This week in tech: Safaricom to Launch Lipa na M-PESA card and more weekly tech trends


    The biggest highlight of this week has to be the cold and mud. However, the tech world did not freeze nor get stuck in the mud. Things went on well. Very well in fact.

    Here is the top weekly tech news:

    1. Safaricom to Launch Lipa na M-Pesa payment card

    The giant telcos affinity for a larger share of the payment system did not stop at M-Pesa.

    Soon you will be able to make payments for goods and services using a Lipa na M-Pesa card.

    Trials for the card kicked off last year and Safaricom has been using the feedback from the pilot to make improvements.

    The Lipa na M-Pesa card uses Pin and chip technology.

    It also comes with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to ensure that devices close to each other can exchange information via radio communication.

    This may be bad news for banks but in the end, the consumer benefits.

    2. Oppo F3 coming to Kenya soon

    It seems that the airtime of ‘Unstoppable Selfie’ smartphone is almost up. Oppo F3, a bonafide member of the F series, should be making its way to Kenya soon.

    The handset comes with a dual selfie camera (16MP sensor and 8MP wide-angle camera-120 degrees to be precise), 5.5-inch FHD 2.5D curved display with Gorilla Glass 5 protection, 3200mAh battery, 4GB RAM, MediaTek MT6750T processor, and Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

    This should be a delight to OPPO fans especially selfie lovers.

    3. Samsung confirms that a refurbished Note 7 is making a comeback

    We can finally lay the rumors to rest and it is such a relief.

    Samsung has confirmed that Note 7 is coming back as a refurbished device.

    This comes as no surprise considering the rumors that won’t die but it is also weird since the giant smartphone manufacturer had said that it had no plans to repair or refurbish Note 7.

    Samsung has confirmed that if approved by regulators, the handset will come with a smaller battery capacity.

    If approved, would you buy a refurbished Note 7?

    4. Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus officially in Kenya

    Yep. If you have some Ksh. 84,499 or Ksh. 94,999, you can get yourself a Samsung S8 and S8 plus respectively.

    The price tags only suggest that Samsung seeks to woo premium users given that the two are high-end devices.

    S8 and S8 Plus come with great specs and they are among the best smartphone to be revealed so far despite the awkwardly located fingerprint sensor.

    Will help Samsung regain customer trust? Numbers do not lie so let’s wait and see the sales volumes.

    5. Microsoft unveils Microsoft Surface

    The Surface laptop is gorgeous and a definite competitor of Chromebook. The 13-inch laptop is designed to work with Windows 10 operating system.

    The laptop is priced at $999 and comes with Corei5 version, 4GB RAM and 128GB of USB storage.

    Samsung says that the main target is students as Microsoft’s devices chief Panos Panay said that the hardware is focused on students.

    I am not sure many Kenyan students can afford Surface though. Just saying.

    Reports show that shipping starts on June 15th.

    6. YouTube to produce original content on its platform

    YouTube is working towards taking over the viewing culture as reports indicate that it has heavily invested millions of dollars to produce over 40 original shows in the next year.

    The better news is that half-dozen of these original series will be free-to-view.

    The online video repository has reportedly partnered with celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Kevin Hart and the two are set to produce unscripted shows scheduled to debut this year.

    It is reported that with DeGeneres, we will get to see behind the scene videos of her show while with Hart, we will see him trying out different workout routines alongside other celebrity guests.

    7. YouTube redesigns desktop site

    YouTube is getting a revamp. The new version will come with a material design and a darker theme.

    YouTube has had the same design for the longest time; hence, the change is welcome.

    Some of the changes include black video titles in place of the current blue and channel names that are a bit darker.

    Also, instead of the usual video views counter format, you will now see 4K views instead of 4000 views.

    This means more appealing platform. We have been loyal to YouTube; hence, the revamp is totally deserved.

    8. Instant games on Messenger now available

    Facebook has been testing Instant Messenger games for some months and the roll out only means that everything is A-Okay.

    During the F8 conference, the company announced that it would be rolling out some tools to developers to make their games more engaging and interesting.

    Messenger gets in-built games but it is not the only one since Telegram is another messaging platform that has taken a similar approach.

    9. Nokia 6, Nokia 5, Nokia 3, Nokia 3310 launch dates

    Nokia has been trying to make a comeback and it seems like that time is near. The company released a teaser video, star-wars-themed, featuring all four smartphones announced earlier.

    These include Nokia 6, Nokia 5, Nokia 3, and the highly anticipated Nokia 3310 which comes with okay specs for a second phone.

    The company has said that the smartphones will be released between May and June even though no specific dates have been given yet. It’s okay, we will wait.

    10. Gmail for Android gets an update

    Google has rolled out an important update: Gmail for Android with Anti-Phishing security checks.

    Google says that it has tackled a sophisticated phishing attack intended to trick users into giving your account details to cybercriminals.

    The web giant said that the attack was tackled in less than one hour and that only a small number of Gmail users were affected.

    They say prevention is better than cure so while you wonder whether you were affected, how about visiting Google’s Security Checkup Page and learn about account permissions. Yes? Good.

    That’s it for the first week of May. A lovely weekend.

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