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Spanning from advanced technological adoption to rapid urbanization and industrialization, Africa has, in the last couple of decades, experienced a remarkable growth that today makes it stand out. Naturally, a land flowing with the metaphoric milk and honey, Africa's steady development is one for the books.


While many may argue that there is still a gap between tech and infrastructural development in Africa and other continents, its resilience over the years and open arms to new and innovative technologies has shown that this continent might just sit at the top of technological advancements in the future.


This is perhaps one of the reasons why the continent has witnessed an influx of startups willing to take it to the top. As a result, it has been noted to build strong startup culture in the last couple of years.


In effect, venture funding shaped up 2018 to be a wonderful year and 2019 is appearing to be taking up a great form with many startups taking their place in advancing technology in the continent.


While some of these startups have made the news at some point, there are some of them that rarely gets a mention albeit making waves at their position. This is why in this article, we will be pointing out some of the most promising tech startups that appears to be shaping up Africa's constantly developing tech ecosystem.


Sokowatch


Harnessing the power wielded by smartphones today, this startup works in expanding the business atmosphere in Africa by supporting the concept of Informal shops all across Africa. Sokowatch allows these informal shops top up their inventories with just an SMS or App while increasing their integrity by tracking orders and expanding business through value-added recommendations.


This startup extends credit or more capital to these shopkeepers to further expand their business and cope with the ever-growing demand thus, bringing to mind Betway who developed an app which just as easily allows users amass their capital on gaming boards with just a click to their smartphones.


Andela


Providing a boost and support for promising developers to expand and showcase their creativity, Andela has been steadily building Africa's tech ecosystem. Andela gives developers and companies a field for connection by creating teams made of a community of Africa's promising developers.


Not only does it expand the tech culture in Africa by creating a basis for the extension of companies to Africa, Andela creates an opportunity for developers to get known and showcase their skills.


FinChatBot


Developed in 2016, this startup harnessed the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support financial service providers. Creating chatbots, FinChatBot brought more attention to this technology by giving financial service providers the power to interact with clients via the creation better customer relation services with AI at its base.


Though focused on the South African market, its plans of expansion are in place and is aimed to expand its services to sellers all across the continent in record time.


Appy Saude


This is one startup that hopes to bolster the link between standard healthcare services and promising technologies. This startup works in fostering a transformation in the access to healthcare through its launched database app.


Relevant information, as we know it, is important in providing adequate healthcare services. Appy Saude gives users access to the medical and insurance specialties and services covered by healthcare centres.


Integrating features that allow health personnel and users interact with just a click on their smartphone, Appy Saude has been working to make healthcare an easy feat. The startup is based in Angola and is aiming at expanding to other countries.


CowryWise


CowryWise allows users save and invest through a secure and automated channel. With a portion of the world differential to banks, CowryWise brought the banks to people providing a service that allows users enjoy the flexibility of risk-free investments returns and saving their money at no cost.


Established in Nigeria, this startup has been noted to have processed millions in savings for its users and has gained sufficient traction into the Silicon Valley programme while receiving funding alongside. This startup is admittedly shaking up the FinTech atmosphere and with its plans of expansion in the books, it could just be one of the best in 2019.


 


apple and samsung


The smartphone market is undoubtedly a hugely competitive area at the moment, with many major brands from Apple to Samsung working hard to outdo their rivals with exciting new creations that offer consumers access to a range of options and capabilities.


HTC may have been established in Taiwan all the way back in 1997, but it has grown to have a major presence in the world of mobile phones and, at one point, had a market share of more than 10 percent.


The company's latest model is the Exodus 1, an Android-based smartphone that is undoubtedly heavily inspired by the recent developments and interest seen in cryptocurrency across the past few years.


Growing awareness


While the idea of bitcoin and other digital forms of currency has been around now for some time, the cryptocurrency concept has arguably reached a new level of popularity in recent years. Towards the end of 2017, bitcoin reached record values of around $20,000, with the news seemingly taking awareness of the concept to a whole new level.


bitcoin


Across the past few years, a range of brands have embraced and permitted cryptocurrencies as a payment method, with the likes of Subway and travel website Expedia at one point or another giving consumers the chance to purchase goods or services using the concepts. Technological powerhouse Microsoft has also taken steps into the area and has allowed people to use bitcoin on its online store in the past.


Such trends have even led to the creation of further services including many a trading platform devoted to the concept. Services for exchanging digital currencies first emerged shortly after the likes of bitcoin and other crypto assets were launched around a decade ago, with the platforms becoming increasingly sophisticated as time has gone by.


An Android device with a difference


Now, against this backdrop of growing interest and awareness in cryptocurrency in general, the Exodus 1 has emerged.


