SnokorKenya’s Rocket”]

by Maureen Wahu. She runs a skin and beauty blog with very many followers.


  • Facebook Coming to Africa & the Digital Migration

Nixon Kanali2015 has been a great year with a lot of great things in the technology industry happening. I think one of the things that fascinated me was the opening of Facebook’s first office in Africa. The office which is based in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg, is the Social Media giant’s newest business office and to me this was a great milestone, Facebook finally decided to come to Africa. With active user population in Africa having grown by 20% to 120 million in June 2015 from 100 million in September 2014, having a physical office in Africa will be an important part of how people and businesses connect in Africa.

Another interesting thing that fascinated me was the fact that Digital Migration process was finally achieved in Kenya and many other countries. Despite the hurdles faced in Kenya that even saw media owners clash with the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA), the migration finally took place. To me this was a great achievement. For once Kenyans looked at the positive side of digital migration and shunned away the little propagandas of how expensive it is to acquire the digital TV sets and how many journalists were set to lose their jobs. The digital migration was an inevitable change that we couldn’t run away from.

[bctt tweet=”Facebook came to Africa. Digital Migration was achieved via @NicKanali ” via=”no”]

by Nixon Kanali. You all know TechTrendsKe.co.ke, one of the biggest tech sites in Kenya. It is this guy. He also talks politics and other stuff at kanalispeaks.wordpress.com.


  • Drones

Caleb OmondiOne thing that fascinated me most this year would be Drones. Forget the reports of EPL teams claiming that their opponents were using drones to spy on rival camps.

I got really interested with this technology and I have spent time learning about their diverse uses especially in security – which happens to be my main field of study and practise.

Kenya should not shy away from drones, instead we should come up with a law to govern their use.

[bctt tweet=”Kenya should not shy away from drones via @Karleb2010″ via=”no”]

by Caleb Omondi. He is a cash logistics manager, a trained electrician and describes himself as having a soft spot for anything tech.  I rely on his comments on phones I have never used. His Twitter handle is @Karleb2010.


  • LG V10

Kenn AbuyaMostly, my favourite tech is centred around mobile technology, especially the smartphone space. People who have the same taste of phones like I do, additionally, have a soft spot for cars, but I’m not one of them. A Fielder or VW Golf will do just fine; and that will be manifested the day I will actually be able to afford them.

2015 saw a lot of Android OEMs stray away from what used to give loyal customers the thrill of owning their devices; expandable storages, user replaceable batteries or any other hardware modifications plus heavy software tweaks some of which were useful with others being too sneaky – and that has been replaced, instead by unibody phones that stick to winning beauty contests and toned downed third party skins on top of Android. No SD card slots. Sealed batteries. No monkey business with designs that mildly scream ‘not premium’. Which leads me to my favourite piece of this year, and that’s the LG V10. This bad-boy has everything a power user looks for, in addition to an excellent camera and a snappy experience. The hardware is splendid and rough you won’t even need a case. Better, its price has been beckoning to almost half a million half a million people who already have the device provided you live on the right side of the globe. Thus, the V10 obviously takes the day here as my favourite tech, and a lot of reviewers back up my assertions. 2016 is the year we hope to bring this fine babe home.

[bctt tweet=”LG V10: this bad-boy has everything a power user looks for via @AbuyasLife” via=”no”]

by Kenn Abuya. Find more of his works at kenbonyo.com. I don’t yet know why he insists that his name has a double n.


  • BlackBerry Priv

Dorcas KareithiWell, the year 2015 has been a great year for the tech industry, with several releases. Some quite good and others, well, not so good.

Best Tech news 2015; Blackberry’s Android phone; Priv. Well, for a while, I have really loved BB but my main worry was the BB OS, since it was quite restrictive in terms of apps. The release of Priv was a sigh of relief for me. It means that they are in the right direction. BB owners can still enjoy BB privileges, but on an android platform. Oh, and the sliding keyboard!

[bctt tweet=”I have really loved BB but my main worry was the BB OS via @DeeKareithi” via=”no”]

by Dorcas Kareithi. She’s a writer, a poet, a statistician and many other things. Her personal blog is njerikareithi.blogspot.co.ke. Plus she’s part of something big coming soon at brambleconsultants.co.ke.


  • Artificial Intelligence & Gene Editing

Dickson OtienoThis year has seen great strides in these two sectors. Discussions have sprung forth in many parts of the world and people are realising that AI is the future.

This year also saw the realisation that scientists could now edit genes; remove what is bad, add what is good. So there’s thus a possibility of designer babies. But my favourite bit is this: doing away of genetic disorders and hereditary diseases. The future is bright!

[bctt tweet=”This year saw the realisation that genes can be edited!”]

by Dickson Otieno. A bored BSc. Informatics student who’s always on long holiday but has no job and no free time.


Video to recap:


There you go! 2015 fully reviewed!

If there’s anything you loved in Tech in 2015, please leave a comment below. There must be something.

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Let’s do this again Next Year!

 

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