5 Reasons Why Nokia Still Got It

Low-End Phones

Nokia still controls over 90% of the market share of low-end phones; the mulika mwizis. If you need to buy a phone for a (aged) relative living in the rural area, you’d buy a Nokia. In fact, your first phone was probably a Nokia. Nowadays, I don’t see cheap Motorolas very much. I think Nokia and Samsung are the only ones releasing low-end phones into the market. Let’s not forget counterfeit subquality Chinese phones.. with the CCK directive to eliminate these phones from the market, the next alternative for cheap quality phones is Nokia. If your phone gets stolen and before you get enough money to buy your next phone, you’d probably buy a mulika mwizi.

The phones are called a mulika-mwizi because they have a torch.. which you can use to locate candles on the days of frequent power outages.

Nokia 1200.. an example of a mulika mwizi

If you are reading this blog, you are probably among the earliest adopters of technology so the buzzword ‘smartphone’ is all you look for. However, majority of the Kenyan population, mostly in the rural areas, have no idea what a smartphone is and don’t want to know. (Or they may want to know.. who wants to do research? Any i-Hub researcher reading this? What do people in Kenya rural know about smartphones and are they interested?)

Battery Life & Camera(sometimes) & Ease of Use

Again with access to electricity in rural areas still a challenge, Nokia phones have a reputation for long battery life. I don’t know how long it will take for Kenya to have a widely distributed, reliable supply of electricity but in the meantime, a phone that has a long battery life is still an asset.

Even in the cities and major towns, power outages are still an issue.

Generally speaking, Nokia cameras are better in comparison to other phones.. like Huawei Ideos for instance. I hear the N8 with its 8MP camera is awesome. (Been told it’s actually 12MP. I know digital cameras with less resolution)

Nokia phones have the easiest interface to use. Perhaps because we are already used to them since most of our introductory phones were Nokias.

Customer Care

There are a number of Nokia shops in town where you can take your phone for repair if it has issues. Nokia also established a VIP customer care center where I hear you are served coffee and snacks as you wait to be served. Nokia is the only phone company whose marketing manager I know personally, the lovely Dorothy Ooko. Even the general manager Kenneth Oyolla is friendly and professional.

If my Samsung developed issues, I wouldn’t know where to go… maybe the shops are around and I just haven’t Googled for them.

P.S. If you are wondering what Nokia did for the hunger crisis.. they gave a total of 26M towards the effort. They just didn’t shout about it to the rooftops.

Support of Local Developers

Nokia recently trained a number of young developers to make apps for its ovi store. They gave them an allowance during the training, and provided all the support they needed.

In addition, Nokia has been providing free marketing for apps by local developers. You wake up one morning to find your app on the billboard, how awesome is that? If you’re a developer that is. Among the billboards I’ve seen is the apps for Around Me (for places around you), Tell a Secret (duh, for telling secrets) and CDF Monitor App.

The Future?

Okay, so everyone is talking Android. Every smartphone being released into the market is running on android, except the iPhone of course.

Nokia will be moving to Windows Phone OS. In a sea of android, a Win Phone will be the unique one. You will stand out. Unfortunately, this is the only advantage I can see. I can’t speak much about the Win Phone OS except it is restrictive… something android is not.

Perhaps Nokia can release a series of touch-phones in the $100-$200 range.. smartphones that will give Huawei and Samsung android phones a run for their money.

We wait with bated breath.

The Samsung Galaxy Mini- My Review

Meet Lexxy, my new Samsung Galaxy Mini. Goodbye BI- Black Ideot, my lovely ex. Thanks to Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore for that one! (Although I did change BI’s cover to yellow).

The Samsung Galaxy Mini

The Samsung Galaxy Mini. If you look closely, you can see I used the yellow-covered Ideos to take a photo of the Galaxy and it's reflected on the screen of the Galaxy.

