Samsung Galaxy Note10 and Note10 Plus: An initial Overview

galaxy-note10_highlights_phone_smallAfter weeks of leaks and rumours, we finally get to see the next iteration of the Samsung Galaxy Note series; the Galaxy Note 10. Regardless of the rumours, finally getting my hands on the device at the unveiling event in Ghana gave me the answer to a question I asked last year; how was Samsung going to top the Note 9? 

The release of this device, in a lot of ways, answers that question.

The Look and Feel

Since 2011, the Galaxy Note range has represented the very best that Samsung has to offer in the world of mobile telephony technology. With Note 10 and the Note 10 Plus extends that notion both on the outside and the inside of the device. 

For the first time, ever, there are two Note devices. The Note 10 which retails at GHC 5,299 flaunts a 6.3-inch display while the Note 10 Plus which parades a 6.8-inch screen goes for GHC 6,199. What you get is a truly exquisite and premium feel in your hand. The device feels sturdy and well put together with very little to dislike. The volume controls and the ‘power’ button are on the left side of the phone while the right side is left as clean as a whistle. A few things to note here (pardon the pun); one press of the ‘power’ button puts the screen to sleep or wakes it up, press it twice and the camera turns on and with an extended press, one can activate the Bixby voice assistant. The weird thing here is that by default, the ‘power’ button does not offer options to shut down the phone. There is a button in the notification section which will help you do that. Weird.

banner_galaxy-note10There are four colours available on the Note 10plus which are the Aura White, Aura Black, Aura Blue, and Aura Glow. The Aura glow will be extremely popular in Ghana. You see so many colours when the light hits the body of the phone. 

You cannot miss the punch-hole camera in front of the device which sits dead centre at the top section of the phone. This houses the 10-megapixel selfie camera. What this means is that the edge effect is extended a little further. 

The big surprise (for those who do not follow the rumors): There is no headphone jack on any of the new devices. Samsung says this design decision is to allow bigger batteries and other features. The question remains, however: How come Samsung fun of rivals Apple some years ago about the same thing? 

The Battery

The Note 9 I have holds a 4,000mAh battery which easily got me through a day and more. The Note 10plus wields an impressive 4,300mAh which will clearly offer you more hours regardless of the use. The Note 10, disappointingly, holds a 3,500mAh battery. The power management tools in the Note 10, per the announcement at the unveiling event should however come in handy here. One wonder though, why did Samsung not maintain the 4000mAh from the  Note 9?

The Camera 

fRdzNV8jgFxv35jRByjLJAThere are three main cameras on the back of both devices. These are the 12-megapixel (wide angle), 16-megapixel (ultra-wide angle), 12-megapixel (telephoto). The Note 10Plus however, has an extra 3D depth or AR lens which gives the depth-sensing effect for blurred backgrounds. The AR lens also allows you to use the AR Doodle where you can annotate the things or people you are capturing. In video mode, when the people move, the drawing also moves. Really cool. 

The image stabilization in the camera is something you must experience to appreciate. It works really well and will compete favourably with others already in the market. There is a night mode in the camera section. This, in some ways always been there, but it is nice that we finally get to see it out as an officially dedicated mode. 

Video editors will be pleased to find out there are now native video editing tools built straight into the device. You can add music and other effects to you video packages right from the device. 

A really neat feature in the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus is the zoom mic feature. With this, the sound in the frame where you are zooming into is amplified as you zoom further. 

The S Pen

The most iconic feature of the device saw a massive upgrade in the Note 9 and Samsung has thrown in a few extras with the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus. You can now use gesture controls like waving you S pen in the air to interact with your device. One is able to flick up and down or also twirl the pen to access different camera actions and options. You can still use the S pen as a remote for taking pictures or as a clicker during a powerpoint presentation. galaxy-note10_highlights_spen_handwriting

Handwritten notes in the Samsung notes app can now be turned into text and exported to many formats including Microsoft Word. You can even convert handwriting to text which can be indexed for easy retrieval.

