APP CHECKLIST: MUST HAVE SAMSUNG GALAXY S4 APPLICATIONS

The SAMSUNG GALAXY S IV is King.  The S4 is a combination of class and performance geared towards giving the ultimate android experience.  Dubbed the Life Companion, the S4 is out to make life easier. The S4 runs on the latest jellybean 4.2.2 with a superior 5-inch display coupled up with a Full HD Amoled display.  A 13 Mega-pixel Camera and a quad-core processor!! Clearly, it is a Beast.

SIV Your Life Companion

Assuming you have just bought the Samsung Galaxy S4, and downloaded the security enhancements from Samsung Store (That is always the First thing I do) what apps should I install?

BROWSERS

Browsing the internet is the first thing on everyone’s mind. It’s typical to have Chrome, Mozilla, Opera and all other mobile browsers on your phone but on the S4, Chrome will be the best choice.  Chrome is fast in response, and easily handles tabs and lets the user to switch between the desktop and the phone and manages bookmarks and user’s most visited sites for ease of access.

Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/android.chrome

Alternative:  Users can also download Dolphin Browser, which offers a closer experience to Google Chrome

Keyboard

I have always had problems with the Samsung keyboard and the decision to have the S4 come with the Swift Key Board, as the default was futuristic.  Swift Keyboard is faster, easier and more accurate.  It also learns the words and the phrases commonly used and how one interacts with the keyboard.

Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/touch.swiftkey

Alternative: Hackers Keyboard it provides the layout used on computers and offers an equally better experience. It is also free on the playstore

Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/Hackers keyboard

Games

With the 5-inch display and quad-core processor, gaming will be a top agenda for most S4 users.  Top on the S4 accessory is the S4 Game Pad that uses Near Field Communication to allow the user to play their games.  Among the games S4 users can enjoy include Dead Trigger that lets the player shoot zombies over various levels under a basic progression system where players upgrade their arm assortment as they progress.  Popular games such as Temple Run, Angry Birds and Cut-the-Rope need minimal introduction.  With the gamepad, racing and sports gamers are out for an experience and Asphalt 7 and FIFA 2012 and FIFA 2013, should offer the player quite the thrill.

Link Dead Trigger:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/Dead Trigger

game padThe Galaxy S4 Game Pad.

NEWS

Keeping up to date with all the news and information is no longer about reading 7 newspapers daily.  Flipboard not only makes reading news fun and casual, it makes wholesome. If you do not fancy politics, users can easily edit that and read what they like.  Sharing information is also easy with links to Facebook and twitter.  Appy Geek is also another platform that delivers the latest news in the tech world and keeping you knowledgeable. Additional applications a user may need to make the news experience better include Pocket and Instapaper where users can post articles and read them later on.

Samsung-Galaxy-S4-FlipboardFlipBoard on the Galaxy S4. Pure Bliss

Link:  https://play.google.com/store/apps/flipboard

Alternative: Alternative applications for Flipboard, Include Pulse, which offers users a chance to choose topics they are interested in and a feed for the same is delivered to them via the application. Currents and Material Beta also offer the user such an experience.

Link:    https://play.google.com/store/apps/PULSE

https://play.google.com/store/apps/GoogleCurrents

Antivirus

It is common knowledge that there is an influx of malwares and virus within the android platform. Actually, the number has tripled and subsequently quadrupled meaning security is key. I would advise that you use McAfee and Norton antivirus but they will not be as effective as the Mobile antivirus Security Pro, a product of AVG.  I have used the antivirus on various android devices and it has not only been effective but also does not eat into your RAM. It also lets block call and texts, protects from spammers and warns you of impending threats.    

Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/Mobile antivirus Security Pro

Additions APPs

There are also those must have applications on your phone. Some of the applications which are a must have on the S4 include Google Keep provides a unified remainder that is integrated on your email, with the 5” screen, Side Bar Pro will aid in switching apps,  Google Googles this application allows you to search via photos or images. With the 13MP camera, there is just so much Google Googles will Google.  MA3Route an application that will keep you aware, on the traffic situation in Nairobi, PesaDroid to help you manage your M-pesa balances better.

