Categories
Tips

Get Your Own US Mobile Number Here In Nigeria

nextplusFancy having your own US mobile number to receive and make calls with, even here within Nigeria? Or to send and receive SMS with?

NextPlus is a mobile phone service that provides unique virtual 10-digit mobile phone numbers with every android (and iOS) app install, thanks to its partnership with Level 3. Calls and texts to any U.S. number is free, while it charges discount rates for international calls and messages.

Perhaps what sealed the deal for me on this app is that it allows you to subscribe to Gmail’s 2 step verification, a service not available in Nigeria.

You do not pay any amount to acquire the number, though you are required to play a call or send a SMS with the app at least once a month.

Nextplus also assigns local mobile numbers for two other countries; the UK and Canada.

Not yet uhuru about the app though. Services like Whatsapp and a string of others do not permit virtual numbers on their platform.

Categories
Hack

Using Gmail’s 2- Factor Authentication In Nigeria

Wikipedia defines Two-step verification (also known as Two-factor authentication, abbreviated to TFA) as a process involving two stages to verify the identity of an entity trying to access services in a computer or in a network.

For Gmail, what this means is that even if your password is compromised, no one can have access to your mails unless they also 2f1have access to your mobile line. Unless you add your laptop as a trusted device, everytime you log into your email account over the web, you will be required to also input a one-time code before gaining access to your mails.

Nice, isn’t it.

For Nigerians, the bad part. Curiously, Gmail does not support Nigerian mobile lines at all.

Fortunately, there is a way around this. Simply put, all you need do is get a valid US number that you can receive SMS on.

And How do you get this?

Heywire is the maker of a free consumer text messaging app available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone, with millions of users. It is also available on your PC using your browser. They give you a real US mobile number for free with which you can text or receive SMS from any mobile messaging service. The person you are texting or receiving SMS from DOES NOT need to have a HeyWire account, you can text them directly to their normal phone.

  • The app allows you to send free texts messages to mobile phones in 45 countries over WiFi or 3G – Excluding Nigeria of course.
  • However, you can receive text messages from any mobile line or bulk messaging services.
  • Text FREE from the Web: Go to app.heywire.com, login with your HeyWire number
  • 1 HeyWire account across all your devices — iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad & Computer
  • Text using Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G, or LTE.

With this app, you can configure the 2-Step Verification for your Gmail account using your Heywire US number to receive your code.

2f2

Categories
Lifestyle Technology

Tracking The Cheating Spouse

sb10064861z-001Vehicle GPS trackers made a foray into the Nigerian market over a decade ago, and was made popular by the insurance companies who bundled these devices with their comprehensive insurance packages. The primary purpose of these devices is to help in reducing the risks the insurance companies face in the event of theft of these cars.

However, some people have found a different use for this device which may not have been the intention of the manufacturers of this technology – Spouse Tracking.

Ever so often, spouses tend to have reasons to suspect their partners of infidelity; the perpetual late nights at work, work trips, cutting off calls when you come into the room, and perhaps, lack of interest in “you know what”. Stories abound everywhere of marital infidelity, and it is becoming increasing common place and many even see it as a norm.

A temptation to have an affair can come from all over. Lures from a co-worker whom they spend lots of time with or go on business trips with, the house help that watches your children, your so called good friend or even a neighbor.

The thing is, you may have not gone all out to get and fix the device on your partner’s car, as it may have been installed by the insurance company but the fact is, the vehicle GPS tracker does a very good job keeping track of the movement of the car occupant, even keeping a log of locations visited for future reference. It is just a matter of you taking charge of the SMS or internet services required to monitor this movement of the vehicle. You may even go a step further and install a discreet video camera as an add-on to the GPS device to get a video and audio feedback from your spouse’s car.

Alternatively, if what you have is a “tokunboh” (fairly used) car that you did not bother to fix a tracker in, most smartphones now come with GPS feature. Apps like SMS & Call Mobile Monitor,  available on the android and the iOS platforms, even allows you to check on the content of your partner’s phone in addition to tracking her movement.

Well, this sort of raise ethical issues (as if jealous spouses care about this 🙂 ) but i am very sure some spouses have taken even more extreme measures to catch a cheating partner especially in Nigeria where voodoo is very common place. The mythical magun charm easily comes to mind.

Categories
Articles

20 Important African Startups to Watch

Kenya’s huge success with mobile money and the M-Pesa platform has launched Africa into the startup spotlight.

But African innovation goes way beyond mobile money. Whether it’s ecommerce in Nigera, price comparison in South Africa or mobile advertising in Tanzania, African startups are not only changing their continent, but the world.

