Showmax to debut exciting Multicam Viewing Experience this Sunday

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Showmax will this Sunday introduce a multicam-feed viewing experience for football fans who will be watching the highly-anticipated El Clasico (Barcelona vs Real Madrid). With this feed, users will be able to view the game from multiple angles while also getting the games stats and info.

The on-demand entertainment service provider calls this the ultimate viewing experience and says it is the first of of its kind in the African space. The Multicam feed will give users a range of options to customise their way of watching football.

These will be the different feeds Showmax users will be able to access:

  • Main screen: This screen includes a special form of superfeed that highlights the main special cameras included in the broadcast. The base feed will be the view from the master camera, complemented by views from the rest of the cameras, drone shots, graphics and live stats.  
  • Following the ball: Aerial camera combined with detailed shots. These cameras are always focused on the ball and the player in possession, providing a closer image to follow the player’s actions in detail.   
  • Around the goal area: This window shows all the action around the goal area where viewers see the very best shots from every attack on goal as well as highlights of each and every intervention from the keepers.  
  • Camera on the bench: This feed alternates between shots of the home and visitors’ benches. The viewer will be able to follow the coaches’ instructions, reactions to key moments in the match and also keep a close eye on the subs.   
  • Stats window: The four-image feed leaves space at the bottom of the screen for a layer of dynamic graphics and visuals featuring stats from the match.  

The standard live stream will also be available.

“We are proud to be the first online streaming service in Africa to introduce the multicam feed for such a highly anticipated game. Fans are constantly looking for ways to enhance their viewing experience and with this cutting-edge technology, viewers can watch football in style, like Pros,” said Barry Dubovsky, Chief Operating Officer for Showmax. 

Showmax Pro is a streaming service available for Showmax subscribers in Africa that bundles the existing Showmax entertainment offering with music channels, news and live sports streaming from SuperSport.   

Subscribers can live stream the 2021 seasons of the English Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, UEFA Europa and UEFA Conference leagues, the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and more.   

Vivo Y33s with 50MP Camera now available for KES 24,000

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Vivo Kenya has announced the availability of its latest mid-range smartphone – the Vivo Y33s. The main standout feature of the new smartphone is the 50MP rear camera, its 8mm slim design and the 5000mAh battery which supports 18W fast charging.

Vivo Y33s Specs:

  • 4GB RAM, 128GB storage
  • 1GB Expandable Virtual RAM
  • 6.58 inch FHD display
  • Mediatek Helio G80 processer
  • Android 11, FuntouchOS 11.1
  • 5000mAh battery, 18W Fast charging
  • 50MP main camera + 2MP depth + 2MP macro
  • 16MP front camera
  • USB Type-C 2.0
  • Colour options – Mirror Black & Midday Dream.

“The all-new Y33s reaffirms vivo’s commitment of making innovative technology accessible to all consumers in the country. Y33s has been designed to provide premium and seamless experience to customers with segment-leading features like the 50MP Super Night camera, ultra-slim design and powerful 5000mAh battery,” James Irungu,  Brand and Communications Manager, Vivo Kenya said.

Vivo Y33s with 50MP Camera now available for KES 24,000

Y33s features a triple-camera setup on the rear side. It boasts a 50MP main camera sensor that captures clear photos through the day and night. For night photography lovers, the rear camera features the Super Night algorithm with noise reduction technology that combines multiple frames into one single frame, thus helping you take pro-level shots, even in low-lighting conditions. The 16MP Front Camera has a unique portrait algorithm, Super Night Selfie noise cancelling technology, and Smart Screen Flash to make taking selfies in any settings breezy, even in low-light environments. The 2MP Bokeh camera is used to enhance filter effects and help capture that special moment. 

