Orange Partner Google to Deepen Mobile Internet Access in Africa
Orange S.A., a French multinational telecommunications corporation, has said it is launching a new affordable smartphone called Sanza touch to improve internet access in Africa.
According to the telecommunication giant, cost has always been a barrier to smartphone adoption in Africa. It said the average cost of an entry-level smartphone is more than 60 percent of average monthly income, making smartphones largely inaccessible for the majority of African people.
Therefore, as part of the GSMA Thrive Africa 2020, Orange will be introducing Sanza touch, an exclusive Orange smartphone and the most affordable 4G Android (Go edition) device globally.
The device will retail at US$30 or around N11,500 in Nigeria.
The company said the affordable price “is intended to make it the most accessible on the market with the goal of driving digital inclusion and providing more people access to mobile internet.”
Sanza touch is a 4G smartphone with a 4″ screen, 8GB memory and a 1750mAh battery, offering over 4 hours battery life while streaming videos. Users can use the Orange app collection (My Orange, Orange Money and Livescreen to stay informed on the latest news trends) and access the most popular apps including YouTube Go, Google Go, Facebook and WhatsApp.
The CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, Alioune Ndiaye, said: “Orange wants to strongly accelerate access to connectivity on the African continent. One of the barriers to Internet use is the price and ease of use of most smartphones.
“The partnership with Google to offer the Sanza touch smartphone for sale will enable us to solve this problem thanks to its affordable price and advanced functionalities. While 90% of the world’s population is now covered by mobile broadband, 3.3 billion people who live in areas covered by mobile broadband remain unconnected for reasons such as affordability, low levels of literacy and digital skills.”
Mariam Abdullahi, the Director, Platform Partnerships, Android and Play Africa for Google added that “Our mission at Google has always been to Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible to everyone.”
“We deliver this mission through the building and providing our products and services via key partnerships like this one with Orange. We are excited about the endless possibilities this Sanza touch smartphone will present in learning, economic opportunities and digital accessibility.
“The Goal of our Android devices, including this first-of-its kind highly affordable Android (Go edition) device is to bring the power of computing equitably to all. We can only achieve this mission if everyone is able to access devices at affordable price points to use in their daily lives and have access to the benefits presented by the digital world.”
Flutterwave Introduces Flutterwave Market, A New E-Commerce Service To Scale SMEs Growth
Africa’s leading payment company, Flutterwave recently announced the launch of its new e-commerce service, Flutterwave Market. The newly launched e-commerce service is “an extension of its Flutterwave Store service – that will bring together a collection of merchant stores in one place”.
Flutterwave market was launched with the goal of helping merchants increase their sales and revenue, and also onboard new customers. This new development will enable customers to have a seamless shopping experience from a wide range of different products and services offered by merchants on the Flutterwave store.
According to the payment company, “the Flutterwave Market will display Flutterwave stores across various product categories and countries. It will include features such as product search, category display and country filter to help enhance the shopping experience.
“The solution will display product categories such as men and women’s fashion, beauty, and food—in line with the preferences of most shoppers on Flutterwave Store. Shoppers will be able to order products and have the products delivered at their preferred locations”.
Flutterwave store was launched at the peak of COVID-19 in April 2020, to help small businesses set up online shops following the nationwide lockdown. Since its launch, the online store has seen over 30,000 businesses registered on its portal and also added features like discount codes and multiple product uploads.
Olugbenga ‘GB’ Agboola, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Flutterwave said, “This is an exciting next chapter for the Flutterwave brand, and we’re excited to introduce this new marketplace experience to our merchants worldwide, Flutterwave Market is a fully functional e-commerce service that serves as a megastore where buyers can purchase a variety of goods from multiple sellers under one roof.”
GB continued: “Since the successful launch of Flutterwave Store, we have listened to our customers and acted on what they need to scale their businesses. Launching the new marketplace will transform their business, taking it to the next stage of growth. Flutterwave Market is for us a way to create endless possibilities for our Flutterwave Store users. We’re not merely aggregating existing stores, we’re positioning them to make more sales.”
Recent data from Statista shows that as of 2020, the number of digital buyers in Africa experienced an increase to 281 million. The number of e-commerce users in the continent is also estimated to grow significantly, reaching over 334 million in 2021. By 2025, they could be roughly 520 million, almost doubling the number in 2019.
Nissan to Invest Over $17 Billion in Electric Vehicle Development
Japanese automobile company Nissan will be investing 2 trillion Yen (about $17.6 billion) while developing new electric vehicles as well as battery technology. This investment will take place over the space of five years, and is part of a huge plan referred to as “Ambition 2030.”
The company plans to release a total of 15 electric vehicles by 2030, having electrified vehicles make up half of the company’s entire automobile lineup. The automobile company has stated that it will be producing 23 electrified vehicles over the next eight years, with 20 of those 23 coming in the next five years.
The company has its sights set on a market mix of 75 percent electrified vehicles in Europe, 55 percent in Japan and 40 percent in China and the United States by 2030.
The other part of that market mix would supposedly be Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles. It should be emphasized that Nissan had stated earlier in 2021 that the company planned to electrify every new vehicle that is launched in the early 2030s. In the plan, any Internal Combustion Engine vehicles available by the time would be classified as legacy models.
By 2028, Nissan will release electrified vehicles with all-solid-state batteries (ASSB) and will have had a pilot plant established in Yokohama by 2024. That particular technology boasts of advancements such as reduced periods of charging, but has not hit the market as it has been expected to.
It is also in the company’s plans to reduce the cost of battery packs to $75 per kWh (kilowatt-hour) by 2028, while also planning to reduce the cost to $68 per kWh further down the road. According to Bloomberg, that would be about half of what batteries for electrified vehicles cost as at last year. The company also hopes to be producing batteries of 130 gWh (gigawatt hours).
Nissan has also revealed four concept cars: Chill-Out, Surf-Out, Hang-Out and Max-Out. These four concepts are to give a glimpse of Nissan’s future tech with self-driving features.
WhatsApp to Introduce New Features
WhatsApp may soon be introducing new features and the features are rumoured to be launching next year, Sky News has said.
According to the news platform, the first of the new features include Instagram Reels. Although, weeks back, WhatsApp watchers, WABetaInfo, had said that WhatsApp could one day feature Instagram Reels.
“It is thought that Reels would have a dedicated space on the WhatsApp app. This could be part of Meta’s plan to merge all the big social networking apps that it owns.” The WhatsApp watcher once said.
It is also believed that no time limit on the ‘delete for everyone’ button is one of the features that is expected to be added.
One common complaint about WhatsApp is that you only get a certain amount of time to delete a message in a chat for everyone. After 68 minutes and 16 seconds, your message will be there forever and you can only delete it for yourself. This is set to change very soon.
On the other hand, there are claims that WhatsApp is working on a logout feature. The feature would be in keeping with the multi-device update as you could log out on one device but remain logged in on another. This feature has been spotted and being tested in the beta version of WhatsApp, Sky News added.
The other feature is hiding from specific contacts. You can currently hide the time you were last on WhatsApp but you can not hide it from specific contacts.
The company is said to be changing this so when you go to change your “Last Seen” settings you will see an option for “My Contacts Except”.
We are still, however, waiting for an official statement from WhatsApp.
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