1. Saya – Ghana

Chat messaging clients are hugely popular across Africa. Mobile chat app Saya Mobile builds on the success of such services. It works across the iOS, Android, Blackberry and Java platforms, and is a product of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) based in Accra.

2. Ushahidi – Kenya

Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, was initially a website developed to map reports of violence around the 2008 Kenyan election. The company has since evolved to become a tech non-profit that specializes in developing free open-source software for data collection, visualization and interactive mapping.

3. AdsBrook – Ghana

Digital and mobile advertising is big business everywhere, including Africa. AdsBrook provides a network of channels for advertisers to run integrated campaigns. Headed by New York-born Derek Jason Bossman, who relocated to Ghana with his parents as a teenager, the company operates in West Africa and is rapidly expanding across the continent.

4. Gloo.ng – Nigeria

In Lagos, a city of 21 million people with 30,000 more arriving every day, the idea of running an online grocery business seems insane, but Gloo somehow manages to grow. Founder Dr. Olumide Olusanya gave up his medical practice to devote time to building his business. It now employs more than 100 people.

5. Mara Online – Uganda

Mara Online is a family of web and mobile platforms that allow users to communicate, interact and collaborate. Sometimes referred to as Africa’s answer to Skype, the May launch of the company saw a chartered jet fly over Silicon Valley with a Mara-branded banner that read, “It’s Time For Africa.”

6. Aim Group – Tanzania

This digital agency is disrupting the media, marketing and brand space by harnessing social media and traditional communications. The company works with major African brands, such as Vodacom, Castle, Tigo and Ndovu to extend their reach and messaging.

7. PriceCheck – South Africa

As the largest price comparison site in South Africa and Africa as a whole, PriceCheck considers the prices of thousands of products. In May it faced 100,000 other entrants to win the International “App of the Year” at the BlackBerry Live conference in Florida.

8. Iroko Partners – Nigeria

Iroko is the world’s largest distributor of African entertainment, including Nigeria’s huge Nollywood film industry. Launched at the end of 2010, the company has a global audience of more than 6 million users from 178 countries — it’s regularly referred to as “Africa’s Netflix.”

9. biNu – South Africa

BiNu mobile app platform can boost Internet speeds by 10 times, which means even the most basic phones can have smartphone-like capabilities. Its more than 100 channels include social media, news, weather, entertainment and free books. BiNu users can also interact with each other via news feeds, social profiles and messaging.

10. Konga – Nigeria

One of Nigeria’s leading online megastores, Konga is growing rapidly across its mobile and SMS platforms. Founded in the summer of 2012, the company now has 150 employees. It promises to deliver products that range from flatscreen TVs to cosmetics anywhere in the country, within five days.

11. Bozza – South Africa

Backed by HP Ventures, Bozza is a mobile social networking startup aimed at township users. It’s headed by entrepreneur Emma Kaye, who describes the service as “a place to discover and share content, enabling small enterprises in a township environment to collaborate and prosper.”

12. Njorku – Cameroon

Launched in March 2011, the Njorku job search engine helps users find careers across Africa. Active in seven countries, the platform offers free and unlimited access to hundreds of thousands of job listings. The company has already raised seed funding from a business angel in France and a Canada-based technology company.

13. Fawry – Egypt

Fawry is a payment service customers can use through banks, post offices and a nationwide network of retailers. Services range from bill payment to Internet and mobile banking. The company employs 250 people and has already collected more than $220 million.

14. Spinlet – Nigeria

As a mobile music download platform, Spinlet offers media distribution to emerging markets in Africa. It encourages the social aspect of music by making it easy to create and share playlists to friends within the application, while enabling both the purchase and discovery of new music.

15. MXit – South Africa

MXit is Africa’s biggest social network, with 50 million users across more than 3,000 different mobile phones. Users can send free online messages, enjoy multiplayer games, buy music, exchange goods and even trade on the stock market.

16. Dropifi – Ghana

Dropifi users can see data in relation to industry metrics, access demographic and social media profiles of message senders and analyze the real sentiment behind the messages they receive. In May 2013, it became the first African company to join the 500 Startups Accelerator Program in Silicon Valley.

17. ForgiveMeNot Africa – Zimbabwe

ForgetMeNot Africa’s optimizer technology converts Facebook “actions,” emails and chat messages into SMS formats, without connecting to the Internet. The company’s ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe’s eTXT service is a cheaper alternative than a fixed-line Internet connection or most Internet cafés.