The Others

The major things of note include 

  • You can now use the USB C provided for charging as a connector to enable Samsung’s DeX feature.
  • The DeX feature is now accessible on a laptop. To be honest I struggled to work out why I will use DeX on a laptop. 
  • There is a micro SD card expansion slot on Note 10 plus but none on a Note 10.
  • There is Wireless Powershare in both devices. This where the Note 10 or 10 Plus can charge other devices using the wireless charging technology.
  • There is a fingerprint sensor built into the screen of the phone. 
  • There is a 5G version of Note 10 Plus. 

Final Thoughts 

galaxy-note10_highlights_spen_screenwriteSamsung has listened and made available devices that suit the times and seasons. The devices will compete favourably with the offerings from other device makers. The devices, at first glance and with initial interaction with it, are great. 

I will always go with the ultimate device which is the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. It packs all the highest specs from the device maker and has all the bells and whistles in place. Though pricey, it serves my purposes just fine. 

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Invest in African start ups – Ghanaian techprenuers

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Photo from 2017 Africa Summit.    Source: Africa Summit

Ghanaian technology entrepreneurs have called on African investors to look within the continent and channel much needed support to the local businesses that are solving the continent’s problems.

According to them, local investors need to see the vision and impact that start ups have and must invest at the early stage.

These revelations were made at the sidelines of the Africa 2018 Summit which took place in in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The forum saw the launch of the Next 100 Startup initiative by President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, which aims to select up to 100 promising entrepreneurs based in Africa and connect them with business leaders, international investors, financial institutions, and policymakers.

Ghana’s contingent consisted of 11 companies among which were Kudigo, Nokofio Ghana, Bloom impact, Agro innova LLC and more with facilitation from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group’s arm in charge of private sector development.

25158986398_7dcd3936c8_kSpeaking to Citi Trends, CEO of Kudigo said, “most tech startups die prematurely and it is only with the right collaboration and deliberate effort that the situation can be salvaged. An africa-wide ecosystem approach is key for the growth of the continent where cross country connections will help spur growth. “

Kelvin Ashie of Agro Innova LLC however insisted, ”it is important that there needs to be shared understand of the investor language because though the trajectory we are travelling on is good in ghana with a good outlook for start ups, none of it will mean anything if we do not understand the language the investor is speaking.”

On his part, the CTO of Bloom impact, David Hutchful, held the opinion that there were not enough African investors who could “meet the demand of start ups and the ones that do exist are assessing the risk. What happens is that the investment levels offered do not match with the level of the need of the startups.”

Start-ups in Africa raised just $556 million from investors in 2017 (compared to $7 billion raised in India). The number of incubators and accelerators of start-ups has grown to more than 440 in 2018, compared to 314 two years ago, according to a just-released study by IFC. The study also found that five African cities — Accra, Cairo, Cape Town, Lagos, and Nairobi – attract 84 percent of the funds, even though they account for 22 percent of the continent’s startups. Start-ups in other cities are simply missing out in financing opportunities, according to the report.

25158994548_a1ad4e85c1_kDavid is thus off the option that, “more angel investors and more big ticket investors must be willing to meet the market where it is and where they can give smaller amounts without having to take over the start ups.”

“The summit was important for all parties to understand where their needs were and to understand how to tweak their companies to meet the needs of the investors without losing the core of their startups.”

One other startup at the summit was Wear Ghana and its cofounder, Ewurabena Agyeman, insisted that, “ it is not surprising (that African investors do not invest heavily in African startups) because underlying it is the same reason that African entrepreneurs have been trying to prove themselves for all these years.”

“We need to start believing in Africa and start believing that African entrepreneurs can build great companies. We need to prove that although we exist on a continent where the basic infrastructure that has been built in other economies do not exist, we can do better. We are forced to build the ecosystem that companies need to thrive but we must learn to tell our stories right. We must build the supply chain that other people do not have to spend their time doing.

The SnooCODE Debacle: Preliminary Thoughts

DSC_0447-2.jpgA lot has been said about SnooCODE’s failure to land a government contract for a digital property addressing system.