On the front, the smartphone has a 16MP selfie camera which comes with built-in camera features that includes Personalised Portrait Mode and Super Night Selfie Noise Reduction technology to capture the best possible selfies in every possible lighting condition. Powered by MediaTek Helio G80 octa-core processor, vivo Y33s promises a smooth and sustained performance throughout the day and ensures quality imaging capabilities. The device also features Multi-Turbo 5.0 that optimizes the memory to improve the performance. The liquid cooling technology features an intelligent heat dissipation management system that keeps the smartphone cool, even while playing heavy-duty games.

72% of Kenyan students prefer in-person schooling

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A recent survey reveals that more than two thirds of children in Kenya (72%), who switched from remote learning due to the pandemic prefer in-person education. The survey titled “Digital education in COVID era” was conducted by Toluna (Online Market Intelligence) at the request of Kaspersky between April and May 2021.

According to the survey, 64% of the students complained about a lack of in-person communication with their peers between classes. 39% of the respondents also disliked learning online because of having to spend so much time in front of a screen. 58% complained of frequent technical problems. For 31% of students, it was more difficult to understand educational materials with remote learning compared to offline classes.

However, just less than a third of students, at 28%, noted that they liked remote learning better.

The required transition to remote learning during the pandemic has been a real challenge for children, parents and teachers, alike. Most probably distance learning will stay with us as a substitution for the usual classes to one extent or another,” notes David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky.

“Despite the fact that according to our research both – parents and children prefer offline learning rather than online, it’s important to introduce various digital and interactive elements into the educational process and improve digital literacy level of children and their parents, as well as teachers.”

The hardest subjects for children to learn remotely are the exact and natural sciences: mathematics (74%), chemistry (58%) and physics (46%). As for parents, 67% stated they don’t want to continue this learning format after the pandemic, and 25% noted a general decline in the quality of education as its main drawback.

ESET Updates its Intelligent Solutions for Greater Online Protection

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Heading into the festive season, it is more important than ever to ensure that computer and smartphone users are protected from increases in brute force attacks, instances of banking malware, and cryptocurrency threats. 

ESET, the global cybersecurity leader, has launched a new version of its consumer security line-up, which does just that along with its brand new ESET HOME feature. This web or Android-based platform is placed at the centre of the suite of ESET consumer solutions – allowing users to manage the security of all their Windows and Android devices from one seamless and convenient interface.

Smartphones are central to people’s lives, with multiple internet-connected devices in their homes. Simple and efficient protection and management of these devices is critical amidst a steadily increasing tide of cyberattacks.

This updated consumer offering from ESET includes ESET NOD32 Antivirus, ESET Internet Security, and ESET Smart Security Premium, which can all now be centrally managed from a single point by ESET HOME. 

The ESET HOME’s on-the-go security management and oversight functions allow users to add, manage, and share licenses with family and friends, as well as manage Anti-Theft, Parental Control and Password Manager via the web portal.

Booming cryptocurrencies have brought out the cybercriminals

Banking and cryptocurrency threats have continued to grow.

This malware category has experienced an increase of 18.6%, according to the ESET Threat Report T1 2021. Beyond stealing cryptocurrency or gaining access to crypto-wallets, cybercriminals use malware to gain access to users’ computer resources without them knowing, opening the door to many potentially unwanted applications.

Additional features in the ESET suite of products have improved its Banking & Payment Protection with extra security for customers accessing web-based cryptocurrency wallets and banking websites. Android banking malware is a growing threat for users to be aware of and protect themselves against.

Steve Flynn, Director of Sales and Marketing at ESET South Africa, says: “The rise of Android banking malware apps is worrisome because these are not just some annoying ad display apps; their victims can actually lose their savings, with little to no chance of ever recovering them. For users, mobile phone protection is as important as protecting their computers, and this is a critical driver.”    