18. Jumia – Nigeria

As Africa’s biggest online shopping mall, Jumia operates in Egypt, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Kenya as an “African Amazon.” In March 2013 it received a $26 million investment from Summit Partners, which it will use to expand business to other African countries.

19. moWoza – South Africa

The company’s commerce service focuses on mobile as a delivery platform. Customers can “shop wherever they are, at any time” and register with a licensed agent. When the transaction is complete, both the customer and beneficiary are informed by SMS, which also indicates where the parcel can be collected.

20. Afroes – South Africa/Kenya

Afroes produces applications and content for young people, which contain educational and social messages. It is in development with a series of mobile games and SMS reporting platforms that will form the interactive component of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, “Champion for Children campaign.” In 2012, the company won the prestigious MEF Social Responsibility and Development Award for its Moraba game in London.

 

Source

Categories
Articles

Are Nigerian Mobile Networks Heading For Financial Crisis?

Recently, one of Nigeria’s four GSM Service Providers, Etisalat Nigeria, rolled out a unique bundle offering  called EasyFlex. In this offering, you get to choose a bundle comprising of Short Messaging Service (SMS), voice and data services.

For N1000, one of the plans offer you 100 minutes of talk time to any local network, 100 Megabytes of data and 400 sms – also to any network. This same GSM provider ordinarily offers calls to other local networks at very low rates, forcing their counterparts to tow the line.

It is very comforting that market forces is now driving the Telecomm sector in Nigeria. However, the offer of cheap SMS by mobile networks may not be particularly enticing as the trend worldwide is placing increasingly less focus on SMS as a means of communication. People would rather use other Instant Messaging (IM) medium like Samsung’s ChatOn, Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp, Nimbuzz, Imsy and numerous others.

Personally, I can not remember the last time I used a paid SMS service. Some services like VConnect and get2Sms offer specific numbers of sms freely. Google also allow you to send free SMS to most Nigerian networks while Facebook allow you free access on select networks.

These free services have always come in handy the few times i need to use SMS.

The bundled SMS is, however, not a deal breaker for Etisalat because even with the SMS taken out of the equation, the N1000 package is probably worth almost N3000 if the included services are used on a Pay as you go basis.

Promotional offers is now the trend in Nigeria and the subscribers are finally getting back what they had been ripped off of in the past. So much so that the regulatory body, NCC, had to step in to put a halt to the ”çat fight”. Competition is now fierce as revenue, especially, from voice calls keep plummeting. This is partly because the number and duration of voice calls have drastically reduced. There was a time in this country when networks were billing per minute. They are now billing per second, coupled with the fact that competition has driven down voice call charges to less than a quarter of what they used to be. SIM cards are being given out (practically) for free. One of the other things eating into the revenue of these networks is the use of satellite telephony to connection to the internet for close to free.

All these pose serious financial challenges to our networks here.

Meanwhile, like with every business in Nigeria, running costs keep rising. Recurrent expenditure is shooting through the roof for these networks.

Revenues are dwindling, running costs are rising. Add these two together, and you have a veritable recipe for business disaster.

It is no surprise that most CDMA Operators have closed shop in Nigeria. There are mergers and acquisitions going on. With or without economies of scale, it appears that revenue in the Telecommunications Sector is dwindling and will continue to dwindle in the foreseeable future.

This has left me wondering whether the pervading cutthroat competition in the telecoms sector would not  leave casualties in its path.

We have a situation where there is a crying need to improve the Quality of service of the Operators by investing more in infrastructure. They need to expand the network capacity. How are they going to be able to do this when revenue is being forced downwards? Any business faced with this kind of scenario would look for ways to reduce expenditure, so as to improve on their bottomline.

And I fear the first ports of call would probably be ‘downsizing’, more pronounced outsourcing, reduction of staff emolument, smart tax avoidance (not evasion) strategy.

This may not be all good news for subscribers at all.

In what way do you think these networks can escape this “Catch – 99” situation?

Do you forsee a improvement s in the Quality of Service, due to the ferocious combination.

Or are you like me – I can already see cracks, and a deterioration in service rendition. I see vicious competition having a “MAD” quality about it already– Mutually Assured Destruction.

What is your take?

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Your Next Desktop Could Be A Phone

Why carry two devices, when you could carry only one? Imagine carrying a full desktop computer in your pocket. We’re talking about a real desktop OS built in to your smartphone. Your next high-end smartphone has far more horsepower than you’ll need on a phone, and more than enough for a laptop. Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, wants to make that happen. Android for the phone experience, Ubuntu for the desktop, all on one device, running at the same time.