HTC's new device is an Android smartphone with a difference, specifically in the sense that it features a private area separate to the main operating system that has been created to keep cryptocurrencies safe. The wallet system it features is known as Zion and has been designed to protect private keys and other vital data.


htc


Such features have led HTC to describe the phone as the first native web 3.0 mobile device as it has seemingly pushed matters forward from web 2.0 and the idea that personal data is controlled by large organisations. Instead, HTC claims the web 3.0 paradigm gives people the chance to own their own information.


Finally, just to emphasise the phone's cryptocurrency credentials further, HTC initially only made it available to buy with such currency.


More than a cryptocurrency device


However, what else does the handset offer away from the world of crypto? The device features a 6.0" Quad HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio, as well as a 12MP+16MP main camera with high-quality zoom functions.


It also includes an 8MP+8MP dual front camera, as well as audio features, including HTC BoomSound Hi-Fi edition and HTC USonic with Active Noise Cancellation. In terms of video, it is capable of 4k and 3D audio recording quality as well as Sonic Zoom with Audio Boost.
Edge Sense 2 is also featured, with the concept allowing users to squeeze the sides of the phone to access different functions.


The Exodus 1 also includes 6GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage.


More to follow?


All of this makes the smartphone a fascinating example of how some technology providers are seeking to embrace the issues of blockchain and cryptocurrency in general across their new systems.


It will be really interesting to see just how successful the Exodus 1 proves to be and whether it could act as a gateway that ultimately brings the idea and concept of cryptocurrency to more people than ever before. Furthermore, it will be intriguing to see if other providers also choose to follow in HTC's direction.


 

 

 

Google says the Android platform is more secure than ever, although there has been an increase in the number of potentially harmful applications (PHAs). In its latest Android Security & Privacy Year in Review report for 2018, Google says threats continue to be observed in apps that are pre-installed or are packaged in over-the-air (OTA) updates.


Android security has been a consistently hot topic through the history of the platform. Google's OS has often suffered from breaches in security, mostly delivered to smartphones through apps and browsers. Needless to say, security problems can cause problems when you are trying to enjoy bonuscode.my on your device browser or performance simple everyday tasks.

 

watchphone

Image credit: pixabay.com


Google has often defended Android by saying the operating system is completely secure in its stock form. The problem is OEMs take the platform and add their own services and UI touches to it, often compromising Google's own security mitigations. This problem is made worse by many OEMs delaying security patches and system updates for months.


Over the last five years, Google has published its Android Security & Privacy Year in Review, which details the threats and vulnerabilities that have impacted the OS. In 2018, the company says a rise in PHAs caused the biggest cause for concern.


"Malicious actors increased their efforts to embed PHAs into the supply chain using two main entry points: new devices sold with pre-installed PHAs and over the air (OTA) updates that bundle legitimate system updates with PHAs," wrote Google in its Android Security and Privacy Year in Review 2018.


Despite a rise in PHAs, Google says the number of those threatening applications landing on Android devices actually declined by 20 percent last year. Indeed, just 0.08 percent of all Android devices were affected by PHAs during 2018.


While this is impressive, it is data that should be taken with a pinch of salt. The problem with Google's annual report is that it only charts applications that were downloaded from the Google Play Store. Sure, most apps end up on Android devices via the store, but there are other stores and places users can download apps from. Google does not keep data on PHAs from these less secure services.


It is also worth noting that Android is now on over 2 billion devices around the world. That means 0.08 percent of devices Google says were affected by PHAs in 2018 amounts to over 1.6 million smartphones affected, a pretty large number.


In terms of specific regions, Google says India has shown a security improvement on Android devices. In the platform's "biggest market", security threats and exploits are frequent, but improvements are being made in India.


For example, Indian Android devices became 35 percent cleaner throughout 2018 compared to 2017, with only 0.65 percent of handsets affected by PHAs at a single time. In fact, Google says Indonesia is now the leading nation in terms of PHA spread.


Despite steps in the right direction in India, the country remains the most likely to receive Android trojan attacks, with 22.4 percent of all global cases.

 




Owners in India are reporting they are receiving a new update for their Nokia 3 smartphones. HMD Global has announced it has started rolling out the March Android security update to the smartphone. The over-the-air (OTA) rollout is starting in India and will reach other global regions in stages over the coming weeks.


As usual, pulling in a monthly Android patch OTA is a painless experience and the update should not take long. That means you can update in-between watching Netflix, using bet365, or communicating with friends and be back into the action quickly.


If you don't see the update immediately, even in India, don't worry as it is on its way. March's Android security update weighs in at 100MB, which suggests this is all about shoring up security and making general platform tweaks. Indeed, there are no new features included in this release, which is hardly a surprise.