This is a phone I’d call the smartphone of Africa. It’s affordable and offers a lot of features for its asking price of Kshs. 12,999. You can find it in Safaricom shops where you get 200MB of data recurring every month for 3 months.

The phone runs on the Android 2.2 platform, which is basically the same as the Huawei Ideos U8150. I would actually it’s closest competitor is the Huawei Ideos which retails for much cheaper and offers almost everything that’s possible on the Android platform, if only with a number of compromises. So my review will compare the two phones. Besides, it’s only natural since my ex is an Ideos.

Android 2.2

Both the Ideos and The Galaxy Mini run on the android 2.2 platform, giving both access to hundreds of thousands of apps available on the android market right now. They range from photo editing apps, to social networking apps, to document viewers/editors, media players/converters.. basically everything you can think of. It’s like the rule 34, but now for apps. At this point you might wanna Google rule 34 but I digress.

There is also a Samsung Apps market but truth be told I haven’t checked it out because everything can be found on the Android market.

Common Features

Both phones have GPS, GPRS, 3.2 Megapixel Cameras (although the Samsung produces much better photographs than the Ideos, much better), Wifi, 3G, HSPDA for data access, tethering and hotspot, microSD support of up to 32GB (both come with a 2GB memory card), micro-USB port/cable, 3.5mm audio jack (so you can use most earphones, it’s like the standard in Kenya), 600MHz processor, 200MB, radio and the other usual features.

Let us just say that most of the differences are in the hardware of the phones.. If you want to see a full list of the features, please check out the GSMArena description; Samsung Galaxy Mini and Huawei Ideos U8150

Colour, Size and Screen Resolution

The Samsung Galaxy Mini is bigger but slimmer and lighter than the Huawei Ideos. The Ideos comes in pink, yellow, blue and black BACK covers, the rest of the phone is black. The galaxy mini comes in black/silver back colours with a lime green trim.

An Ideos fits perfectly in my hand but the mini is a bit of stretch. Also because of size, it’s faster and more accurate to type on the mini than on the Ideos so all those people with the fat-fingers-vs-touch-screens-syndrome will have an easier time 🙂

The Samsung Galaxy Mini. Image from gsmarena.com

The screen resolution is the same for both: 240 by 320 pixels. HOWEVER, since the screen of the galaxy mini is bigger, it appears pixelleted (I hope this is a real word). This is when you can actually see individual pixels of the display!

So the galaxy mini’s screen compensates by having a higher contrast of colours and brighter display. Still… it makes me kind of miss my smooth-looking Ideos display.

I read a blog review that said the galaxy mini has the lowest resolution and Android phone can actually sink to!

Battery Life/Talk Time

The mini (by now I can drop the galaxy part) has almost double the talk time of the Ideos. With my usage, I used to get low-battery warnings every 3 hours, but with the mini it’s like 6 hours. So just know that the mini’s battery is roughly twice as better as the Ideos, and by better I mean longer lasting.

Media Player/Radio

The Ideos has a weak media player.. if I can use the word weak. The mini has a robust music player/radio that makes listening to it so enjoyable, it is loud without compromising quality. Almost like listening to a surround hi-fi system when your earphones are plugged in.


So whenever I got a call/text/gchat, the Ideos indicator light flashed green. If I got a violet flash, that was a WhatsApp chat. If the battery went low, it flashed red. If it was charging, it continuously glowed red, and as it neared full, it glowed green.

However with the mini, I have to swipe and unlock the screen so I can see my notifications. I miss that feature on the Ideos.

Start-up Time

Remember how we used to switch on computers, go make a cup of tea and come back to find it still hasn’t finished booting up? Well, the same happens with the Ideos. It takes more than a minute to come back to life! Something I definitely don’t miss. This can be an agonizing wait in an age where we love instant stuff..

The mini has a much more friendly waiting time. Less than 15 seconds (okay I didn’t time it but the time factor is ignorable-if I could say that).