Link:     https://play.google.com/store/apps/ma3route

https://play.google.com/store/apps/pesadroid

 Home MA3ROUTE 

The Samsung Galaxy SIV launches on the 26th. Pre-orders through Safaricom via this link http://www.safaricom.co.ke/samsungs4/ once you lay hands on the beast, be sure to use the Checklist. Wishing you and Your “Life Companion” an easy life :-).

the S4 The Samsung Galaxy S4

4 MUST HAVE KENYAN APPLICATIONS

Aside

From managing our finances, security, gaming to trafficking these mobile apps have come a long way. They have clearly earned the spot and it’s about time we crowned them here.

Traffic and Social Location

Ma3Route

This is a mobile, web and SMS platform developed by Nasoft Technologies with the aim of having passengers and drivers share traffic information through the creation of coded traffic feeds. I am a regular user of this application (@MrEricWainaina) and to say the least it’s a total bliss. The app not only lets you know what’s happening in your route but also gives real time fare charges on the same route. It also allows you to find directions using social location apps such as foursquare and Google maps. Added feature #discover lets the user learn amazing facts about road safety and transport in general. The explore town feature also lets you discover towns around Kenya. I am looking forward to an update that will let me interact with other road users on my route. A past review of the Application can be found here https://ericwainainaonline.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/app-alert-ma3route/ Don’t have the App yet?

Download Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/Ma3route

Subscribe to traffic notifications through SMS short code is 7955. Send “vipi roadname” to get latest traffic update. For example, “vipi Forest road”

Follow on twitter @ma3route

Rating 9/10

Image               Image

Ma3route Helps find the route fare and get coded information about your route.

 Security

WIPEOUT

When a pal of mine lost their Galaxy Note, I set out looking for a Kenyan Application that would offer my droid the security I needed. And yes I Found it. Wipeout! The Application running on Android and Symbian lets you back up your information and restore it when needed. Now to ensure the security of your device, it lets you wipeout the data of your device (Factory Reset) whenever it’s lost meaning that all your personal information is safeguarded. This also means that the contacts and SMS you had on your phone are not lost. To add on, you can change the screen lock of your lost phone and also control when and how to change the screen lock of your lost phone. It also lets you monitor how many screen lock attempts have been made onto your lost device. The App is available on Nokia Store and Google Play for a one week free trial where it will then cost the user 650/=.

Rating 7/10

Download Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/Wipeout

Image     Image

           Wipeout Home and Interface,Awesome Application

Financial

PESA DROID

I have been using this application for close to a year now and I enjoy every aspect of it. Regular updates and amazing features. Currently on version 0.4.3, the app has improved graphics, is more user friendly as well coupled up with a superb user interface. Pesa Droid is an application that lets keep track of your M-PESA transactions ensuring that you are accountable on how you use your funds. Read more on the Application here https://ericwainainaonline.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/pesa-droid-2/.The App lets you generate statements over a given period of time. Among the enhancements that have been bolstered on the application are security features meaning no unauthorized persons can randomly use your information as well as a transaction assistant which is available on the Payable module (Alfajiri) that helps you perform your M-PESA transactions.  The other is the feature for M-PESA agents to track their transactions. Pesa Droid is just the Premier M-PESA Application!!

Rating 9/10

Download Link https://play.google.com/store/apps/Pesadroid

Twitter @Pesadroid

Image       Image

     Pesa Droid Home and Transaction Assistant

Gaming

Tough Jungle

This is gaming application offers all round entertainment and keeps you captivated that you even lose track of time. The application gives you a feel of the wild as you battle it out with wild animals and evade the land mines to move to the next level. The game also gives you the Temple Run thrilling as you escape the hurdles in it. The Application is very much Kenyan with traditional Maasai Music tunes belting out as you spear a Lion and Jump over the landmines and rocky terrain. A help in form of a raven appears with extra spears and arrows to help you navigate.

Try It out

Download Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.elan.telemedia.game

Image       Image

Tough Jungle Home and Gaming Interface.

There you have it People, Get these Apps.

BLACKBERRY : The Aftermath

blackberry

Since the launch of the blackberry OS 10, there have been blogs, columns in newspapers, articles on the web, analysts on TV all reviewing  and asking the question, can the Blackberry OS 10 SAVE Blackberry? I watched, read, analyzed and here are my thoughts.