In your pocket, it’s an Android-powered smartphone. Not just any smartphone, either – it’s your smartphone. Pull it out and drop it in a docking station, though, and it becomes a full workstation powered by Ubuntu, complete with monitor and keyboard. Sounds incredible, right? One address book. One set of bookmarks. One place for your text messages and email. No more typing on a tiny screen when all you want is a keyboard and a mouse. No more going round in circles trying to make your mobile do what it was not intended for. Seamless integration of your desktop and mobile worlds. Brilliant.

Why add anything to Android?

Android is a mobile solution, designed for a touch interface on a handheld device. On the desktop, where users expect a pointer-driven experience, a PC operating system is essential. Several vendors have tried to bring Android-based desktops or laptops to market, with no success; Android was designed for touch only, and has its hands full winning the tablet wars.

A complete desktop solution needs a full range of desktop applications. While a mobile OS carries no deep desktop software catalogue, Ubuntu offers thousands of applications, all designed for the desktop and most, like Ubuntu, free. And Ubuntu is certified by governments, industry and enterprises, widely deployed on the desktop, and supported by leading management solutions.

Another alternative would be a web-top, or web only desktop. But markets have not responded to web-only environments. The desktop is a high-productivity mode, not a media consumption mode or a browsing mode like you have on mobiles.

Canonical seems to have covered all the bases here, too; since the Android kernel is based on the Linux kernel, it’s fully compatible with Ubuntu. This means that, thanks to some software tweaks built into Ubuntu for Android, you still have access to all of your phone’s goodies, including SMS messages and phone calls.

What kind of horsepower would it take to run something like this, though? Honestly, not that much. In fact, most multi-core phones with at least 512MB of RAM, HDMI, and USB should be able to handle what Canonical is proposing.

At this point, Canonical is still calling out to manufacturers and carriers to hop on board so they can start integrating Ubuntu for Android into handsets, so it’s hard to say when we’ll actually see this in the consumer market. Canonical is, however, planning to demo Ubuntu for Android at next week’s Mobile World Congress convention in Barcelona, so hopefully that will spark more interest.

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

The Number You Dialed Is Switched Off…

Lately, calls going through to my Globacom mobile line has been something of a “hit and miss” affair. Naturally, i blamed it on the inefficiencies of the mobile network and prayed for the best. But i became a little worried when, curiously, my wife’s line works perfectly well even though we both use the same network.

I use an iPad phone, which shares most of its phone features with the iPhone. As the phone feature of the ipad is not exactly common place, I decided to search on the internet for the iPhone and “unreacheable calls” issue. My findings were very revealing and disturbing. The UK mobile network, 3, aptly captures the problem in one of its forum threads.

Below is an excerpt;

A problem that many people report with the iPhone is incoming calls going straight to voicemail without ringing, and delayed incoming texts, both despite strong signals. Although a LOT of people complain about this issue, and blame the iPhone,  little information exists about what really causes it or what can be done about it.

If you’re on 3G you can receive incoming calls and SMS messages while you are in the middle of using 3G data – simultaneous voice and data is part of the 3G UMTS specification. So it should never happen on 3G, unless some other problem is involved. However if you are on GPRS or EDGE (E) the specification does not allow for simultaneous calls and data – if you make an outgoing call an existing data session will be terminated until the end of the call – the call takes priority.

But what happens if you’re already using data on GPRS/EDGE first (browsing a web page, checking google maps etc) and an incoming call comes in, will you receive the call or not ? Probably not. I have SIMs for all the networks in the UK and so far I’ve tested Orange, 3, (who use Orange for 2G anyway) O2, and T-Mobile, and they ALL go straight to voicemail as if the phone is turned off if I call the phone while it is using GPRS/EDGE data. SMS messages don’t come through until later either.

The post went further;

A GPRS/EDGE phone network can be configured to operate in, commonly, 2 Network Operating Modes (NOM). For Mode 01, if an incoming call occurs during data use the data session will be terminated and the call will come through. In Mode 02, the call will go straight to voicemail, giving the data session preference. Majority of 2G networks in the world use Mode 02!

It is possible to use the iPhone’s field test mode to check what Network Operating Mode a network is using. To do this, first disable 3G, then dial *3001#12345#* from the phone app keypad then pressing call. Go to GSM Cell Environment -> GPRS Information, and scroll down to “Network Operating Mode”.

The ramifications of all this are that any time you use data on GPRS/EDGE you will miss incoming calls and unless you have a missed call service with your provider, you won’t even know you missed them, as they will not show up on the phone.