Other differences include:

Colour-differentiated text threads on the galaxy mini which makes them look better than the Ideos ones.. but I think this might be a theme thing I’ll confirm.

The extra green/red buttons on the Ideos are missing on the mini but that doesn’t affect much really.

The mini supports multi-touch, meaning you can pinch to zoom in/out of a document on the browser or a picture.

The mini supports more screens than the fixed 5 screens of the Ideos. You can add/delete screens which you can’t do on the Ideos.

The camera for the mini is better, clearer.. however, it has NO ZOOM! I don’t expect an optical zoom but it should support a digital zoom like the Ideos though with the poor quality Ideos camera maybe it doesn’t matter. Both cameras have no auto-focus or flash.

In Conclusion

To read a detailed review of the galaxy mini, read this blog.

Is the Galaxy Mini Better Than The Huawei Ideos?

Yes. It’s bigger, slimmer, lighter, faster, longer-lasting battery, better camera etc. There is a slight hardware improvement from the Ideos. Also, the Ideos is now too common, probably your watchie is spotting one! I know people who want affordable style, a smartphone but not an Ideos. This is the phone for you.

The Galaxy Mini is retailing for 13K while the Huawei Ideos U8150 goes for 8K. Depending on your budget, make a choice!

The Samsung Ch@t 322 – My Review

I’ve had this phone for just over a week now. So my review may not be complete, more like a general look and feel of the phone.

The Samsung Ch@t 322

Unlike Kachwanya, who thought it looks like a candybar (in what world does that phone look like a sweet?!), I think it looks like just another QWERTY phone.

So here is what makes it different from the phones within its price range (7500-8500):


It’s really hectic walking around with two phones: one cool one with a Safaricom line, and one shady one for the other line (Yu/Airtel/Orange).

Finally, Samsung have caught up with the Chinese who have been making those low quality dual-sim phones.

Raised QWERTY keypad

Maybe because I’m so used to touch (well, the Ideos), I find it hard to use keypad phones. But this Samsung has raised keys that are soft and easy to type with, which means faster typing, of course.

Optical TrackPad

At first I didn’t know what that meant! Anyway, the scrolling/navigation/menu button in the middle uses a light sensor (like some Blackberrys) to track the movement of your finger. Scrolling around is smooth and seamless.. I loved it.

Standard Audio Jack/USB Cable/Bluetooth 2.0

With the USB cable you can transfer data to/from the memory card. The phone comes with a 2GB memory card.

The audio jack (3.5mm) is standard and you can connect your phone to standard speakers and listen to your music/radio.

Which reminds me, the music player sounds really good, better than the Ideos’. The radio reception is also quite good, I could receive the X FM signal anywhere. X FM’s signals are the weakest among the channels I bother to listen to.

The Social Media/ Contacts Shortcuts

Now that everyone is into twitter/facebook, there are native apps already installed on the phone and there are shortcuts on the home-screen. However, I never got to tweet/facebook with them because the phone refused to accept internet settings. The SMS from 445 said I should go to the nearest customer care center. I pictured the lines there and gave up.

There are also IMing apps: Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger, among other apps/games.

However, for others who’ve used this phone, they say it should automatically figure out the internet settings for you.

You can also add your frequently accessed contacts on the home screen.

The Downsides

It uses an EDGE connection for internet, but so does the Nokia X2-01, and for most people the only difference between Edge and 3G is the name!

It has a 1.3MP camera, but it produces better quality images than the Ideos with its (supposed) 2MP camera! At least this is a better camera than the X2‘s VGA camera (I’m just being honest here)

Unlike Nokia with a strong OVi Store presence for apps, the Samsung market is er.. it is there but who’s ever shopped for apps there? Now that Samsung high end phones are using the Android market it seems the lower end phones have been forgotten?


This phone looks stylish, is semi-smart and dual-SIM enabled. The music quality is awesome. Texting is fast. If you’re tired of carrying two ‘stupid’ phones, upgrade now!