Other key updates in the ESET product suite include:

  • Protection improvements — Banking & Payment Protection will now have the option to run by default, protecting any supported browser with a hardened mode. Ransomware Shield has been bolstered with enhanced behaviour-based detection techniques. Exploit Blocker has been improved to cover additional malicious techniques.
  • ESET HOME — Parents can use this to share licenses with family and friends or to monitor their children’s online activity and control their screen time in Parental Control (via the ESET HOME web portal).
  • LiveGuard — Integrated with Smart Security Premium, LiveGuard provides an additional proactive layer of protection against never-before-seen types of threats, shielding users from the malware before its code executes. This service, personalised for each user, analyses suspicious files, including documents, scripts, installers and executable files, in a safe sandbox environment.
  • Password Manager — Available with Smart Security Premium, Password Manager has been completely redesigned for improved security and ease of use. Password Manager is available in all major browsers as a browser extension and on Android and iOS devices as a native application. New features include support for KeePass and Microsoft Authenticator.

Carey van Vlaanderen, Chief Executive Officer Southern Africa, affirms that online security is a non-negotiable nowadays, not only for protecting users’ devices but all of those at home,  too. “The updated product suite, including our new LiveGuard feature and the unique ESET HOME platform, puts users firmly in control of their home cybersecurity needs and instils them with the confidence needed to manage multiple devices on the go,” she explains.

She concludes, “After more than a year and a half of being heavily reliant on technology and more connected than ever, and with the threat landscape constantly evolving, it is vital that our consumer users are protected with cutting-edge solutions that are easily accessible and provide the best in class user experience.”

Asante closes $7.5M Series A funding to bridge the gap in MSME lending in Africa

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Asante Financial Services Group has announced the close of a $7.5 Million Series A round led by Goodwill Investments with participation from Sorenson Impact Foundation and Forsage Holdings. 

The Series A investment will enable Asante to scale its credit offerings to the underserved segment of MSMEs in Kenya and Uganda, and expand to Nigeria and Rwanda. 

“We are delighted to welcome our new investors including Goodwell, Sorenson and Forsage in our inaugural institutional fundraise. Together, we will advance access to finance, and financial independence and wellbeing for the millions of small businesses on the continent,” said Chidi Okpala, Founding CEO of Asante.  

About Asante:

The financial group is a high-impact fintech focused on supporting the growth of African Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Incorporated in Mauritius, and commenced operations in 2018, Asante Financial Services Group has grown exponentially with operations  in Kenya and Uganda with active plans to be in 12 countries by 2025

MSMEs have a significant impact on the economies of most countries, especially emerging markets, representing 90% of all businesses, 66% of all jobs created and 50% of the world’s GDP. Yet according to the World Bank, the annual SME credit gap in Sub Saharan Africa is about US$330 million. MSMEs are often neglected by lenders due to a combination of factors. These include the high cost of customer acquisition and due diligence, insufficient data availability for accurate credit assessments, lack of collaterals, uncertain customer lifetime values, and the high costs of distribution and servicing. There is a large opportunity for lenders who are able to overcome these challenges.  

Asante differentiates itself with its ecosystem-based digital lending platform that uses alternative data and a proprietary AI loan decisioning management system to approve loans to MSMEs. The company works directly with ecosystem channel partners to collect conventional and non-conventional MSME data, with the prior consent of the clients. Its channel partners include Africa’s largest telcos, mobile-based marketplaces, airlines, retailers, payment processors, insurance companies, smartphone phone OEMs and large FMCGs. This significantly reduces the cost of customer acquisition and due diligence, while providing sufficient alternative data for credit underwriting.   

As a result, Asante is in a strong position to address the credit gap and accelerate its rollout. Asante has executed over 16 strategic corporate channel partnerships, giving Asante direct access to 2m MSMEs with a monthly lending opportunity in excess of US$200 million.  

“With over 650% growth in lending activities since Q1 2021 and a sustained average all-in default rate of 2.5%, Asante is well-positioned to fast track scale and deepen our impact in our operating markets. Our bold post-COVID response is helping small businesses recover, reconstruct and reposition for growth while ensuring that thousands of jobs are safeguarded. We look forward to a round extension very early in the new year to support the solid growth momentum,” notes Okpala. 

