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OPPO Reno 10X Zoom Edition: Huawei P30 Pro’s new rival that could have an even better camera

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Oppo Reno: 48 megapixel camera, 10x zoom and a shark’s fin selfie cam

OPPO has officially announced the all-new Reno 10X Zoom Edition smartphone with 10X lossless zoom and Snapdragon 855 SoC

OPPO unveiled its new Reno series of smartphones at an event held in China on the 10th of April. Out of the models announced at the event, the OPPO Reno 10X Zoom Edition is the most dominant, with the 10x optical zoom periscope style camera as the highlight.

This phone is an ideal rival of all the most costly flagships smartphone out there like the Samsung Galaxy S10+ and the Huawei P30 Pro.

OPPO Reno will come in three variants; the Reno Standard Edition, Reno 10x Zoom Edition and Reno 5G.

The standard Reno comes with a 6.4-inch display that has essentially non-existent bezels surrounding it. OPPO has achieved the futuristic aesthetic of the hardware by incorporating a pop-up selfie camera at its top.

Unlike the firm’s Find X flagship that has a symmetrical panel that emerges and houses its front-facing camera and 3D face scanning system, Reno instead opts for a wedge-style camera that displays its 16-megapixel front snapper.

The standard Reno is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 710 processor and not the manufacturer’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 855 chipset. Reno comes with a dual-camera system on its rear that comprise of a 48-megapixel main sensor and a 5-megapixel depth sensor. The OPPO device is available in four gradient finishes; fog sea green, extreme night black, nebula purple and pink mist.

While the standard Reno is certainly an appealing device, the 10x Zoom Edition is much more likely to be a staunch rival of the P30 Pro thanks to its increased functionality.

For starters, OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Edition comes with a larger 6.6-inch display that similarly has incredibly small borders surrounding it. Powering the hardware is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor, meaning the device should offer faster performance than the standard variant.

The more premium hardware also comes with hefty 4,065mAh battery that should deliver all-day life for Android fans. It is worth noting the standard Reno boasts a 3,765mAh pack. One of the most appealing features about the Reno 10x Zoom Edition is, as the name suggests, its camera system.

OPPO Reno Shark fin pop-up Selfie Cam

The Chinese hardware comes with a 48-megapixel main sensor that is accompanied by an 8-megapixel ultra wide-angle sensor and a 13-megapixel zooming lens. Just like the P30 Pro, the Reno’s telephoto sensor takes advantage of a periscope-style system that allows it to deliver a 5-times optical zoom and a 10-times hybrid zoom. Such technology is incredibly similar to Huawei’s new flagship and could radically challenge it for the title of best zoom ever offered on a smartphone.

Videographers will also be pleased to hear the OPPO Reno is capable of recording clips in 4K at up to 60-frames-per-second, a feature already present on the likes of the Galaxy S10 and iPhone Xs. Whereas, the P30 Pro is not capable of recording at the same smooth frame rate.

While sitting tight for the OPPO Reno’s worldwide release which is a European launch event on April 24 in Zurich, we compared the OPPO Reno smartphone with the most vital handsets that you can get all around the globe, the Huawei P30 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S10+.

OPPO Reno 10X Zoom Edition vs Samsung Galaxy S10+ vs Huawei P30 Pro specifications 

All the three phones are powered by different processors. The OPPO Reno 10X Zoom Edition uses the Snapdragon 855 chipset, the Samsung Galaxy S10+ is powered by the Exynos 9820, and the Huawei P30 Pro houses the Kirin 980 processor.

The OPPO Reno 10X Zoom Edition has an all-screen display with no notches or holes. Instead, it uses a new type of pop-up mechanism for the selfie camera, which is called the Shark Fin module. It gets a 6.65-inch full-HD+ display that’s protected with Gorilla Glass 6. The display also houses an in-display fingerprint scanner.

The Galaxy S10+ resorts to a hole in the display setup with a 6.4-inch panel and an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. The Huawei P30 Pro has a tiny teardrop notch on the 6.47-inch AMOLED FHD+ display, and also gets an in-display fingerprint sensor. The P30 Pro has a better rear fascia, compared to the Galaxy S10+, but the OPPO Reno beats them all in terms of design.