Not only can this be caused by actively using an app such as safari, (or leaving a data using app active with the screen locked) but background mail checks and push notifications will cause it as well.

I was able to confirm this. The funny thing is, with data switched off, the phone works flawlessly, confirming that the data traffic is the problem. I also carried out the Field Test to confirm the Network Operating Mode of Globacom. Expectedly, it was NOM 2. MTN and Etisalat were also NOM 2.

As far as i can tell, the issue seems to be iPhone (iPad phone) specific as NOM2 seems to work perfectly with Nokia, Samsung and other brands of phones. Worst still, there seem not to be any solution in sight.

<Sigh>

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Cydia App Store – Recomended Apps

Recently, Apple updated the Operating System of its devices (iPod touch, iPad and iPhone) from IOS version 4.3.3 to 4.3.4, and 10 days later, to version 4.3.5. Funny thing is, not a few people have refused to upgrade from 4.3.3.

The reason is simple.

IOS 4 would only be available for a few more weeks, to be replaced by IOS 5. So, really no point in wasting time and resources in upgrading. But more importantly, those in the jaibreak community have found it unwise wasting their time jailbreaking any other IOS 4 version for this same reason.

Apple continually updates its operating system,primarily, to get ahead of those that jailbreak its devices. By jailbreaking your device, you will be removing whatever restrictions Apple may have placed on these devices. You will be able to install apps that would enhance the features of your devices, more than Apple would want you to.

The largest collection of these jailbreak apps can be found at the Cydia Store. Some of these apps are quite revolutionary and are must-haves, while some were actually rejected by Apple for being below set quality standards.

Below is a list of recommended apps for the iPad available at the Cydia App Store;

1. Top on the list is Phoneitipad ($19.99), a revolutionary app that turns your regular 3G iPad device to a full fledged phone. Of course, the reason why this app never made it to the Apple app store is quite obvious, the app makes your iPad all what Apple never wants it to be. Did I mention that this app was developed by Africans? The app costs $19.99, payable via paypal and amazon payments, which is acceptable in Nigeria. The app also comes with a nice SMS application like the one on the iPhone. In summary, your iPad is now one big iPhone! I have used this app for over a month and I have no regrets.

2. With your iPad now acting as a phone, you may require some other apps to make this experience a more fulfilling one. SBSchedule ($3) is a premium add on to the free app, SBSetting. The app allows you to create ringtone profiles for your device. This is a must have for even iPhone users as Apple has not deemed it fit to include such a feature in any of its devices. iPhoneTool is a free alternative developed for iPhone but works well on the iPad.

3. Installous – This is the reason why most people probably jailbreak their phones, the lure for free apps. The app gives you access to a huge collection of cracked apps.

4. Appsync – This app allows you to sync all your ill-gotten apps with iTunes and Apple will be no wiser.

5. IOS 5 would be launching in a few months with a very much improved notification system, thanks to MobileNotifier, a jailbreak app. Apple actually employed the developer of this app, Peter Hajas, to work with its own team in incorporating this notification feature in IOS 5. A good alternative to this app is LockInfo.

6. MyWi 4.0 ($19.99) – You can easily share the Internet access on your iPad with your PC via USB, WIFI or Bluetooth with absolutely no need for any configuration on your PC. This is an extreme cost saving measure as you do not have to subscribe to a separate Internet plan for your PC. However, my experiences with Nigerian mobile Internet services is frustrating as browsing speed is extremely slow.

7. WIFI Sync ($9.99) – This app has made the use of a cable redundant in syncing your Apple devices with iTunes as syncing via WIFI is now possible. However, a separate installer is required to be installed on your PC.

 

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

iOS 5 Frequently Asked Questions

When Apple senior vice president Scott Forstall took the wraps off iOS 5 at the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, he focused on ten of what he said were more than 200 new features in the next incarnation of Apple’s mobile operating system. But Forstall’s time was limited, and obviously he didn’t have a chance to run down everything that’s changed in the next major release of iOS. There are still plenty of questions to answer before iOS 5 arrives this fall, and while not every detail is available just yet, we’ve gathered up what Apple has revealed to answer your burning questions about this iOS update.

Upgrading

Which iOS devices will support the iOS 5 upgrade?

iOS 5 supports the same devices as iOS 4.3—the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, the iPad and iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. Yes, iPhone 3G owners—your hardware isn’t on that list. But given how some features in last year’s iOS 4 update weren’t supported on your phone—and how poorly the ones that actually were performed—it can hardly come as a surprise that Apple thinks it’s time for you to upgrade your aging smartphone to enjoy the latest OS it has to offer.