The debate has raged on various platforms.

Having interviewed snooCODE on a number of occasions, I have questioned the process myself. I have engaged in Facebook and WhatsApp debates.

Here are some preliminary thoughts as we continue to chase the truth and empower Ghana’s technology entrepreneurs for the future.

FACTS

– SnooCODE submitted a bid that was in excess of 3 pages. The executive Summary alone was more than three pages.

– SnooCODE was offering its platform to Ghana for FREE

– Till date, SnooCODE has not been officially communicated to as to why they were kicked out.

– I have not been employed, paid, coerced, hypnotized or influenced in any way by SnooCODE.
I do this for the tech community in Ghana who I believe have something incredible to offer this country.

– I fully support a national digital property addressing system which is done right and with the right people.

 

THE THEORIES

The word on the street is that Snoocode:

– Submitted a three paged ‘wrong’, ‘faulty’ and ‘incomplete’ document

– Was charging above and beyond what government was willing to pay for

 

THE QUESTIONS

Consider the following, if you care to think critically about how your nation is treating its technology entrepreneurs:

– How does an ordinary citizen or employee of Vokakom have access to the details of a closed bid? Are they members of the panel that reviewed the bids? If they are, is that not a far more serious case to worry about; that a member of the panel will use social media and online news portals to distribute confidential details of a bidding process?

– If the person or persons speaking ‘on authority’ about the details in SnooCODE’s bid is not on the review panel, then who is feeding them the information on the content of a SEALED bid?

– Where did the rest of the documents in SnooCODE’s bid disappear to? More than two copies of the bid were submitted; did all three copies have only three pages? Who stole the rest of the pages?

Uber launches in Kumasi

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L-R: Fredrick Frimpong; Greenlight and Operations Manager, Uber Ghana, Jackie Omotalade; Policy Lead West Africa, Uber, Alon Lits; General Manager Sub-Saharan Africa, Uber and Kofi Agyare; Country Manager, Ghana at the launch of Uber in Kumasi.

The technology company, credited with disrupting the transportation space in across the world, has extended its services into Kumasi, making it the second city in Ghana and the 616th globally.

In a ceremony to mark the event, Alon Lits, General Manager Sub-Saharan Africa, Uber said: “We are immensely pleased to bring a technologically enabled transport system to the people of Kumasi. With it, Uber will provide them with an alternative way to get from point A to B, and ensure that they’re able to achieve their basic, everyday goals – whether they be business people, students or corporate workers – Uber is here to help support their socio-economic objectives.

The Kumasi launch was preceded by the launch of Accra, Ghana’s capital city in 2016. The company insists its operations in Ghana have seen marked improvement over the period.

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Cross-section of Uber Greenlight Hub experts at the launch of Uber in Kumasi

Despite its successes, the company has come under pressure in recent weeks following agitation from various taxi unions and groups who contend the company is breaching Ghana’s tax laws.

According to Elon however: “Uber is an innovative, pro smart regulation company; we intend to collaborate with government and work with necessary stakeholders to ensure that we create world-class, affordable systems that create economic opportunities, improve efficiencies and reduce emissions.”

On his part, Country Manager Ghana at Uber, Kofi Agyare added: “Since Uber launched in Accra in 2016, key members of the Uber Policy and Operations teams have been constantly engaging with relevant policy makers, regulators and stakeholders to showcase the benefits that technology can bring to public transport. We are convinced that if we continue to work together with the government, we can achieve our goal of continued creation of economic opportunities.”

 

The Uber network is now available in over 600 cities in over 80 countries spanning 6 continents.

Counting our Losses – The day after Accra floods

Source: Kofimusings

Source: Kofimusings

I will be emotionally scared for life.

I know that.

I never doubted that.

However, i needed to tell this story. It is my duty. My responsibility to chronicle these events.

I did it with pride.

Watch this video and let it cause you to act. Let us stand today against this irrational posturing from our leaders.

#ThisMustStop