When it comes to the camera department, both the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom Edition and the Huawei P30 Pro feature a periscope-style 10x lossless zoom sensor. The Reno model gets a primary 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and a 13-megapixel telephoto sensor with 160mm of focal length. The main sensor features hybrid OIS and can record 4K videos at 60fps. The phone gets a 16-megapixel sensor on the Shark Fin pop-up camera module.

The Huawei P30 Pro also houses a periscope sensor at the back, but it has a lower resolution of 8-megapixels. There’s a primary 40-megapixel SuperSpectrum sensor, a 20-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and a 3D Time-of-Flight sensor. The front notch houses a 32-megapixel unit for selfies.

On the Galaxy S10+, you will find a triple rear camera setup. The main camera is a 12-megapixel dual-aperture sensor, which is paired to a 16-megapixel ultra-wide and a 12-megapixel telephoto unit. When it comes to zooming, the OPPO Reno and the Huawei P30 Pro are the winners. The Galaxy S10+ gets dual-front facing cameras, with 10-megapixel and 8-megapixel sensors. 

In terms of battery and software, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom edition features a 4,065mAh battery, which is smaller than what you get on the P30 Pro and the Galaxy S10+. The Reno 10x does support VOOC 3.0 fast charging though.

The Galaxy S10+ has a 4,100mAh battery, whereas the Huawei P30 Pro houses a huge 4,250mAh unit. Both the Samsung and Huawei phones support fast wireless charging and reverse wireless charging. All devices run the latest version of Android, with their respective UIs on top.

Oppo Reno 10x Zoom price begins from $600, while for the P30 Pro and S10+, both are priced at around $1000 for the 128GB variants.


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KawiSafi Ventures raises $70m for clean energy accelerate in East Africa

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Acumen today announced that its for-profit fund, KawiSafi Ventures has raised approximately $70 million to drive energy access for millions of low-income people in East Africa and scale the clean energy sector.

Acumen, through Acumen Capital Partners has invested $22 million of patient, philanthropic capital across the off-grid ecosystem and impacting 81 million lives. Acumen is now going into for-profit investments away from philanthropic capital.

KawiSafi will use the funds to accelerate growth of clean energy companies in East Africa. Some of KawiSafi’s early supporters include anchor investor the Green Climate Fund along with Steve Jurvetson, Chris Anderson and the Skoll Foundation. Acumen, as sponsor, holds an equity interest in the fund.

According to Jacqueline Novogratz, Founder and CEO of Acumen, “We created KawiSafi to prove that renewable, off-grid energy can be a faster, cheaper and cleaner way to electrify the continent. By building scalable solutions that can bring power to low-income communities that have lived without electricity for too long, we can create a seismic shift in off-grid energy, releasing immense levels of human productivity and minimizing impact on the environment. Given that Africa’s population is expected to nearly double by 2030, a clean energy strategy is good not just for the continent but for everyone.”

In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 600 million people currently live without electricity and spend $17 billion a year on dirty, inefficient energy. KawiSafi aims to deliver clean, affordable energy to 10 million people, at least half of whom live in poverty, and displace more than one million tons of carbon dioxide in the next 10 years, to address energy poverty and help avert the current climate crisis. To date, KawiSafi has invested $21 million to impact 4.3 million people and avert 360 thousand tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

“The energy landscape has changed drastically in the last decade, and we have seen proven, profitable businesses emerge that are already transforming how low-income people access electricity,” said KawiSafi’s Managing Director Amar Inamdar. “These companies need early-growth capital to scale so they meet customer demand and drive innovation in a rapidly evolving ecosystem. KawiSafi will fill critical market gaps to create a sustainable, off-grid ecosystem, supporting countries to realize their UN Sustainable Development Goal of universal energy access.

d.light, a longtime Acumen investee, is one of KawiSafi’s first investments. The company, which manufactures and distributes a broad range of high-quality, affordable solar products, has impacted more than 90 million lives and offset 21 million tons of CO2. d.light recently closed $41 million in Series E financing, demonstrating how KawiSafi can help accelerate growth for companies with proven business models poised to generate significant financial and social returns.

KawiSafi is managed by Acumen Capital Partners LLC, an Acumen-owned subsidiary that structures and manages funds investing in social enterprises poised to scale to transform the lives of low-income people everywhere and solve some of poverty’s greatest challenges. .