“MSMEs—particularly those in the informal sector—are being held back by a lack of responsible lending from traditional financial services providers who are unable to run accurate credit checks and offer profitable loans to this segment of the market. Asante has solved these problems through its innovative digital platform and ecosystem approach. The company’s success to date is proof that the model works, and we are very confident that the business will scale quickly and successfully with this round of funding,” explains Bitta Wycliffe, Senior Investment Associate at Goodwell Investments.   

“This is the 20th investment by Goodwell Investments’ uMunthu fund, of which 50% is invested in financial inclusion. Asante is a perfect fit and a great addition to our portfolio of other socially responsible financial services providers.”  

Asante is a strategic partner of Mastercard for digital lending in Africa and the only African fintech in a class of 6 scaling start-ups selected in May 2021 to join the award-winning Mastercard Start Path program. Asante is currently piloting its Business Lending Platform, to further extend its lending and other services to small business clients with essential tools like Business Financial Manager, Management Toolkit and Tax Advisory to assist them to operate more efficiently while infusing resilience into their operations. Via the platform, Asante will also be able to offer insurance, payments, and other products to its clients. 

Wapi Pay issues statement as Kepple Africa relinquishes its investments in the Startup

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Wapi Pay, a Kenyan startup based in Singapore which provides global payments solutions to both merchants, businesses and individuals, has issued a statement in the light of the company’s co-founders, Eddie Ndichu and Paul Ndichu, allegedly being caught on video assaulting a woman on Saturday Night (16th October) at the Ole Sereni Hotel.

The statement comes just after Kepple Africa Ventures – a Japanese VC Firm – announced it will be revoking its investment in Wapi Pay. In a tweet, Takahiro Kamisaki, General Partner, Kepple Africa Ventures says:

In light of the alleged assault on women by the founders of our portfolio company Wapi Pay, we Kepple Africa Ventures hereby announce that we have zero tolerance on such conduct and announce that we will relinquish all the rights of our investment stake in Wapi Pay.

Wapi Pay recently raised $2.2 million pre-seed funding. Investors for that round included EchoVC, China-based global fund MSA Capital and Kepple Africa Ventures.

Kepple Africa in 2020 invested in 36 African startups, making it one of the most active firms on the continent in terms of numbers of startups it has backed. And according to a Disrupt Africa Report, in the first 7 months of 2021, the firm has made 22 more investments.

Infinix NOTE 11 Pro Photos, Specifications and Price in Kenya

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The Infinix NOTE 11 Pro is expected to be coming to the Market in the coming weeks. It is an update to the very good Infinix NOTE 10 Pro and the changes we can expect include a new lens, a new processor and better performance.

The device has been unveiled in other markets already. We expect the same pricing as we saw with the Note 11 Pro. We also expect to see a couple of devices in the NOTE 11 Series. Given it isn’t a huge update, we may not see a similar drive in pushing the phone as we saw with the previous generation.

Infinix NOTE 11 Pro Specs and Price:

PRICEExpected from KES 25,999
Buy from Jumia when Available
Display6.95-inch IPS LCD display
120Hz Refresh rate
180Hz Touch Sampling
1080 x 2460 pixels (~387 ppi density)
Dimensions172.8 x 78.3 x 7.8 mm 
Rear Camera64MP AF Main Sensor
13MP 2X Telephoto, 30X Digital
2MP Depth sensor

Quad-Flash Light
Front Camera16 MP, (wide)
ChipsetMediaTek Helio G96 Ultra Gaming Processor
GPUARMG57 MC2
RAM8GB RAM
Storage128GB Storage
UFS 2.2
(Expandable Storage with dedicated Slot)
Operating SystemAndroid 11 with XOS 10 Skin
Battery5000 mAh battery
33W fast charging over USB type-C
Network2G, 3G, 4G
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2.4G, 5G
Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, LE
GPS with A-GPS
FM Radio
3.5mm audio jack
USB Type-C 2.0, USB On-The-Go
Colour optionsMist Blue, Mithril Gray, Haze Green
OthersSide-mounted Fingerprint Scanner
DTS audio Dual Speakers

Apple loves the Notch! Now on the MacBook Pros!

