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BLACKBERRY ANNOUNCES $200 SMARTPHONE, BUT EMPHASISES SECURITY

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BlackBerry chief executive brings the company back to its business roots, focusing on secure messaging and a new phone that features the ‘classic’ trademark trackpad and keyboard

z3

BlackBerry is working with Chinese manufacturing company Foxconn to produce a new, cheaper smartphone that will sell for under $200, it was announced on Tuesday.

The chief executive John Chen told the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that the Z3 will launch in Indonesia in April, and that it was built in just three months instead of the usual 12.

Chen said the handset would eventually be released in other markets “with an LTE version sometime before I die”. The handset is entirely touchscreen, but Chen also announced a second new “classic” phone, the Q20, that will be released before the end of the year – which will feature BlackBerry’s trademark mechanical keyboard and also revives its trackpad.

It will resemble older BlackBerry models, but will use the new BB10 software.

“Almost everyone I’ve met, in government, enterprise, loves the keyboard, but it turns out what they love just as much is the little belt above the keyboard that held the trackpad and buttons, which is why they didn’t like the Q10. So we decided to listen to customers, and give them what they want.”

Foxconn owner Terry Gou said: “We have 100% confidence in BB and we are fully supporting them. We will make this work.”

Secure messaging future

Chen went on to announce that the company will promote its expertise in secure messaging with a new service called BBM Protected.

Chen, who took charge of the company in November, vowed to take the company back into the black by the end of the fiscal year and into profitability next year.

He said his path to turning the business around was centred on secure communications and productivity for the regulated industries, including banking, government, healthcare and other data-secure business.

“We are still committed to the device business, but one of our turnaround strategies is to focus on enterprise, the regulated industry and our server business,” said Chen at a session with the press at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

BBM Protected

Chen explained that BlackBerry’s profitable server business, the BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), will be the focus for the company in the immediate future, with a new version BES 12 due to be released by the end of the year that will bring cross platform compatibility with Windows Phone, as well as Android and iPhone.

BlackBerry will leverage its popular cross-platform messaging service, BBM, which currently has 85 million monthly active users (WhatsApp has 465 million monthly active users). Its new BBM Protected service will offer enterprise customers secure, encrypted end-to-end messaging as well as allow companies to keep a record of conversations for compliance regulations. It will be the first of a suite of enterprise BBM applications and services.

‘Spread ourselves a little too thin’

Chen admitted that the company’s consumer focus damaged BlackBerry’s standings in the enterprise space, which it was historically strong.

“There’s a certain truth to the fact that we focused on the consumer, spreading ourselves a little too thin, before I came on board. I have now rectified that,” Chen said.

Clarifying his position on apps, Chen said that security was of paramount importance and that the level of certification required for entry into the BlackBerry World app store was going to be very high ensuring security on the platform, “we feel that’s a value add.”

Chen also explained that the company was also working on high-end devices, which is something business users demand accord to BlackBerry, but that he could not talk about them at this stage.

source:http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/feb/25/blackberry-smartphone-security-business-keyboard

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Business

ONEPLUS IS GOING TO START MAKING TVS

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OnePlus is is getting into a new line of business: making TVs. Best known for its phones, China’s OnePlus also has a small catalog of really good accessories like wireless earphonesand surprisingly awesome backpacks, though nothing as complex or expensive as a television set. In announcing the news on the OnePlus online forums, company chief Pete Lau describes it as “the first step in building a connected human experience.”

Every hardware manufacturer is now looking intently at ways to monetize the smart home space. Samsung and Huawei recently announced smart speakers, Apple and Google already have the HomePod and Google Home, respectively, and Microsoft and Sony are old incumbents with their Xbox and PlayStation consoles. OnePlus has decided to make its entry point into this market the TV itself, which has always been at the center of home entertainment, though often with the help of other connected devices. Reading Lau’s teaser announcement, the OnePlus TV — which so far only has a project name, no timeline or specs have been revealed — will serve as the connectivity hub for OnePlus’ future vision of the smart home.

The OnePlus smart TV will be developed by a new division within OnePlus, led by Pete Lau himself. Still at the earliest stages of development, OnePlus is currently seeking input from its fans, as it often does, about what their priorities with a future smart TV will be.

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Finance

LAGOS TO HOST BIANNUAL AFRICA FINTECH SUMMIT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NOVEMBER

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The Summit, organized by Dedalus Global, gathers innovators, investors, policy makers and other key stakeholders in the Fintech sector to discuss technologies transforming finance on the continent, debate regulatory policies, compare best practices, and forge new ventures
LAGOS, Nigeria, September 17, 2018/ — Africa’s premier fintech event, the Africa Fintech Summit, (www.AfricaFintechSummit.com) will be held for the first time in Lagos, Nigeria, onNovember 8-9, 2018. This event comes on the heels of the earlier edition in Washington D.C. which featured leading policy makers, c-suite business executives, start-ups, and investors.