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BBM to shut down on 31st May

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BBM is shutting down on 31st May 2019, a statement on the BBM blog notes.

“Today we’re announcing that we will be closing BBM consumer service on 31 May 2019.”

BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM, like we all used to call it had a good run.

Back in the day, being on BBM was almost a status symbol in some quarters.

You know, long before the smartphone era began in earnest, those who had BlackBerry devices from RIM (Research in Motion, what the maker of BlackBerry phones used to be known as), had this exclusive club where they could chat with each other for hours on end. Heck, those who not only managed to break into that exclusive club but could also afford to splurge even more on the limited edition BlackBerry smartphones from Porsche Design had special BBM PINs to announce their status to the world.

Such were the good old days.

However, like many other technologies and technology companies before it, BlackBerry failed to move with the masses and the times. Not only did it miss the mass movement occasioned by the arrival of the iPhone, it also held on to BBM for far too long instead of availing it on every platform and attracting new users. It’s not lost on us the irony of Apple being accused of doing pretty much the same thing with iMessage today.

As BlackBerry took its sweet time, other messenger apps took root. WhatsApp, which had existed briefly in the pre-iOS/Android era, slowly built itself up as the messenger app of choice for the masses, including even BlackBerry users since both the sender and the recipient both needed BlackBerry devices in order to use BBM.

By the time BBM was being made available to other platforms, like our beloved Android, in May 2013, its would-be users were already hooked to other services and that move only served to, mostly, excite existing BlackBerry users who were increasingly beginning to sample what was on offer on other platforms.

As the blog post announcing the service’s shuttering next month correctly notes, “users have moved on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on.”

It is worth noting that the BBM service being shut down is the consumer service. Those who rely on BBM for their workplace chatter are still safe as the enterprise version is staying put.

Those who had made in-app purchases – like BBM stickers, for instance – on the Android app can request for refunds and those will be processed through Google Play. BBMoji purchases, however, are not eligible for any refund.

It is rather sad to see BBM go but it would be dishonest to say it will be missed. What with the likes of Telegram Messenger and their endless capabilities around.

UPDATE

BlackBerry, just like it had done with its hardware services, had outsourced BBM to Indonesian firm Emtek. It is Emtek that is responsible for pulling the plug on BBM as communicated today. As a result, BlackBerry is opening up the enterprise version of BBM to ordinary users who will still want to stick around after May 31st. The BBMe app is available on the Google Play Store.

It is worth noting, though, that the app is not as full-featured with all the fun stuff (BBMojis, stickets and all) as the consumer version and just caters to the usual stuff – chats, video calls. Importantly, it emphasizes on the security credentials that BlackBerry has been known for for years. After the first year, though, it will cost upwards of Kshs 250 to keep on using the service.





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Airtel Kenya and LG Kenya team up to offer up to 30% discount on electronics and appliances

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Both Airtel Kenya and LG Electronics are marginal names in their respective arenas here in Kenya. Perhaps with something common between them, the two have decided to team up and offer discounts of up to 30% off on LG electronics and appliances sold through the official LG Brand Shop.

Airtel Kenya and LG Kenya are running a promotion that could save you a good amount of money going into Easter holidays, but unfortunately, this discount can’t be utilized on our favorite Android gizmos, smartphones. This is because the said LG online shop doesn’t stock LG smartphones, but there’s still plenty of Android over there, including some of the best Smart TVs on the market.

In order to get the (up to) 30% discount off your next LG purchase from the LG Brand Shop, you must make your payment through Airtel Money. We all know how unpopular Airtel Money is compared to industry leader, M-PESA, but with this promo, Airtel Kenya hopes it will see an improvement in the service’s intake.

Similarly, LG hopes to see a jump in purchases of their electronics and appliances as more Kenyans look to take advantage of the offer and make savings of up to Sh 40,000.

A great move, no doubt, but as noted earlier, both Airtel and LG are not names that regularly pop up in conversations around mobile devices. We all know how essential mobile devices are if either is to realize any significant success from this partnership.

What is still unclear is for how long this promo will be around, so be sure to take advantage of it while it lasts. That is, NOW!





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