By Adedapo Adesanya
Hot on the heels of the recent launch of the G11 and G21, HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, has announced three new Nokia C-series smartphones –the C21, C21 Plus and C2 2nd edition.
According to the company, this is in response to success for Nokia smartphones within the affordable smartphone market, which saw a 41 per cent smartphone revenue growth for HMD increase from 2020 to 2021 and the company reached its first full year of operational profitability in 2021.
Forecasting one million subscriptions to its Services Suite in the first half of this year, HMD is also announcing a new services-focused division to further continue this period of growth. This will allow the company to foster further growth, attract talent, and better support existing clients by streamlining processes internally.
Speaking on this, Mr Florian Seiche, Chief Executive Officer, HMD Global said, “2021 was a transformational year, resulting in solid revenue growth across the business and today, we are celebrating a profitable new chapter for HMD Global with the release of three new affordable Nokia devices which are not only safe, reliable and durable but ensure as many people as possible can access the latest innovative technology for less.
“I am excited to announce that our services portfolio includes a secure device financing solution for smartphones and other devices. At HMD, we are bringing together these two ingredients, a high-quality smartphone experience and a financing solution that builds upon our mission to make modern mobile technology accessible to everyone.
“Combined with the success of our enterprise services offering to scale to 1 million subscriptions in H1 and delivering the exceptional level of services clients expect from us, we are delivering an accessible and seamlessly connected experience for people and enterprises worldwide.”
Adding his input, Mr Janne Lehtosalo said, “Our range of enterprise IoT offerings has already made a significant impact on multiple industries including logistics, healthcare, and financial technology around the globe.
“Following the creation of the new division, we believe we will be better organised to further grow our offering to more industries, better serve our existing clients, and bring new services to the market. We’re excited to have hit a projection of over one million subscriptions in H1 and are proud that we are able to consistently offer them unparalleled services regardless of where they are on the globe.”
Review of Nokia C-Series
The three new devices epitomise the durability and long-lasting battery life qualities Nokia phones became famous all those years ago. This, combined with the best of Android™ software, and security updates cements HMD’s vision for 2022 and beyond – building Nokia phones that last for longer whilst maintaining excellent build quality.
Nokia phones have incorporated a beautiful Finnish aesthetic that is also functional. The company are bolstering their successful Nokia C-series range, which was introduced in 2020 and already makes up 16 per cent of total company smartphone sales in the last five years.
Nokia C21 Plus
The hero of the C-series family – Nokia C21 Plus – is the smartphone that keeps on giving. It’s designed for durability and is rigorously tested to achieve sleek style and strength, while also delivering on battery life and most importantly, remaining affordable. The device comes with two different battery sizes, 4000 mAh and 5050 mA which deliver up to two- and three-day battery lif] respectively – allowing people to stay connected for longer and recharge less.
Built around a robust inner metal chassis with an IP52 rating protecting against elements, with dirt, dust, and water droplet resistance thanks to a toughened cover glass that protects the dazzling 6.5” HD+ display – ensuring Nokia Hope can stand up to all of life’s hustle-and-bustle.
A 13MP dual camera with panorama and portrait modes allows you to capture life’s best bits in stunning detail. A clean OS with minimal preloads gives you more space for the apps and content you choose. Plus, 2 years of quarterly security updates, and fingerprint and AI face unlock technology ensures the Nokia C21 Plus stays secure, inside and out.
The Nokia C21 maintains the excellent build quality, security promises and the all-day battery life signature to the popular C-series. The device brings an improved 8MP camera with autofocus technology that seamlessly reads QR codes – so whether people are scanning menus, making payments or simply looking up information – the Nokia C21 ensures scanning QR codes is a breeze.
Enhanced memory capabilities, thanks to a multi-core processor, bring efficiencies without sacrificing the all-day battery life, while AI-powered face unlock is now supported by a fingerprint sensor for extra security and convenience. Two years of regular security updates also come as standard for C-series devices so people can rest assured that the Nokia C21 works hard in the background to keep their smartphone phone safe.
Nokia C2 2nd edition
The Nokia C2 2nd edition comes with super-tough and reliable Nokia build-quality with even more ways to connect. Designed to withstand life’s knocks, thanks to a tough inner metal chassis, and premium Nordic craftsmanship, this C-Series device has been rigorously tested to ensure it meets high durability standards and delivers a thoughtful and purposeful design at an affordable price point.