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The just concluded Apple Event has showcased to the world the new M1 Pro and the new M1 Max Apple chipsets which are set to become the most powerful chipsets on Notebooks. Everything else falls short! And Apple is miles ahead!

To take advantage of the new chips, Apple has introduced two new laptops:

  • the MacBook Pro 14-inch
  • the MacBook Pro 16-inch

What’s new?

Apple loves the Notch! Now on the MacBook Pros!

These are the real PRO laptops every professional has been asking Apple to make. They bring back what Apple abandoned years ago: ports.

Both the two new laptops feature MagSafe, SD card Slots, HDMI Port, and three thunderbolt ports.

With the new laptops, Apple has updated the design, borrowing from its previous MacBook designs – both current and retired designs – bringing about a whole new look for the modern era.

The company has done away with the Touch Bar (sadly), introduced a new Pro Motion display with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, brought in fast-charging and changed the game completely on what laptops can achieve with the new M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets.

They’ve also borrowed something from the iPhone. Weirdly enough, the new laptops feature a notch. This notch houses the new 1080p webcam.

What’s the notch for?

Apple loves the Notch! Now on the MacBook Pros!

When leaks mentioned a notch, it seemed a given that Apple would be bringing in FaceID to its laptops. That would make perfect sense in a laptop.

We’ve seen how Windows Helio Face Recognition makes it easy to sign in to Windows laptops. It’s amazing. You open your laptop and you’re in. You move close to the laptop, it senses distance and sees your face and you’re in.

I expected something similar to be coming to the new MacBook Pros. However that’s not the case. The notch here only houses the new webcam. And it’s a powerful webcam anyways.

With the new webcam, Apple is introducing a larger image sensor that should provide better low light performance. This is of importance especially with video calls as many times you are forced to move to somewhere very bright to have good quality video calls.

The company is also introducing computational video that will enable noise reduction when in low light, machine-learning face detection, local tone mapping, auto-white balance and auto exposure. These features should ensure your video calls look amazing. And it’s a major step away from the poor quality videos we’ve been used to across laptops on both Windows and Mac platforms.

Apple loves the Notch! Now on the MacBook Pros!

Take on the design:

Personally, I still prefer the look of the old MacBook Pros. I hope Apple sticks to that with future launches. Just reduce the side bezels, no need for a notch.

I am now sceptical of the notch on the iPhone being removed in the upcoming iPhone 14 as leaks have speculated.

My hope is that when Apple updates the current M1 Laptops, instead on increasing the thickness to accommodate the extra larger ports as with the new 14 and 16-inch laptops, increase the type-C ports and only bring back MagSafe. Leave them as thin and light as they’re right now.

Do you need the new MacBook Pros?

Apple loves the Notch! Now on the MacBook Pros!

I don’t think the new laptops are for everyone. First of all, they’ve very expensive. They start at $1999 for the 14-inch and $2499 for the 16-inch.

Yes, they’re extremely powerful. Yes, they beat every Windows Laptop out there. Yes, they outperform the current M1 MacBook Pros by far. And yes, they do that while offering crazy long battery life!

But NOPE, you don’t need them unless you have the job description that allows you to utilise all that power. So if you’re a music producer, a video editor, a game developer etc. yes, get the new laptops!

Sendbox raises $1.8 Million Seed to transform Deliveries for SMEs

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Sendbox has announced it has completed a $1.8 Million seed round from investors including 4DX Ventures, Enza Capital, FJLabs, and Golden Palm Investments. With participation from Flexport and YC Combinator as part of its 2021 winter cohort, Sendbox’s total investment raised has now reached $2 million following a pre-seed round from Microtraction and 4DX Ventures in 2018.