A Tribute to my Ideot

As I type this my hands are shaking. My heart rate is somewhere around 1000 beats per second. I cannot relax. I get up and pick some fruits from the fridge. I don’t feel like eating them so I wonder why I did that.

My world feels like it’s spinning out of control. I am like a fish out of water, literally. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I am not doing either as I sit here typing this. My heart is bleeding, my head wants to start aching.

The cause of all this misery is a man. A man in red. A man currently taking apart one of the things I love most. A man causing my heart to bleed. If I ever see a tire around him, I’ll buy the fuel. I am replaying it over and over again. I can see him run and weave through the vehicles stuck in traffic. The dust he raises as his shoes strike the road. The crowd he melts into too soon before anyone realizes what is happening.

My heart feels constricted. I hope I don’t get an attack.

My lovely Ideot is gone…. Gone with the wind! The fucking guy in a red jacket stole it from me in traffic at Githurai, just 3 minutes from home.

I feel like shooting somebody! I’d give anything to have it back intact with all my data & contacts. Contacts I can get from Gmail though, they were synced automatically.


The Ideot had a blue cover

I was stupid, tweeting like that. I had relaxed. The fact that I was near home made me drop my guard. We had already passed the blackspots, especially the darkest one at Ngara. The window was closed. However, the guy behind me had not closed his. The thief came from behind, I couldn’t have seen him. I had Ideot (that was her name) firmly held in both hands. I had earphones plugged in and I was listening to X FM. I was just about to hit reply to a tweet.

The hands came from nowhere. In a flash, I was struggling with the guy for the phone. He had the advantage of surprise and the Ideot is shiny smooth. It glided off my hands before I could scream thief. It felt like the wind had just been snatched from my sails, like a bird whose wings have been taken away and it’s a free fall to hell. The earphones dangled uselessly.

I turned after the man in the red jacket.. helplessly I shouted, “My phone! My phone…” but it wasn’t a cry for help. It was an involuntary cry of loss. I am overwhelmed. No, that is an understatement. I feel like dying. [I no longer feel like dying by the time you’re reading this! It’s never that serious!]

It’s not just about the monetary value of the phone. Though it is cheap, I cannot afford to buy another IDEOS right now. I am that broke… so if any of you was looking to date me for my money, now you know there are no prospects here. I am digressing.

The phone has soooo much of my data. Not just information I need but information about me.

I had pimped that phone with applications. Media applications, internet applications, Bible applications, the SDA lesson app etc. That phone reads Savvy Kenya in every screen. Last I remember was updating all my apps on Thursday evening at The Mug, just after checking in on Foursquare. They have free wi-fi.

I was going to buy airtime and call Idd Salim (whose blog I sometimes read with one tab open on a Google page) to inquire about something. I was going to call my bro and ask him what time he’s coming home. I was going to call my mum and tell her I’m almost home. I was going to read my emails and check out the timetable for the next module. I was going to login to foursquare and become mayor of Thika Road, I was one checkin away, you see. I was going to transfer data from the SD card and update my playlist. Bon Jovi was getting old, wait, he’s already old. I was finally going to look at that LWUI pdf I have been carrying around and see what I could come up with. I was going to watch movies on Z my laptop and tweet about them. I was going to read a report on the mobile tech scene. I was going to do so many things with Ideot. I was going to start writing Hello World for Android, my first app in that platform. Oh, I wasn’t going to do that on the phone. Now, no more.


Another big, sad, sigh.

I keep remembering the things I had done this morning with the Ideot. I also keep imagining the things we were going to do together. The places we were going to check out and check-in on foursquare. The music we were going to listen to. The movies we were going to watch together on the QQ player I downloaded, if her battery lasted that long. The conversations and flirtations we were going to have with online people. The girl who likes girls that we were supposed to meet. The chats that I was going to have on WhatsApp with my close friends.

I keep imagining these things and torturing myself. I remember all the files, images, music and videos and my heart bleeds yet again.