Giving you greater freedom to connect, and a reliable, super-smooth smartphone experience, the all-day battery life from a single charge enables hours of talk time and days of standby. The generous 5.7” display lets people easily stream, share and scroll through their favourite content and apps in brilliant definition – and capture the best bits of life, day or night, thanks to front and rear flash cameras. 2 years of quarterly security updates also ensure that the Nokia C2 2nd edition stays secure on the inside. The up-to-date OS with minimal preloads helps data go further, freeing up more space for the content and apps you love.
Other C-Series Accessories
HMD’s growth story continues with their accessories range, doubling the accessories business in 2021 with ambitious plans for future growth. Nokia C21, C21 Plus and C2 2nd edition come with a range of accessories including over-ear wired and wireless headphones and truly wireless earbuds offering an easy, hands-free calling experience.
Nokia Go Earbuds 2 + A truly wireless, clear sound and comfortable fit at ultra-high value, whilst environmental noise cancellation (ENC), sweat and splash resistance, up to 24-hour playtime will see users through even the rainiest of days
Nokia Headphones (Available in Wired and Wireless) – a super lightweight design with soft over-ear cushioning and a foldable arm for extra comfort and convenience, make for a seamless experience whether working or listening to music.
HMD Enterprise division
The one million subscriptions are split between the three core products (Connect Pro, Enable Pro, and Softlock) currently sitting under HMD Global Services, and are made up of IoT connections, EMM licences, and device lock licences. The global growth of the existing HMD Global Services lines led to the subdivision, which will further enable the team to focus on improving existing product lines, as well as innovating and creating new product offerings to clients.
Pricing and availability
Local pricing, variants and availability will be shared in-market at a later stage.
MTN Partners Huawei to Deploy Premium Wi-Fi Service in Nigeria
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
To improve the experience of end-users on its network, MTN Nigeria has partnered with Huawei to launch a premium Wi-Fi service in the country.
According to MTN Nigeria’s Chief Technical Officer, Mr Mohammed Rufai, the deployment of the premium Wi-Fi is geared around delivering a superior user experience with high technology.
He stated that this also became necessary due to an increase of smart home device quantiles and new types of services such as video clips and online games which demand a better home network quality.
MTN is working with Huawei on an Autonomous Driving Network project, including various innovative practices such as target architecture design, autonomous level evaluation and high-value use-cases of autonomous networks.
“Home network experience has become a vital area in improving network quality for us. In addition, we want to solve problems such as Wi-Fi interference, coordination between home network terminals and Wi-Fi coverage which occurs frequently and leads to a large proportion of user complaints,” Mr Rufai said.
“With this, we can proactively identify and accurately locate fault points on home networks. It will help us to improve O&M efficiency and reduce customer complaints,” says Daniel Smith, a senior engineer with the MTN Group.
“In the future, MTN and Huawei will implement more innovations regarding network automation and intelligence, quickly deploy them on the live network to promptly deliver superior user experience of high tech,” he concluded.
The premium Wi-Fi can play back the historical home Wi-Fi performance in the last seven days. It demarcates faults based on speed tests by segment and diagnoses major issues in just one click to rectify problems in the cloud.
Besides, with the self-trouble shooting function on the mobile app, home broadband users are able to solve certain network problems by themselves, allowing them to manage the broadband performance much easier.
Cyber Attacks: Africa Must Encourage Digital Skills Development—Experts
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Urgent steps must be taken by African leaders to encourage general digital skills to tackle cyber-attacks and crimes on the continent, some experts in the industry have advised.
Speaking at the April edition of the Information Security Society of Africa – Nigeria (ISSAN) event, the stakeholders warned that if efforts are not taken, the governments, citizens and businesses may suffer “catastrophic consequences.”
It was stressed that at the moment, Africa is struggling to match its counterparts in the other parts of the globe due to a shortage of general digital skills caused by brain drain.
At the workshop themed Addressing the Cybersecurity Skills Quagmire, the founder/CEO of Digital Jewels, Mrs Doyin Odunfa, in her presentation, lamented that the shortage of general digital skills at all levels is expected to become more critical as economies grow, noting that the supply of digitally skilled labour must also increase to meet anticipated labour market needs.
