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No smartphone or internet? No problem; AI-backed phone has the answers

No smartphone or internet? No problem; AI-backed phone has the answers

VISUALLY-IMPAIRED Nigerian Kehinde Olutubosun is a geography and animal enthusiast who struggled to find information because he has no smartphone. But that is changing, thanks to an Artificial Intelligence-powered mobile phone that works offline. The service, launched by Canada-based Viamo in Nigeria last month, allows anyone – even in the middle of nowhere without the internet - to access AI technology. Viamo uses a traditional handset to tap into local mobile phone networks to send commands or requests for information through SMS or voice calls. It works like other AI chatbots and can be used by illiterate persons since it…
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New battleground for Africa’s mobile market

New battleground for Africa’s mobile market

CONRAD ONYANGO, BIRD STORY AGENCY SHIPMENTS of smartphones that cost between US$100 to $200 are on the rise in Africa, defying a general slump in shipments caused by skyrocketing inflation, global supply chain woes and economic uncertainties. The segment's share of shipments rose from 41.6% in quarter 3 2022, to 43.8% in quarter 4 2022 as vendors raced to launch affordable smartphones with premium features targeting youthful customers. Insights from the International Data Corporation (IDC) show that while competition in the entry-level market segment heated up in 2022, incumbent (Transsion-owned) brands Tecno, Infinix and Itel - lost some ground to…
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Smart weather app helps Kenya’s herders brace for drought

Smart weather app helps Kenya’s herders brace for drought

KAGONDU NJAGI SITTING under a low tree to escape the blazing Kenyan sun, Kaltuma Milkalkona and two young men hunch intently over the older woman's smartphone - but they are not transfixed by the latest sports scores or a trending internet meme. The men instead are looking at a weather alert for their village in the country's north, sent through an app that uses weather station data to help pastoralists prepare for drought. The myAnga app on Milkalkona's phone showed that Merille would continue facing dry weather and that "pasture conditions (were) expected to be very poor with no grass…
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‘Lifeline’ tech helps poor rural women get through India’s COVID-19 crisis

‘Lifeline’ tech helps poor rural women get through India’s COVID-19 crisis

ROLI SRIVASTAVA and ANURADHA NAGARAJ ANAJANA Lalaji Bise's precious last photograph of her husband is a picture he sent to her on WhatsApp a few days before he died from COVID-19 in a hospital in western India. Bise had to quarantine at home after her husband, a farmer, was hospitalised last month, but she was able to stay in touch with him using a smartphone given to her by a local nonprofit to help her small snack business operate during the pandemic. India's COVID-19 crisis has exposed a wide digital divide, prompting many grassroots groups to focus on connecting poorer…
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