I shall be more careful from now on. I can’t promise I won’ tweet in traffic, but I will try. I will start reading novels instead of blogs, meditating and sleeping instead of tweeting. I am an addict and I admit it so I will try to suffer through the withdrawal symptoms. If the temptation is too much, I will avoid window seats. You can never be too careful.

I have the best parents in the world. My dad has just come home while I was typing this. He has listened to my story with sympathy. He has reminded me of the number of times he tells me to keep my phone away. He has told me to look around for the cheapest phone with internet and he’ll get me one. There’s an internet-less phone lying around but he knows I cannot do without internet.

I am thinking Kabambe 3G.

Just for a while, till I can buy another Ideos. But it will never replace Ideot. Wherever you are dear, I hope your new owner treats you with the respect you deserve. I hope he/she does not misuse that information about me. I hope he/she doesn’t use my passwords and accounts that I’m already logged into. I hope they format the SD-card so that they cannot use my files. As for the one who took you away from me, may he meet his fate at a burning tire. Whatever he did was cruel but not unusual.

Just finished typing this and I’m headed to the cyber to put it up. Problem is… where to get a flash-disk? I was really dependent on Ideot. With an IDEOS you don’t need a modem. You can surf the internet without a SIM card.

This is not the first time I’m experiencing loss of a phone. My Chinese N95 got stolen from my room in campus, together with my wallet. The C3 was a Westy incident. The replacement wallet got nicked from my bag last year. I have replaced my nationa & school IDs &ATM cards twice.
Looks like I’ll be Mteja till Monday morning. Adios mes amigos.

Here and There: A Picture Story

Hint: click on the photos to open a bigger and clearer version. All these were taken through my trusted and much loved Ideos phone.

I get around in Nairobi much, mostly running errands on behalf of parents, brothers, cousins etc. One time, I was near the Kenyatta National Hospital and there was this fleet of vehicles running funeral services. I couldn’t believe when I saw one written “LOL Funeral Services”. Was that some kind of sick joke? So I moved in closer for a paparazzi shot because the driver was chatting with someone and I didn’t want to be seen taking pictures of them.

However, on closer scrutiny, it can be seen that the O is in fact a B. Someone should tell these people that there are other font options available!

LOL Funeral Services

LOL Funeral Services

A second image that made it to my camera this past week was of a guy with a padlocked bag. Not those stylish, small and decorative suitcase padlocks but one of those we used to lock our boxes with in high school.

Two flaws with his logic: if someone wanted to steal stuff from his bag without alerting him, they’d take a razor blade and slash the bag.. easier than breaking the padlock. Two, if they were to take his bag by force, the padlock is not going to stop them.

Moral of the story: put a padlock only on non-slashable bags!

Padlocked bag

The padlocked bag

Now if you must know, I’m an amateur photographer. I love taking photographs of anything interesting (or sometimes not).

The Cooperative Building is next to the site of the former office of the US Embassy. When the embassy was bombed in 1998 by Osama bin Laden and his people, over 200 Kenyans died and thousands more were injured (I hope these are the exact figures). The Cooperative Building is made of glass on the front and back side (the photo below is a side view) and you can imagine what happened! All that glass shattered and flying around, lodging into people’s throats etc. The horror.

The building itself however survived and was repaired. Now it’s as magnificent as ever.

Cooperative House

Cooperative House, which suffered a major shake up during the bomb blast of '98

The Google Android Phone : IDEOS U8150

This is a personal review of the phone. I have reviewed a few of the phones I’ve had, so far over 8 of them. The torches that could call and text were not reviewed, of course not. Check out the review of the Nokia C3 and the fake Nokla I had. Yes people, I’ve used Chinese products before, don’t act you’ve never done that too.

