Africom’s Guroo’s scheme is plain dead ridiculous

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Africom announced a VoIP system, Guroo that enables people to call anyone. The system is not an Africom invention, but what caught my attention is that Africom has some really ambitions.

However VoIP being the futuristic way of communication, I think Africom got this wrong.

Imagine a system where you are charged double! That is what happens when using Africom. You pay for making the calls and then pay your data bundles to actually connect to the internet.

So it means even if you have your Africom topped up, but without data in your phone, you can’t make a call.

Besides, how many people will actually install an app on their phones just to make a call via VoIP? Many Zimbabweans can’t even be bothered to install apps like Viber or Tango that offer free VoIP services.

Does Africom think that people will dump Skype? Besides, it is more easier to just buy Airtime and phone. Africom is charging a ground zero rate of 12cents a minute, or just buy a Telecel SIM and take advantage of the #MegaReloaded promo.

Nice try Africom but Guro-o just won’t work.

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Stop blaming Econet or Telecel! Set up your phone not to “eat your money” for Iphone

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I wrote an article once about how to set up your phone not to eat airtime. However it looked at Android only and inspired by this question at Techzim Answers, I dedicate this article to you asker!

Well you can’t do much customisation on an IOS powered phone, that is the Iphones, Ipods and Ipads and whatever I-thing you may dream of unless you jailbreak your device.

However, that does not mean that you can’t do anything but your options are limited. Sometimes its the case of us not setting up our phones correctly when we buy them.

I once did that and a whole $5 plus 50Mb in my phone disappeared overnight without doing anything.. The first thought that crosses your mind is “Econet, those greedy muggots have been inspired to steal my money!”

If an app is draining up battery, it sure means it is running in the background and it is highly likely it is using data.

The main culprit of apps using data on Iphones is GPS… Yes that cool location thinging. Most likely when an Iphone “eats or steals” huge chunks of data the culprit is an app that is using GPS…in the background.

On your IPhone:

> Go to settings

> Look for Privacy or Location Services depending on which version of IOS you are using.

Most apps will just have an ON and OFF switch, but some will have a purple solid, purple outline, or gray solid arrow next to them. A purple arrow means the app has used your location recently, a gray arrow indicates the app has used your location in the last 24 hours, and a purple outline arrow indicates the app is using a geofence (meaning that it’s waiting to carry out an event when you’re in a certain location, like when the Reminders app provides a location-based reminder). The purple solid and outline arrows are the ones that cause the most trouble, so if you see them, try quitting those apps to see if your data usage decreases.

Switch off those, unless you really want to use Location Services…and get your money eaten!

Also download Onavo Extend an Iphone free app that compresses data by upto 80%, their website claims. This app operates like Opera Mini, if you have ever used it.

You can also download Onavo Count another free app from the same company that lets you “count” how much data apps are using recklessly on your phone. You can see how much data was used and its easy to tell if Econet or Telecel are the culprits…

Hope you found this article usefull.

Why you should try Africom?

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Africom has been offering voice telephony for quite some time now, but it’s only recently that the company seems to be taking off, albeit slowly.

One set-back to Afrcoms success is the CDMA technology it runs on. Well, your Telecel, Econet and NetOne use GSM!

So in plain language that means you can’t plug an Africom SIM card into your phone and expect it to work! It won’t. It’s like pouring petrol into a diesel car!!

However, Africom has the cheapest call costs all round. We are not looking at dirt cheap promotion deals which can be pulled away any minute here.

At 12cents per minute for calls to Econet and Telecel, you really can’t go wrong. Even if you use the Mega Reloaded Promo from Telecel were you are effectively calling at 12cents a minute, you can’t beat the 6cents Africom to Africom rate.

The biggest set back to mass adoption of Africom is the “buy a new phone” thing since yours won’t work on our network.

Besides, Africom sells some very basic and embarrassing phones at a very expensive price!

I was shocked when I went to the Africom shop in Bulawayo and asked to see the type of handsets they have. I was shown some blackberry like phone.

When I asked if there were Android CDMA phones in stock, the lady told me with a straight face that “Android phones do not run CDMA”! Duh Africom we are not all dumb…. PLEASE! Just tell us the truth, you don’t have them in stock.

Then with my research I bumped onto this website http://www.redmobile.co.zw and they sell CDMA phones at exhobitant prices. At least you can get a CDMA phone.

The crazy thing was some ZTE Android phone which costs $285 whilsts it was running Android 2.1.

A ZTE Racer II costs $75 from Econet and  a Huawei cost $90, what is so different from a phone that runs an ancient version af Android to cost so musc? A plain rippof!

Well, besides all these hurdles, I think Africom is a good network to look out for.

Africom vs Powertel

One reader of this blog requested that I do a Powertel vs Africom article. Here i goes reader.

First some background.

I never bought a Powertel Dongle neither did I buy an Africom dongle. However I used both extensively. I used Powertel’s Dongle for close to a whole month. The Africom dongle I used it for close to six weeks.