Has Apple provided any specifics on a release date for iOS 5?

All the company would say during the last keynote is “fall.” (iOS developers, of course, already have a developer preview in hand.) Now whether or not Apple’s ideal of fall hinges on the autumnal equinox, we can’t say for certain. We do know that Apple traditionally schedules a music event around that time—last year, it fell on September 1—and that the iPod touch usually plays a prominent role in such an event, and that it would seem odd to announce a new device that’s still running an older version of iOS. But that’s pure speculation on our part.

What will it cost?

Not a cent. iOS 5 will be free.

Notifications

How will notifications work in iOS 5?

Our first look at iOS 5 notifications breaks most of it down for you. But in short, new notifications appear in a floating banner that looks a lot like Game Center alerts. A swipe down from the top of your device’s screen reveals Notification Center, which keeps a running list of all your alerts. And your most recent alerts stack up on your lock screen when they arrive while your device is asleep.

Can third-party apps leverage the improved notifications?

Yes, and with no extra effort. Apps that support push alerts today are already ready for iOS 5; they’ll seamlessly switch to using the new notifications system as soon as you upgrade to the new OS.

How configurable are the new notifications?

Very. You configure how notifications are sorted, you control which apps can and can’t send you notifications, and you can even—on an app-by-app basis—switch from the new banners to the original pop-up alerts instead. That way, if you’d prefer text messages interrupt you but Words With Friends alerts use the new approach, you can set things up just that way.

Can I keep notifications off my lock screen?

Every notification that arrives while your device is locked will show up on your lock screen in iOS 5, though you can turn off lock screen display on an app-by-app basis. Yes—but it’s a manual process. You must manually turn lock screen display off on an app-by-app basis within the Settings app. Otherwise, every notification that arrives while your device is locked will appear on the lock screen when you display it—even if you use a passcode to lock your device.

PC Free

What does Apple mean by “PC Free,” anyway?

Sadly, it’s not an insane Mac promotional giveaway. Rather, Apple’s referring to the fact that with iOS 5, you’ll no longer need to tether your device to a Mac or PC during its initial setup, when syncing, or to grab software updates; you can handle all of those actions from the device itself. A new iTunes Sync section in the Settings app shows your device’s current sync status. Apple says that you can only sync with iTunes wirelessly so long as your iOS device is currently charging. (Bonus iOS 5 sidenote: While you sync—even if you do so by plugging your device into your Mac—you can still use your iPhone or iPad during the process.)

But software updates are huge! I don’t want to download a several gigabyte iOS update on my iPhone!

Fret not. Also new in iOS 5 is support for update deltas: Rather than download an entire new copy of the operating system, you’ll download a (theoretically much smaller) update that contains only the changed bits. Hmm. But I’ll still need my Mac for some things, right? Apple is happy to keep selling Macs, but the company’s goal is that you really won’t need to use yours to update anything on your iPhone or iPad. iOS 5 will allow you to take actions large and small alike that previous versions of iOS didn’t support, from minutiae like creating or deleting calendars and mailboxes to heavier lifting like photo editing.

iMessage

What is iMessage?

iMessage is Apple’s all-in-one replacement for text, group, and MMS messaging—sort of. If you’re familiar with Blackberry messaging, it’s Apple’s answer to that approach. In short, it’s a communication platform limited to iOS devices. This is iMessage, a communication platform that lets you send messages to other iOS devices.

How is it better than regular text messaging?

Unlike regular SMS text messaging, iMessage supports niceties like delivery receipts (to know when your message has been delivered), read receipts (to know when your message has been read), and live typing status (so you can know that your buddy is replying). Note, however, that by default, your iOS device won’t tell your contact when you’ve read his message;
you must enable that manually.

Do iMessages count against my text messaging quota?

Nope. That’s another improvement over regular text messaging, which—as anyone who’s ever gone over their monthly allotment of texts will tell you—can cost a pretty penny. So does that mean I can cancel my text messaging plan? You could, but be careful. Remember that iMessage is limited to conversing between iOS devices. If you want to send a message to a friend using any other kind of phone, you’ll need to rely on SMS (or a third-party texting app). And your carrier may well charge you for received text messages if others send them to you.

How does iMessage work on the iPad or iPod touch?

Like FaceTime, iMessage can work with your phone number as well as your e-mail address. And again as like FaceTime,iMessage lets you specify which e-mail addresses you’d like to link to your iMessage account.

Is iMessage a replacement for Messages on the iPhone?

No, it’s actually a part of that app. When you compose a message on the iPhone, the iOS will automatically switch to the iMessage protocol if your recipient is also an iMessage user; otherwise, it will default to regular old SMS.