1. Smart phone

This is the first smart phone I’m having! The joy of having one… indescribable. The best thing for me is the ability to multitask. Which means I can be using multiple apps at the same time, without having to close the app to make a call, receive a text etc. Apps are left in the same state you left them, unless they are continuously updating themselves. You can have any number of apps running, minimizing them to go to other apps. The rest of the features are only possible because it’s a smart phone!

It runs on the Android Operating System (the best really), which is rivaled only by the iOS (for Apple products), Blackberry platform (not sure of the official name) and Windows OS for small devices.

2 .Applications

The Android market has got to be the biggest in terms of applications. I doubt Nokia’s OVI comes close! Anyway, here are a few of the many apps I have, and will be downloading more later:

Gmail: You can sign in with multiple accounts, and every time a new message arrives, you get an alert. So far I’m logged in to four accounts! Including my mum’s.

Email app: you configure any account with yahoo/whatever server

WordPress: you can blog straight to your wordpress.org blog or selfhosted wordpress blog. I mostly use it to read/reply comments. You can copy/paste text from a word document, upload photos and view blog stats.

Documents To Go: this is for reading your documents: Word, PDF, Powerpoint slides, Excel Sheets. With Word documents, it formats them for mobile viewing but it’s tasking viewing pdf because you have to scroll left-right and up-down to read a document. However, if it’s urgent it will do

OppenOffice: Same as Documents To Go

Bible and SDA Quarterly Lessons Apps: these two go together and you can browse the SDA Lessons offline. The Bible has to be online though. I’m yet to get the offline version

Google Chat: You can chat on the phone, for those with java phones you should try ebuddy


Places: this is preinstalled. Tells me exactly where I am via map/satellite. If there is somewhere I want to go, I get directions.

QuickPic/Pic Say: One to view photos, another to edit them. Does most things Ms Picture Manager does, cropping, light intensity etc

Snaptu/Twitter for Android/Facebook for Android/Tumblr/YouTube/Skype

News channels/Weather Apps

Voice search/ voice dialing: they are never accurate unless I’m searching the word FOOTBALL. Perhaps it’s my diction.

I could go on and on. There are thousands of apps in the Android market.

3. cheap

Imagine all that… for slightly over $100. It’s costing Kshs. 8500. I wanted the Nokia E63, which goes for about Kshs. 16000. Double this current phone. It’s definitely value for money.

4. stylish

It’s smaller than the iPhone, Blackberry, and the Nokia QWERTY phones. Slim and stylish. Comes in black/blue/pink/yellow.



I had a blue one but exchanged the cover with someone who had a pink one. He’s a guy and the teasing was getting to him.

5. 3G/Wi-Fi

In addition to internet access via 3G, it can surf via Wi-Fi. So if you’re at any hotspot (mostly in the office!), you can use the data-intensive apps comfortably!

Just Adding More Info About Internet Use

So with the wifi, it means that even if you don’t have a SIM card you can comfortably surf where there is a hotspot. Cool, no?

Second, there is an option of tethering. To tether is to surf with your comp, the phone acting as a USB modem. Whether using 3G or wifi. All you have to do is go to Settings> Wireless & Networks > Tethering and Hotspot > Turn on Tethering. Then go to your computer and voila, you start surfing right away. No need to edit any settings!

6. The rest that you shall discover for yourself

1GB memory card, synching of all your contacts (phone, email), multiple home screens that are customizable, threaded messages, Notepad, radio, music, Bluetooth… you know, the whole shebang.

Like all things, it has its downside:

1. Poor Camera

The camera claims to be 3 Megapixels, but my previous phone, a Nokia 2700 with 2Megapixels, produced better photographs.

2. Battery Life

This is the problem with most smartphones! You have to charge it twice a day with intensive use, once with average use and I suppose once in two days if your usage is below average. I charge it twice a day!

3. Data Intensive

With the high cost of data bundles, if you have all the apps running at the same time, you’ll sell your car to be able to afford maintaining the phone!

The trick is to shut down any apps that you’re not using.

It’s not really the phone’s fault that we can’t afford data!