We will start by focusing our eyes on Powertel.

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When my brother borrowed me his dongle, I was happy. I thought this is the opportunity to do all sorts of things. I plugged the dongle onto my laptop and I saw magick.

I opened facebook, searched some ex-Japanese cars and the experience was smooth.

All hell broke loose on day number three. The good speeds dropped to tortoise slow speeds.

I could hardly open my email, even if I choose the faster HTML version only of Gmail.

I asked my brother what it was and he told me it happens a lot.

Well, the $50 dollars per month all you can eat deal is really great, untill you heat slow territory. I enquired with the Powertel guys and they said “Our engineers are looking into it”!

Infact so bad was the customer care that the fellow didnt have a clue about what I was talking about really.

When I pressed him for more info he told me to wait for the engineer to explain. I tried every trick in the book, using a long extension cable, putting my dongle on a raised place outside my window and nothing faster than a snail was experienced.

Then I checked online and I saw that this was a perennial and universal Powertel issue…

I then borrowed my friends Africom dongle..

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This was better than the Powertel thing by miles… In fact it was so good. The network has a huge uptime and very rare cases were you have 0.2kbps speeds that I experienced with Powertel.

However, comparing these two Africom is way ahead. It beats Powertel and leaves it clutching the dust.  It shamelessly outdid the Powertel thing on countless occasions. (The only time I got decent speeds on Powertel was midnight to 4am)

Powertel has a $25 per Gigabyte fee. For heavy internet usage that is really a paltry amount.

The Winner

Africom wins hands down. If only they could make their data plans cheaper. If you look at it, at $50 you get 2.5 gigs from Econet Wireless and you get only 2 gig from Africom!! Hey Africom Econet is supposed to be expensive than most.

Besides, honestly Econet has better speeds than Africom. Since this is an Powertel vs Africom post, lets leave Econet out of this..

Alternative Apps that you can install on your smartphone

The two monster apps that most ZImbabwean’s install on their phones are whatsapp and Opera Mini.

However these are not the only apps that you can enjoy on your smartphone.

Please not that, some of these apps do not behave like whatsapp and Opera Mini. These two apps do not use much data and they can save you a yon of cash. This means that some of these apps will use so much data on your phone you wil think Econet is stealing your money. However if you work at a company with free WIFI enjoy these apps to the maximum

1. Snapchat

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This one cool app for fooling around. This app ahs hogged negative limelight in the USA as it is thought that some really rude and porn pictures are sent by teens. The beauty of it is that it sends photos that self destruct in 10 seconds. No matter what there is no trace of the picture in your phone.

As you can see, its easy to send nude pictures of yourself knowing that there won’t be any proof of them later on.

WeChat

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Wechat is a whatsapp wannabe. It copied all from whatsapp! The colours and all. However, when I installed Wechat the only gripe I had was that I couldn’t find my friends on the platform. However, I liked the Shake-and-Find feature where you only shake your phone and people near-by shaking their phones would be shown to you. Cool feature that huh!

BInu

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Most people once they get hooked on whatsapp they forget sms altogether, except if Econet surprises them with those advert sms.

Binu is an app for all phones including Nokia, e.t.c. Binu can save you your cash when you want to send those sms to people who are not on whatsapp. That’s not all, Binu is now faster on Android, the app has been improved a lot.

And another bonus is that you access a lot of other apps within Binu itself without installing them on your phone. I like the WolrdReader App within Binu, there are some cool free books to read there. Besides, the games can entertain you for hours on end. However, withourt a data connection Binu is as good as dead.

By chiefwriter Posted in General

Zimbabwe’s top phones to date!

Below we write some of the phones that we really believe made a huge mark in the lives of all Zimbabweans from all walks of life.

1. The first phone to hit our list is none other than the hefty Nokia 5110

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This candy-bar phone was the in-thing. Too bad those who were born around 2000 do not know this phone. With its long form, people didn’t mind shohing off this monster in Commuter Omnibuses. The phone surfaced in the days when Econet was still cutting its teeth in the “phone network” business. The phone was god at “catching” the network, those days “boosters” were sparse and far away from each other and you had to stand on a raised spot and be still coz network might “go”!

2. The Nokia 3310 makes the second spot

Nokia 3310

The Nokia 3310 took over from its hefty 5110. However where the 5110 ws heavy looking and masculine, the 3310 brought with it femine looks and smooth curves and it became a hit with mainly women folk. This phone once saw its price shooting out of the ceiling when crazy rumours suggested that it could unlock cars and Nigerians were buying these phones like there was no tommorrow.

The 3310 had a wide following in Zimbabwe and one of it’s striking features was the lack of an long aeriel.

3. The Motorola Razor takes third spot.

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Motorola took celebrity status overnight with this slimmer and sharper than ever clamshell phone aka flipphone. The phone wowed many with its impressive slimness and sharp screen. It was a full colour high resolution screen that was used mainly by the high heeled. People would even flip it using their cheeks in commuter omnibus so the whole world sees that they have a Motorola Razr.