The blackberry OS 10 has paved way for the development of the Blackberry Z10 and the Blackberry Q10 which pundits say are revolutionary products in BlackBerry’s quest to take over the smartphone market which they previously dominated. Firstly I would like to thank Blackberry for giving its enthusiasts a product that they have waited for and which I believe is worth the wait. Remember the story about the Eagle in its quest to have a new lease of life? I see Blackberry as the Eagle which flies to the high mountains when, it is aged and undergoes the painful process of shedding its feathers and talons in order to acquire new ones after which it flies even higher and becomes better. To say the Least, it has been that period for Blackberry. The last three years have seen the Canadian smartphone maker go through a painful process.

First, was the ouster of the Company CEO and Founder Michael Lazaridis after shareholders felt he was not doing enough to keep the firm in profitability? According to the Verge theverge.com/rim-blackberry-mike-lazaridis-jim-balsillie-lost-empire, Lazaridis saw Blackberry then called RIM as the same old firm he had created as a young engineer. The other painful part of the Blackberry process of shedding the feathers was the flop of the Blackberry products such as the Porsche, Milan, and London which had been named after cities to make it easy to identify with the user. I remember reading about them (Telegraph.co.uk/technology) and the comments from users weren’t as pleasing. Their flagship[ tablet the playbook was dismissed as a disaster based on the fact that it lacked what most Blackberry’s were known for swerve email capabilities. The ouster of Blackberry as the premier smartphone by small players such as Samsung from Korea and others such as Apple was a hard pill to swallow to. Subsequently, the Blackberry shares nose-dived.  I remember my Friend Emmanuel Chenze telling me Blackberry is as good as gone. It’s the next Kodak.

rim shares

Rim shares Nose-dive

PLAYBOOK The Playbook Tablet

Moving on with our analogy of the Eagle, Blackberry moved up the “hills” Being its Waterloo Headquarters and reorganized itself. The firm acquired small firms which would strengthen its research and development wing and help it develop what is today the Blackberry OS 10. In addition to that Blackberry was notorious for having few applications in the BB App world and it held events known as the Blackberry Jam that brought together App Developers who created Blackberry Apps. To tackle the problem of apps, The Blackberry OS 10 is now lets you download Android Apps and use them on your Blackberry.  Other old talons that have been shed are the dropping of the name RIM to Blackberry which was a concrete Re-branding exercise. The reconstitution of its Board to include members who would help the firm steers in the way of its goals was also a key decision that has enabled the firm re-energize.

z10

Blackberry Z10, running on BB10.

 DSC_0051

The Blackberry Torch-Running on Blackberry OS 7

A peep at the BB10

bb 10

 Blackberry 10 launch

First the new Blackberry OS has totally changed its face. According to Crackberry.com, not a single line of Code from Blackberry OS 7 was used in the Blackberry 10 which goes on to tell the amount of time and resources that were invested in making it a good product. In fact, Users have had to wait for 3 years to get their hands on the new OS which explains how much hard work was put into. Users of the new OS admit that the OS is actually awesome especially with the Peeking ability that lets you balance full screen usage such that you can balance the usage of your device. This allows “Fluid Workflow” which to me is simply multitasking. Blackberry is set to launch an update for their tablet the Playbook. Meaning users will soon us the BB10 on their Tabs something they have longed for. Blackberry is a product that was tailor made for the enterprise or the business people. Blackberry has included mobile cloud into the new OS which will be offered as data Centre as a service meaning your Blackberry will act as your Virtual Machine (I shall talk about Cloud computing soon). Others are swerve multitasking as well as better functionality and simplicity.

SECURITY

BB SECURITY SYSTEM  The complex Blackberry security

Security is a critical aspect of the BB range of devices. As you may well remember, during the Egyptian uprising, Blackberry services popular known as BBM was widely used to spread messages on the revolution as the RIM’s system couldn’t be penetrated. BB is widely used in firms due to its robust systems and ensures that company data is not accessed by unauthorized parties. In this regard, BB10 has integrated the Blackberry Enterprise Server with the awesome Blackberry Balance framework thereby ensuring users jeep personal and business data on the same device without the option of either being accessed.

