Here’s what I see on my end if I click downvote, but since I don’t know anyone else with the feature I don’t know what it might look on their end. #FacebookDownvote
For many years, African countries served as the growth engine for the global smartphone market. Recent times, however, tell a different story. In 2016, according to Strategy Analytics, global smartphone sales grew at a modest 2 percent and the landscape in Africa also saw a dip from what had been a 39 percent year-over-year growth rate.
However, smartphone manufacturers and component developers have good reason to believe another boom is right around the corner, and last year’s decline in smartphone shipments into Africa is likely to be a blip on the radar before high growth rates resume. Why? In many cases, external factors driven by economic turmoil in several African countries are to blame for some of the smartphone industry stagnation. Nigeria, for example, experienced an economic downturn and a shortage of foreign exchange, which impacted sales of imported products, including smartphones. Many African nations experience periods of economic instability but a few regions, particularly the Middle East, offer signs of hope for future growth.
That’s according to Dominique Friedl, Head of Corporate Sales for South and Sub Saharan Africa at MediaTek, one of the world’s largest leading semiconductor manufacturers and a major supplier of components to makers of mobile devices. He says that stalling smartphone growth last year caught the industry by surprise, but shouldn’t be seen as a long-term trend.
The slow-down is the result of saturated market situations in several regions and complicated by economic headwinds in some countries. Strategy Analytics, though, expects the Africa Middle East region will be the growth engine for the global smartphone market in the upcoming years. The Middle East region of Africa is projected to grow at 13 percent in 2017 and 9 percent in 2018, respectively. Both figures rate as the top marks among all major regions thanks in part to lower smartphone penetration rates and a generally healthy economic climate.
With a sense of normality returning to economics across Africa, what will help the smartphone industry prosper in the next few years? For one, industry leaders are expected to increase their focus on putting affordable smartphones in more people’s hands as mobile subscriber penetration approaches saturation levels across Africa. This focus on smartphones, in turn, will help boost data revenues for network operators in a market where voice revenue growth has flatlined.
According to the GSM Association, average selling price (ASP) of smartphones has fallen significantly in most markets across sub Saharan Africa: Smartphone average prices across Africa were $160 in 2015, down from around $230 in 2012. Sub $50 smartphones are becoming a reality, with prices below $30 as the next target. Cost effective components, leaner operating systems and larger volumes will help reduce the pricing and drive sales.
Go high, Go low
Two key factors could help bring the cost of devices down for consumers: The pending availability of Android Go, a streamlined version of the Google mobile operating system, and the rise of chipset manufacturers offering systems-on-chip (SoCs). Android Go was designed for low-power devices, and it has anticipated that the operating system will enable handset manufacturers to ship smartphones that while not as full-featured as a flagship device, still offer a reliable and responsive end-user experience. Also, SoCs allow smartphone brands to design rugged and affordable 3G and 4G LTE devices for the mass market.
African countries continue to experience a degree of volatility due to factors such as currency and economic instabilities, lack of locally relevant content and technical literacy and affordability. However, falling smartphone and data prices should lead to the next African smartphone boom in the longer term. Indeed, the GSMA projects an increase in the availability of low-cost devices in the region which could add a further half a billion smartphone connections by 2020.
Facebook is testing a new feature to let you quickly report abusive comments to the company.
On Thursday, a mysterious option called “downvote” began to appear over the platform. Only a select number of Facebook users have access to it, but the function is found on any comment made on public page posts.
Despite the name, the feature is nothing like Reddit’s own downvoting option, which can demote questionable content further down the comment section. Facebook’s own spin on the downvoting is more about flagging inappropriate or offensive content.
Currently, a user can report an abusive comment over the platform by clicking on the “…” next to it and selecting “Hide comment.” Facebook will then let you alert the company about the post, but the whole process isn’t exactly intuitive. (On the mobile app, you can do so by holding down on a comment, and then selecting report.)
In contrast, the company’s downvoting feature gives you a clearer avenue to complain about a comment. Once clicked, the option will automatically hide the comment from view and ask why you had a problem with it. Four answers are given including offensive, misleading, off-topic and other.
Still, Facebook created some confusion with the test feature by naming it “downvote.” This prompted speculation that the company was about to take a page from Reddit and implement actual comment downvoting.
Facebook stressed the function is nothing akin to a dislike button.
“We are not testing a dislike button,” the company said in an email. “We are exploring a feature for people to give us feedback about comments on public page posts.”
Christina Hudler, who lives in Jacksonville, N.C., was among the Facebook users who noticed the mysterious feature pop up on Thursday. She too thought the test feature was similar to Reddit’s downvoting function.
Nevertheless, Hudler said abusive comments can be problematic on Facebook. She herself is the owner of a social media marketing agency called Hudler Social.
“Right now when people see an irrelevant or nasty comment all they can do is angry react or leave a comment,” she told PCMag. “And those things actually push it up in the comments.”
Whether Facebook will make the downvoting feature official one day is unclear, but the company has vowed to make the platform better for society. It intends to do so by curbing abuse over the platform and making sure it can build online communities as opposed to wasting people’s time.
On 6 February 2018, it emerged that OLX, an African e-commerce platform, has shut down all its offices in Africa except the one in South Africa. The company, which is owned by Multinational media group and investor Naspers, has thus shut down operations in Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya, according to a report by Nigerian Communications Week.
OLX is a global classifieds platform, which has a physical presence in nearly 40 countries.
According to a report by Innovation Village, the staff working within the offices were informed about the closure on 6 February 2018 and are expected to fully move out by the end of March 2018. OLX will reportedly still be present in these countries but will be run remotely, the Nigerian and Kenyan websites of OLX are still up and running.
Speaking to TechpointNG, Sjoerd Nikkelen, CEO of OLX in Asia, Middle East, and Africa confirmed that OLX has indeed shut down physical operations in Nigeria. He, however, made no mention of Kenya or Ghana.
“We made a difficult but important decision in Nigeria to consolidate our operations between some of our offices internationally. Our marketplace will continue to operate here — uninterrupted — as it has since 2010, and we remain committed to the many people here who use our platform to buy and sell every month. We continue to be focused on constantly innovating to make sure that OLX remains the top classifieds platform in the country. Of course, we are committed to helping our affected colleagues during this transition and have already offered them meaningful financial and other support. As we’ve expressed to them directly, we are extremely grateful for their many significant contributions to OLX’s success,” said Nikkelen.
Kenya has finalized payment for its 4G LTE license Kenya. The telecom operator paid $25 million license fee for the 4G LTE 800 MHz signal.
Airtel Kenya has not yet officially launched the high-speed network, but it has been testing the signal across the country since April 2017 with an aim to grow sites covered by the spectrum to 65 sites. In October 2017, the company applied to extend its 4G trial license.
Airtel is the second telco in Kenya to acquire a full 4G license after Safaricom which acquired 4G in January of 2017 after a two-year trial phase.
“We are in the process of rolling out 4G and we expect to officially launch soon. We are driving towards the fastest speeds at the most affordable rates in Kenyan market with Airtel 4G.
Customers with 4G-enabled phones together with 4G SIM cards are now able to experience our 4G network in various parts of Nairobi,” said Airtel Kenya.
Telkom Kenya and Jamii Telecom have also rolled out 4G for home broadband and mobile telecommunications respectively in a bid to increase their market share.
Data from CA shows that during the June-September period Airtel Networks Limited recorded a market share of 15.7 percent in mobile data subscriptions, second to Safaricom’s 76 percent market share.
The Authority has been keen to switch to the high-speed 4G network from 3G, saying it will enable the telcos to offer broadband-based TV broadcasts.
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