New apps

What is Newsstand?

Newsstand is Apple’s new approach for discovering and browsing newspapers and magazines on your iOS devices. Newsstand isn’t quite an app—it actually behaves like an iOS folder. (As such, you can’t tuck it into another iOS folder; it’s top-level only.) But unlike a regular iOS folder, Newsstand looks like a bookshelf, and it displays the covers for all your magazine and newspaper subscriptions. New issues of your iOS subscriptions will appear in Newsstand automatically, and they download in the background.

What is Reminders?

Reminders is a new to-do list app from Apple. The app behaves much like many similar apps already in the App Store, but with a few extra niceties built in. Perhaps the cleverest feature in Reminders is its ability to tie alerts to geographical locations. That way, you can set the app to remind you about a given task—“Don’t forget the eggs”—when you arrive at (or depart from) a specific location. You can optionally sync Reminders across your iOS devices via iCloud. You can also set time-based reminders for tasks. You create separate lists of reminders; a given entry can belong to just one list. Tasks can optionally be assigned one of three priority levels—Low, Medium, or High. More advanced to-do features, like contexts, tags, notes, and manual task re-sorting, aren’t yet included in Reminders.

Updated apps

What’s new in Safari?

On the iPad, Safari in iOS 5 supports tabbed browsing; the browser window switcher is a thing of the past. Safari Reader—the feature that pulls article text out of its Web page and presents it in a standalone, cleaner view—makes the leap from the Mac OS to iOS, too. Also new is Reading List, an Instapaper-like approach for saving Web pages to revisit later, short of a formal bookmark. Unlike Instapaper, though, Reading List doesn’t appear to save article text; it really just stores the URLs for later revisiting. Tabbed browsing comes to the iPad version of Safari in iOS 5. Over in the Settings app, you’ll be able to turn on Private Browsing mode.

What’s new in Camera and Photos?

The Camera and Photos app sport a variety of new features. In iOS 5, you can use the volume button on the iPhone as a hardware shutter button, instead of relying on the on-screen button. You can optionally enable grid lines while composingyour photos. And after you take photos, you can modify them in a variety of ways. There’s One-Touch Enhance—pulled straight from iPhoto, red-eye reduction, rotating, and cropping. Also new: a camera button on the iPhone’s screen.It sits right next to the “Slide to Unlock” bar, making that bar a little narrower.

What’s new in Maps?

There’s now more than one way to get where you’re going in iOS 5’s version of Maps. In iOS 5, Maps can suggest alternate routes—a feature that will be welcome to anyone who’s been dissatisfied with how the current version of Maps tells you to get from Point A to Point B. There’s still no sign of the baked-in turn-by-turn GPS navigation that our Android-toting friends enjoy, though.

What’s new with FaceTime?

Not much. Apple says FaceTime video quality is better in iOS 5, and that iOS 5 supports “FaceTime mid-call invitation alerts.” You still can’t place FaceTime calls over 3G. And we’re still waiting on other device makers to adopt the FaceTime open standard so that conversations won’t be limited to just Apple-built hardware.

What’s new with Calendar?

Landscape support. Turn your iPhone to landscape, and you’ll immediately see a week view.

What’s new with Mail?

You can hide or reveal Mail’s sidebar with a simple swipe in portrait mode on the iPad. On the iPad, a simple swipe in portrait mode hides or reveals the sidebar; it’s a pleasant alternative to the popover button. New in all versions of Mail is the ability to flag messages. That functionality changes the button that used to read “Mark as [un]read” to simply “Mark”; tapping it reveals options to change a message’s read or flagged status. Mail also supports rich text editing (for using bold, italics, underline, and the like), and full-text searching—including for messages that reside only on the server, not your device.

And what’s new in the iPod app?

What iPod app? As has long been the case on the iPod touch, now all iOS devices split the iPod app into two separate apps: Video and Music. The Music app gets a makeover on the iPad, but its basic functionality remains the same.

Miscellaneous questions

I recall that Apple bought Siri and was rumored to have made some big deal with Nuance. Does that mean there’s new voice transcription functionality in iOS 5?

Some background: Siri Assistant is a voice-driven search app that has remained on the App Store even after its maker was bought by Apple in 2004. Nuance specializes in voice-recognition and has a few well-regarded apps of its own for the iPhone. It’s possible that some jazzed up voice-driven features may be built into iOS one day, but as of right now, Apple hasn’t announced anything on that front.

So new voice features at all?

You’ll be able to place FaceTime calls via Voice Control. That’s something.