Google says its monthly security patches are a vital component of the platform that allow Android to remain safe and protect devices. However, because Android is an open ecosystem, many of the monthly patches don't end up on smartphones fast enough.


OEMs are free to change Android as they wish and update the platform when they want, often including holding back updates. On a mass level, delayed updates have caused massive fragmentation across the ecosystem, while on a smaller scale many smartphones are not receiving the full range of Google's security patches.


HMD Global's Nokia 3 is different because it runs a stock Android experience. This is Google's own version of Android, free of the bloatware and added software tweaks OEMs make. Google says Stock Android is both secure and a smooth OS, but OEMs often make it insecure with their changes.


The Nokia 3 does run Stock Android, offering one of the purest Android environments in the smartphone market. Aside from performance benefits, owners of Nokia handsets are also treated to timely security patches. Google launches monthly security patches to its own Pixel smartphones and the Nokia 3 usually receives these updates just a few weeks later.


While that's hugely impressive, the fact the Nokia 3 is two years old and still receiving updates before most flagships is also notable. Highlighting the benefits of Stock Android, the Nokia 3 is a modestly spec'd and affordable device that still receives patches. That is a rarity in the smartphone world.


HMD Global is also allowing the device to stay up-to-date in terms of major Android versions. Back in December, the company rolled out Android Oreo 8.1 to the Nokia 3. Better still, Android 9 Pie is scheduled to be released for the smartphone before the close of the second quarter 2019. Of course, Android Q will launch at the end of the year and it will be interesting to see if the Nokia 3 gets the upgrade.


As for the smartphone itself, it is still a decent budget options two years after its 2017 launch. Costing around $100, the Nokia 3 offers a 5-inch HD screen and is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek 6737 CPU paired with 2GB of RAM. While that processor may seem lite, Stock Android and the HD resolution allow for solid performance.


Elsewhere, the Nokia 3 has 16GB of on-board storage that can be expended by 128GB via a MicroSD card. In terms of cameras, the smartphone has an 8-megapixel lens on the rear and another 8-megapixel shooter as its selfie camera on the front.


smartphone-security


In an age where data security breaches and hacks are more common than ever before, it is vital to take the necessary steps to safeguard your device against external threats. Your smartphone contains all of your banking data, personal information, and your passwords, so the last thing you want is a hacker or scam artist gaining access to it. If you're looking to ringfence your phone against any and all threats, here's how to create a bulletproof Android in seven simple steps. 


1. Password Protect Your Screen 


This one might seem like an obvious one to some, but a recent study revealed that a shocking 34% of all smartphone users do nothing at all to secure their devices. A simple passcode is the first line of defense against hackers and criminals, so make sure to get one for your Android ASAP. Remember not to use an obvious passcode such as "1234" and ideally go for a pattern lock system. 


2. Enable Two-Factor Google Authentification 


If you're an Android user then all of your data will be synced with your Google account. This means that securing your Google account is an absolute necessity. Log into your Google account and immediately authorize 2-factor authentification (2FA) so that you'll be aware anytime someone attempts to log into your device. 


3. Use a VPN, Always 


A VPN app on your phone hides your IP address and prevents potential hackers from locating you and remotely accessing your device. Anyone who is serious about their Android security uses a comprehensive VPN service, so make sure to shop around for the best VPN for Android before installing one that best suits your needs. 


smartphone-vpn


4. Lock Your SIM 


A leading cause of data breaches is straight-up phone theft. One way to make your stolen Android useless to thieves is a screen lock, while the next best thing is to lock your SIM. You'd be surprised by how much data can be retrieved from a SIM, so take the brief time to set up a PIN for your card, ideally one that is different to the PIN you use for your lock screen. 


5. Disable "Unknown Sources"


Your Android has a feature in the settings which allows for the download of "unknown sources", i.e., applications that are not available on the Google Play store. This is the primary gateway for hackers to install malware onto your device, so disable this feature straight away. Chances are this strange setting is enabled by default, so double-check even if you think you don't have it switched on. 


6. Install Android Antivirus


There are countless antivirus applications you can download which will run in the background without slowing your Android down. There are countless well-rated and highly secure antivirus platforms specifically for Android phones, so take a look and see which one is best for you. You can even download multiple apps if you're wanting to be extra cautious with your security. 


smartphone-antivirus


7. Encrypt Your Data 

Last but not least, the ultimate way to ensure no-one can ever get into your device is by encrypting your files and applications. Most new Android devices are encrypted by default, which makes sensitive information impossible to read or analyze, but you can go the extra mile by using a service such as CoverMe or Signal to guarantee none of your files will ever be visible. 


A secure device means peace of mind. These simple steps take only a few minutes to complete, to take them now to secure your device in perpetuity. 

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