She observed that highly skilled African professionals have been emigrating from African countries to pursue lucrative cultural and socio-economic opportunities on other continents leading to a brain drain and skills gap on the continent.
Whilst proffering solutions, she recommended intentional development of digital skills at all levels, smart technology support, collaboration with the Diaspora and strategic supply to Africa and Western economies.
“These young Africans are looking for higher-paying jobs outside Africa to escape socio-economic limitations such as poverty, limited infrastructure, and rudimentary jobs.
“They look for enabling environments in developed countries that provide rewarding businesses and obtain lucrative jobs, matching skilled individuals’ aspirations and expected socio-economic recompense.
“Many highly talented African students that obtain opportunities and scholarships of training abroad do not return home after completing studies,” Mrs Odunfa stated.
In his welcome address, the president of ISSAN, Mr David Isiavwe, said the brain drain in Africa as well as the digital skills shortage currently being experienced around the world calls for concern.
According to him, “The cyber threat landscape is still evolving. The cybersecurity space keeps getting very busy by the day. We have seen how daring cybercriminals can be, targeting both national assets and highly reputable firms. Even individuals are not left out.
“Consequently, it becomes imperative that organizations never relent in upholding and reinforcing information security best practices.”
The Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) of Stanbic IBTC, Abumere Igboa; CISO of Heritage Bank, Eduje Ighoakpo; CISO of First Bank, Harrison Nnaji; CISO of Standard Chartered Bank, Oghenefovie Oyawari and the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Digital Jewels, Tokunbo Taiwo, were the other speakers at the gathering.
ISSAN is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Nigeria’s cyberspace. It is significantly involved in ensuring the security of banking systems and applications, ATMs, e-government systems, and the entire cyberspace in Nigeria.
The group also seeks to achieve its objectives through awareness heightening measures including the promotion of appropriate legislation and best practices.
Membership cuts across both public and private sectors of the economy including Banks, Telecommunications Operators, Government parastatals, switching companies, IT and IT security consultancies, Legal Practitioners with a keen interest in cyber-related matters, and regulators.
Interswitch Receives Fresh Funds from LeapFrog, Tana
By Adedapo Adesanya
LeapFrog Investments (LeapFrog) and Tana Africa Capital (Tana) have invested in Interswitch, one of Africa’s technology-driven companies focused on the digitisation of payments.
In a joint statement from both companies, the exact amount was not disclosed, but it was stated that the investment will assist in supporting the company’s drive to advance the payment ecosystem across the continent.
A portion of the investment has been acquired from existing shareholders, with Ignite Holdco Limited, made up of Helios Investment Partners and TA Associates, remaining the largest shareholder in the business following the transaction.
Interswitch Group CEO, Mr Mitchell Elegbe, in a statement, said the company was “excited to welcome LeapFrog and Tana on board, as we continue our work to advance the future of the African payments landscape.”
This will further advance its offerings after it launched some new products in March.
The services unveiled include an enhanced Biometrics feature for Point of Sale (PoS) terminals & Automated Teller Machines (ATMs); Tokenization, and Card Fusion, with the services addressing digital payment fraud, problems with card issuance and portfolio management.
Interswitch, in collaboration with SterlingPRO, designed the Biometrics on Point of Sale (PoS) and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to protect customers against digital payment fraud and to avail them faster and more convenient ways to validate payments. The solution utilizes physiological features unique to everyone such as fingerprints, voice, and facial features to verify payment transactions.
Tokenization on the other hand replaces sensitive data such as the 16-digit account information with a unique digital identifier known as a token. Tokenization will enable merchants to fast-track and collect payment seamlessly, enabling customers to check out faster in-store, in-app and online.
In addition, Card Fusion is a web-based instant card issuance platform that enables banks to conclude new card production requests and issue cards within a very short time, thus enhancing their customers’ experience while customers get to personalize their cards instantly.
Interswitch is one of Africa’s largest electronic payments and infrastructure companies and services providing online banking system offerings in areas like point-of-sale terminals, online consumer payment platforms, Quickteller, and Verve, the biggest domestic debit card scheme in Africa, issuing over 35 million active cards since launch.
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