4. Samsung E250

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The Samsung E250 was a beauty from the Samsung Giant. The Slide phone was slim and could take photos with its camera. The resolution was pathetic but the fact that it took photos and could do facebook was a huge selling point. This phone established the Samsung brand as a mobile phone maker in Zimbabwe. Afterwards Samsung spawned a wjhole lot phones imitating the E250. Phones like the J700 and D900, D900i were all inspired by the E250.

5. Last but not least SMADL

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These phones hit the scene just after the country dollarised when Zim was coming from extreme poverty. It used to cost upward of $100 and people would buy these Chinese gadgets like they were IPhones. These metal cased phones had so much noise some people hated them for that very reason.

However, these SMADL things were hot because they had memory card slots, cameras, torch ( a huge plus in blackout country like Zimbabwe ) and an FM radio. These features were a huge selling point they inspired companies like G-Tide and Boabab to set up shop and make simillar phones. However, G-Tide now wants to shake itself of that image and it has re-branded to G-Tel and it now makes Android smartphones. But SMADL put them on the map.

Hope you liked this post and enjoyed reading it.. cha cha!

 

KingSoft Office On Adroid

My friend borrowed me his G-Tel 707 android smartphone and as a phone fanatic I tinkered a bit with the apps in his phone.

What caught my eye was the KingSoft Office Suite. Well, I played around with it and I was so impressed.

The OfFice suit has a Word Proccessor, a Presentation and SpreadSheet function only.

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What impressed me was that the application was free and not only that, it was fast and minimal. You could do all the things you do on a MicroSost Word but without all those confusing icons that come with word.

The presentation preparationm was snappy and good. Well, honestly I have never used spread sheets and I don’t know how they work but I bet you they are really good.

Doing my little research I found out that you could also use the Office suit on Windows 7 and 8 and it costs you a mere $69.

Well, I have pirated copies of Windows but this application I am buying as it is so good.

It turns your Android phone from a mere whatsapp tool to a full fledged productivity machine that it is meant to be.

NetOne Finally catches up! Offers Data Bundles

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NetOne is finally offering internet data bundles. As of late you could only use your airtime to browse the internet and you were charged at 7 cents per Mega Byte, cheaper than Econet’s On The Go Option that saw your chewing a hefty 15 cents per Mega Byte of Data.

However one thing you have to note is that you will need to purchase physical scratch cards that are dedicated to internet bundles to have these bundles in your phone. This is a time consuming way of doing it and I guess it will turn some people away.

If you are coming from the Econet and Telecel World where you use USSD codes you might get a little miffed by the whole scratch card affair.

However one thing I noted though is that if you purchase the $10 bundle from NetOne, you actually get more juice for your whatsapp and Opera Mini browsing!

In fact for $10 you get 285 Mega Bytes from NetOne and for the same amount you get only 200 Mega Bytes from Econet.

With TeIecel, for $10 you get a mere 160 Mega Bytes! But wait a minute don’t lose heart, Telecel will double those Mega Bytes to make them 320! So for $10 Telecel is the cheapest of the three!

I usually buy my bundles in ten dollar denominations that is why I noticed the difference.

Thumbs up to NetOne for catching up with th rest of the world.

Whatsapp the Zimpost Killer?

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Zimpost’s logo is touting it as a very fast and effecient organisation. We do not know about reliabilty or efficiency but on fast, we beg to differ!

With a plethora of messaging apps mushrooming in all parts of the world, NetOne is dead slow. Imagine having to wait seven days for a reply in these days of whatsapp!

NetOne had an all time high in the early 2000 when it used to handle a mammoth 100 million letters a year. Now, according to a report in the press, Zimpost handles a mere 15 million missives a year. One thing of signaificance is that these are mainly business-to-consumer letters. well those Edgars, City Council and so-forth letters which can’t be delivered vis whatsapp ofcourse.

Meanwhile whatsapp, the most popular app in Zimbabwe, in-fact, its the single most deciding factor when one is purchasing a smartphone! People ask only one question “Does it Do whatsapp?” Is handling a behemoth 27 Billion Messages a SINGLE day.

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With the internet usage on the rise, is there anything that Zimpost can do to stop its impending demise? Because people will lose jobs.

Huawei Unveils The Worlds Thinnest Smartphone: The Huawei Ascend P6

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Huawei, that Chinese company that unleashes cool phones has unveiled the worlds thinnest smartphone. Powered by the worlds top mobile OS, Android the phone weighs a mere 120 grammes, just about the same weight as six table spoons of sugar!

Measuring only 6.18 mm, this phone is razor sharp as compared to say the Samsung Galaxy S4 which has a width of 7.9 mm and a weight of 130 grammes.

Powered by a 1.5 Ghz quad-core processor, 2GBytes of RAM, this phone has got enough oomph to power most applications effortlessly.

The screen is super huge but handleable at 4.7 Inches.

The back shooter camera is a 8Mega Pixel affair and the front facing camera is 5Mega Pixel, giving you clearer images when on Skype or Viber.