WINNING?

There is a popular saying that Once you go Black, You never Go Back.  Whoever said this must have been intimating at Blackberry. Blackberry has a cult following and millions of loyalist who didn’t abandon the brand even when it was on the blink of collapse. BlackBerry needs to know that to succeed it will have to do so with the Users. Most of them love Blackberry for their Blackberry Internet Service.BB10 was initially developed without the capabilities which have prompted the firm to launch the update today after massive backlash from users. On top of that, it needs to ensure that consumers enjoy multitasking capabilities as well as regular updates of the OS. In addition, a wide array of smartphones from which consumers can choose is also something Blackberry should do if winning is part of the game.

BBM The very popular Blackberry Messager (BBM)

I also posted this on my twitter page today www.twitter.com/amarueric that Blackberry needs to concentrate on gaining back its market share from the competition and then concentrate on individual markets. Just this afternoon, Blackberry announced that the BBZ10 will not be launching in Japan and other non-core BB markets. This may have been prompted by the fail of the City named BB smartphones. This strategy will ensure that Blackberry makes more sales and also stage an aggressive marketing       campaign as they badly need the sales. In this regard BB also needs to engage carriers to market the new smartphones aggressively. This is already underway in South Africa, the States, and The UK and hopefully Safaricom will do so soon.

Hurdles

Off course, there are a few problems BlackBerry will face in its quest. The market is already saturated with Smartphones and content at this stage is King. The phone maker needs to come up with an all-round strategy tackling both the app world, the OS, the marketing and research and development if it is to edge out the competition. The competition, in this case Samsung, has come up with Safe, to offer robust smartphone security which is one of the areas that gave BB an edge over the competition. The timing is also a bit wrong as the S4 is launching sometime in May, windows phone and also the next apple product. However, Thumbs up to Blackberry You did IT!!!

bb10 logo

GO BLACKBERRY!!!  

APP ALERT: MA3ROUTE

Drivers are always searching for the fastest route. This at times leads to the clogging of roads and too many drivers on one road with the aim of beating the traffic. Ma3ROUTE is an innovative Android Application that works to help you beat the crazy Nairobi traffic as well as get information on traffic hotspots. This happens through receiving traffic updates, incident and accident reports from other MA3ROUTE users.

WHAT IS MA3ROUTE?

Home

Ma3ROUTE home

MA3 ROUTE is an integrated trafficking application that uses traffic mapping and incident reporting to provide traffic information on the roads of Nairobi. Drivers can thereafter find the most optimal route based on that information. Nairobi Traffic is labeled as one of the worst in the world. Traffic information can be received in several modules which are via SMS, WEB and through their android application. The information is not only real time but also Coded which makes it easy to use.  The codes used are Moderate, Clear, Bumper to Bumper, poor visibility and Impassable which alerts the user on which routes to use and which ones to avoid.

FEATURES

COMMUNITY AND FEEDS

The application has a “community” where users are able to share traffic updates in real time and a feed is created on social networking sites and this informs the user of traffic hotspots and they are aware of the traffic situations. There are several traffic applications that I have used such as K-TRAFFIC, RUSH HOUR but THIS FEATURE sets Ma3ROUTE apart. The ability to convert the traffic information into a feed with codes makes it not only reliable but also clear cut. I hope soon we shall have a group in the “community” where I can interact with other commuters in my area.Codes

MA3ROUTE Traffic codes

TRAFFIC MAPPING

Through Traffic mapping, the application can be able to correctly predict which roads will have a lot of traffic and at what time. This is particularly important to the user who doesn’t have time to search through the feeds to find the information. In fact as one buckles their seat belts before igniting the car, they can receive SMS updates from MA3ROUTE and decide which route is best to use.

OTHERS

Other core additional features that the application has included; directions to various places, reporting of traffic incidents and accidents, news and stories as well as FAQs on roads and traffic from around the world which are delivered through the application and website provide a forum for one to learn more.

mulika Dere

The “Mulika Dere” function, enables one to report incidents of bad driving.