The Summit, organized by Dedalus Global, gathers innovators, investors, policy makers and other key stakeholders in the Fintech sector to discuss technologies transforming finance on the continent, debate regulatory policies, compare best practices, and forge new ventures.

Speaking on the decision to bring the Summit to Lagos, the Chairman of the Summit, Leland Rice, said, “Lagos is an ideal host city; it’s an epicenter of Africa’s fintech revolution and the driving force behind the continent’s entrepreneurial spirit. The successes of companies such as Paga, Flutterwave, Mines.io, and Paystack have strategically positioned Lagos as the destination of choice for investors.”

“The first edition of the Summit in D.C. was a launch pad for several milestone fintech deals struck among its delegates in the months after the event. We plan to build on these successes in Lagos, with a focus on bringing innovators and policy makers together to move the needle on fintech regulation and bringing founders and investors together to facilitate further capital raises,” added Leland.

The two-day event will feature investor missions from the US, UK, and UAE, an Alpha Expo featuring the most exciting startups and entrepreneurs in Nigeria, a half-day blockchain masterclass, and an awards ceremony.

Reacting to the decision to host the Summit in Lagos, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Technology, Lanre Osibona, stated, “This reflects the progress Nigeria is making in the areas of technology and financial services. The event is very important as it comes at the heels of the Vice President Osinbajo’s trip to Silicon Valley to promote Nigeria’s tech sector. We look forward to collaborating with the organizing committee and to a successful event in Lagos.”

In similar vein, Tayo Oviosu, the founder of Paga—a payment company that recently raised $10 million in Series B2 funding—said that “the Africa Fintech Summit in Washington D.C. provided valuable insights into the fintech space and connected me with key players in the industry. I look forward to the Lagos edition.”

Speakers lined up for the event include Chief Economist of PwC Nigeria, Dr. Andrew S. Nevin; Managing General Partner of EchoVC, Eghosa Omoigui; CEO of Diamond Bank, Uzoma Dozie; Founder of Flutterwave, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji; and CEO of PayStack, Shola Akinlade, whose company recently raised $8 million Series A funding

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Dedalus Global.

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For more information, please contact:
Ridwan Sorunke
Directory of Communications, AFTS
Ridwan@AfricaFintechSummit.com
+234 (0) 8037885760
+1 2023166726

About Dedalus Global

Dedalus Global (https://VC4A.com/dedalus-global/) is an investment and strategy advisory firm focusing on emerging markets and emerging technologies. With networks throughout Africa and the Middle East, we leverage granular market knowledge to drive innovation, accelerate capital deployment, and create value for our clients and the economies where they operate.

About Africa Fintech Summit (AFTS)

The Africa Fintech Summit (www.AfricaFintechSummit.com) is a biannual event that brings together leading disruptors, tech and finance professionals, regulators, and investors from around the globe to debate policies, compare best practices, and forge Africa-focused ventures. AFTS leverages the growth of the fintech sector in Africa to bring key stakeholders to discuss the technologies transforming finance on the continent.

To learn more about AFTS, please visit www.AfricaFintechSummit.com

View a recap from the AFTS Washington: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIdDS-u0rXE

SOURCE
Dedalus Global

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Business

AMAZON IS REPORTEDLY BUILDING A FREE STREAMING VIDEO SERVICE FOR FIRE TV OWNERS

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Amazon is said to be prepping an ad-supported streaming video service; it’ll be available to folks who own any of the company’s Fire TV streaming dongles and set-top boxes, reports The Information.

It’ll be separate from Prime Video, which offers a range of licensed shows and movies, as well original content produced by Amazon, to people who are subscribed to Prime.

Amazon's latest streaming device is the Fire TV Cube
Credit: Amazon
Amazon’s latest streaming device is the Fire TV Cube

Do you like good gadgets?

Those sweet cool gadgets?

Oh, yeah

The idea behind this upcoming service, which is dubbed Free Dive, is to help Amazon bring in more revenue through advertising. Ads presently account for a small fraction – about $2 billion out of more than $200 billion – of its annual revenue, but they offer higher margins than retail, and are one of Amazon’s fastest growing earners company-wide.

To that end, the company’s been selling ad space on its site, and is slated to run ads during live sporting events on Prime Video. It also turned off ad-free viewing on Twitch – its game video streaming service – for Prime subscribers earlier this month.

Free Dive could give Amazon a chance to rival Roku, which offers a similar ad-supported streaming service for owners of its devices and is expected to reach 59 million users by the end of 2018. Roku also made its ‘Channel’ service available via the web earlier this month to folks in the US, so you don’t need the company’s hardware to access it. It’ll be interesting to see if Amazon follows suit – and how it plays its cards with customers across the globe, especially in cost-conscious markets like India, where it’s expanding its media offerings.

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