The Nigeria-based e-commerce fulfillment platform for merchants in Africa says the new funding will be used to expand the company’s operations in other countries across West Africa, bolster the development of its product range, and hire new talent.

Starting with logistics and fulfilment, Sendbox is building the operating system for e-commerce in Africa.

About Sendbox:

Launched in 2018, the company provides affordable access to local and international delivery options for small-scale merchants selling on e-commerce and social media platforms. Accessible to iOS and Android users, via web application, on Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and other e-commerce platforms, and through developer APIs, Sendbox provides a single location to manage both local deliveries and international shipments to the EU, UK, US and Canada. 

Sendbox raises $1.8 Million Seed to Digitise Deliveries for SMEs

To date, over 10,000 Nigerian SMEs have sent 200,000 products through Sendbox, saving on average 30-40% per item by eliminating the need to work with separate logistics providers. Through its delivery management platform, which aggregates logistics providers and enables tracking, the company also offers a solution for merchants who lack the high volumes required to attract discounted delivery fees. The next stage of the company’s growth will see a move towards financing & payments, followed by e-commerce & marketplace integrations across West Africa and then further afield.

As a sector-agnostic platform, Sendbox is available to sellers right across the spectrum, empowering designers, micro-manufacturers and entrepreneurs who produce their own goods and distribute them on behalf of others. In terms of products, Clothing, Fashion & Lifestyle, and Beauty & Self-Care have been most prominent since launch, while the company expects other categories to grow rapidly as SMEs continue to expand their customer bases.

Commenting on Sendbox’s fundraise and growth ambitions, Emotu Balogun, CEO and Co-Founder of Sendbox said, “No matter where in the world customers are, we want African SMEs to be able to reach them.” He continues, “Deliveries in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Ibadan have made up a large proportion of business for our domestic merchants. On top of that, affordable access to the UK, EU, US and Canada has created an opportunity to sell products to hundreds of millions of previously unreachable buyers. With this fundraise our aim is to support more and more SMEs and help them grow both locally and internationally, scaling alongside them as we connect African merchants with a global community of consumers.”

Prolific mobile penetration on the continent, the rise of social media and knock-on impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic have shifted additional momentum towards e-commerce and social commerce, doubling monthly revenues for Sendbox since March 2020. Made in Africa products are now in higher demand across local and international markets. With 200 million Instagram users and 1 million Instagram businesses in Nigeria alone, Sendbox is well positioned to serve this growing market and multiply its merchant count over the coming months. 

“African e-commerce is accelerating faster than anybody could have imagined a decade ago and it needs smart solutions to ensure that logistics and fulfilment capacity doesn’t lag behind,” said Walter Baddoo, Co-Founder and General Partner at 4DX Ventures. “Not only were we impressed by Sendbox’s 300% year-on-year growth since launch, but we’re seeing the market potential balloon with over 40 million Nigerian SMEs and a projected industry value for social and e-commerce reaching $45 billion on the continent by 2025.” 

All M-Pesa Services to be unavailable tonight for maintenance

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In another round of maintenance, M-Pesa services will be unavailable tonight from 2359hrs to Wednesday 0400hrs.

The notice issued by Safaricom says the ALL M-Pesa services including airtime purchases won’t be available. So if you have stuff you will need to do during this period of time, plan accordingly.

Official Statement on the M-Pesa outage:

We are constantly investing and innovating M-PESA to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of our customers as well as continue to support our partners in their business ambitions.

To support this continued transformation, we regularly undertake enhancements and maintenance of our systems from time to time.

In this regard, our M-PESA services shall be undergoing planned maintenance on Tuesday 19th October 2021, starting from 2359hrs to Wednesday 0400hrs. During the maintenance, all M-PESA services including airtime purchase shall be temporarily unavailable.

The timing of this maintenance activity has been planned to result in the least of inconvenience to our customers.

We apologise for any inconvenience that may be caused and thank you for your continued support.