THE DEVELOPER

Laban Okune of Nasoft Technologies

THE GOOD 

The Application is reliable, integrated, simple to use and all in all a trend setter as far as traffic updates are concerned.

 The Bad

The aesthetics. The developer worked towards making it simple and integrated at the same time. However, Great Application right there.

FUTURE

Ma3route has great potential. Road users are already embracing it majorly due to its credible information and it is already at use by media houses to report traffic around Nairobi.  I see new frontiers for Ma3route being used  to find taxis nearby where the driver can directly interact with the client on the other end. Seamless integration with car system to offer both directions and traffic updates, Creation of  SOS feeds where in case on an incident I can alert roadside rescues through the application. I am also looking forward to Ma3route widget for my desktop. Perhaps a scoreboard for the users who dutifully use the application to update on road situations. Probably Ma3Route will evolve into a traffic location sharing app more like traffic foursquare?

Rating

8.5/10.

index

Resources 

Website: http://www.ma3route.com/

Twitter: @ma3route

Download : https://play.google.com/store/apps/Ma3route

 

 

APP REVIEW: Pesa Droid

splash

M-PESA is one of the products that really changed the world’s perception of Kenya. Bill Gates had this to say about M-pesa “Kenya’s M-Pesa proves that when people are empowered, they will use digital tech to innovate on their own ” . Despite the acclaim, most of us don’t keep track of our M-pesa transactions.

Using M-Pesa on Android? Pesa-Droid is the app for you!!

Pesa Droid is an application that analyses your M-pesa Transactions,through your sms and from that generates statements.

                                                                Features

home

Above is Pesa Droid Home

My transactions Feature

Once you download the application and  sync it with your sms inbox , it automatically retrieves all M-pesa transactions. Monies received, monies sent, used to buy airtime, pay for utilities and service charges.

my-transactions

A sneak of my transactions feature. Take note of how the application lets keep track of your spending.

Sender and Recipients

This feature helps the user view transactions with a given person or institution. It features the date of the transactions, the transaction number, description of the transaction and the amounts involved. It also offers a mini statement on the particular person.

senders and recipient

Pesa droid offers an easy way to view who you sent or received money from

Export Feature

It also has an export feature where you can share your transactions via bluetooth or back them up to your email.The feature allows for permanent storage of information as well as easy retrieval.

send-to-email

The export feature.One could send them via email or share via bluetooth.

                Groups

 It enables the user to group their transactions into either family, bills and utilities, friends and colleagues, clients and tenants, agents and service providers. Users can on request get statements for each of the groups they have created. Groups offers simplicity It also allows one to create a group and place a given person into it.This can be of particular importance to a landlord in Kinoo who wants to keep track
of the tenants who havent paid or Chama Members who want to know who contributed what amount and the exact date.

groups

Groups feature, one can add a group to this such as Chama members,tenants.

STATEMENTS

This happens to be my favourite feature of the application that allows you to keep track of the money received and withdrawn and the point of withdrawal.This feature depends on the transactions feature and one can have a record of their usage in a given period analysed . Users can either get daily, weekly or even monthly statements. The statements shows the total cash into phone, total cash sent out of the phone, as well as the service charges.It also Lets you also export to excel. This feature makes you think hard of why you bought that airtime worth 100 shillings whenever you are looking at your statements. :-). It is particularly important to the businesses that use M-pesa as the means of payment as they can be used as a source of financial information in book keeping.

statement

multiple-months

One could generate weekly,monthly or even quartely statements based on the transactions.

PLATFORM

The application runs on android and has two modules. The Alfajiri which is a paid up version and Bwerere. Both are available on Google Play for download.

The Future

I am looking forward to Pesa Droid for Dealers which will ensure that M-pesa dealers get to keep track of what goes on at their shops. I also look forward to Pesa Droid synced with M-shwari as well as the usage of Pesa Droid not only for Android devices but in multi platforms.

The developer

Felix Kiptum

Contacts

Website: www.pesadroid.com

Facebook:       http://www.facebook.com/pesaDroid

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/#!/pesaDroid

Download Links

Bwerere

Google play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pesadroid.free

Or

Alfajiri paid up for $ 2.99-
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.pesadroid

Website: www.pesadroid.com/download