What’s the deal with the split keyboard option?

Remove the virtual keyboard from the bottom of your iPad’s screen and it splits into two halves. That’s an iPad-only feature in iOS 5. If you choose, you can drag the virtual keyboard up from the bottom of the iPad’s screen. As soon as you remove it from the bottom, the keyboard splits into two halves, with the keys resized to match those of the iPhone’s keyboard. You choose where to drag the keyboard—or really, keyboards—on the screen, and all apps inherit that keyboard setting. You can’t use one setting for portrait and another for landscape, but it’s very quick to move the keyboard around. And as soon as you drag it back to the bottom, it melds back together and returns to its default size.

What are some other cool features I should be anticipating?

In iOS 5, you’ll be able to tap and hold on any word anywhere to access its definition, as you can already do in the iBooks app. The iPad 2 will offer AirPlay mirroring—what you see on the tablet’s screen will also appear on a TV connected to an Apple TV. On the iPhone, the Notification Center also shows your current weather and a stock ticker. And finally, you can change what sounds iOS uses for voicemail, new e-mail, calendar, and other default alerts.

Anything new on the accessibility front?

Plenty. Among the new features: an option to set custom vibration patterns for specific contacts, support for simplified touch control, more voiceover control, an option to speak text, a preference to make the iPhone 4’s LED light up when you receive notifications, and more.

What’s new on the Exchange support front?

There’s new support in iOS 5 for wirelessly syncing Exchange tasks. Also new is support for S/MIME; a lock icon appears when you’re sending encrypted messages. It appears, however, that there’s still no way to mark Exchange calendar events as Private.

How does the Twitter integration work?

The Twitter section in Settings prompts you to install the official Twitter app, though you can ignore that suggestion if you choose. You provide your Twitter login credentials in the Settings app. You can login to multiple Twitter accounts, if you’d like. Once you’ve provided your Twitter login data, numerous apps—like Photos, Safari, and Maps—offer the ability to post tweets directly. There’s no native tweet-posting functionality unless you want to attach data from one of those apps; that is, you can’t just post a “naked” tweet from a core iOS app. The Twitter section of the Settings app does prompt you to (optionally) install the official Twitter app, if you haven’t already.

Any changes to AirPrint?

None that we know of. Wireless printing should work in iOS 5 as it does in the current version.

Is the iOS 5 upgrade painless? Is it going to mess with my app icon layout and folders?

Because iOS 5 adds several app icons—it splits iPod into Video and Music, plus introduces Newsstand and Reminders—your app layout order will get mucked with slightly. But your basic organization and folders should otherwise remain largely untouched.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

“Call Me On My Ipad …”

The internet is awash with a lot of news about the iPad phone, courtesy of the guys from iphoneislam. One thing is very certain, these guys from Egypt have pulled the biggest hat trick this year.

I decided to take the bull by the horns and proceeded to download the app via the alternate app store, CYDIA. It is a 7MB file which took forever to download, thanks to MTN Nigeria’s “broadband” speeds. After installation, i was presented with a single icon on my desktop. Launching this icon gives a screen containing the serial number of your device which will be inputted during the payment process.

Next step is to go to http://www.iphoneislam.com/phoneitipad/ where you would have to activate your device to use the app. You also need to make sure that your ipad has internet access on it, preferrably WIFI as it seems the PhoneItiPad app disabled the unactivated SIM from functioning.

Payment was via a 3rd party payment processor, AVANGATE, and yes, Nigerian cards are accepted! After the payment process has been completed, you may need to close the app on your ipad and relaunch it.

After rebooting your ipad, two icons would be displayed on your device, one for phone calls and the other for SMS.

That is about all for the installation process!

IMG_0012

Next step is to take it for a spin. I launched the phone app and got this oversized dial screen;

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Decided to give myself a buzz from my HTC TyTn II phone to see what the screen looks like;

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Of course i did not pick my own call, no “credit” on my phone. Luckily, my brother from Port Harcourt gave me a shout out;

The call quality was great, was not depreciated in any way than you would ordinarily get.

Making calls on the ipad can be done via the speaker of the device and the mic. I am not sure if there are any earpieces that combines the speaker function and the mic. However, i still have the earpiece of my ipod touch which i am using.

I have not tested a bluetooth earpiece with it (wouldn’t it be nice?) but from what i have read, i am not sure if any would work with it. there seem to be a number of bluetooth devices like the Arctic Sound P311 that just might work well with it.

In all, it is a $19.99 (N3, 200) well spent.

Why not give me a call on my ipad?