Me, My Smart Phone & I

For the past decade there has been a gradual decline in our heads as we go about our daily lives. We seem to be bent towards a downward spiral into a world filled with the very same people but providing experiences in an addictive environment.
This strange behavior is as a result of a drug called the “smart phone”. A piece of consumable, lithium powered tech that we plug our selves into daily and have become a somewhat necessary accessory to life. You have one, I have one and the whole world seems to either have one or looking forward to making a purchase.
How many of us can go without our phones for a week?
You don’t need to utter a word. I can literally feel your internal reactions from a distance. Some females eye brows rose soo high that they had to reapply their eye liner.
Look  at the pot calling the kettle black. I myself can not go without my phone for a week. 
Are you crazy? How do I stay in contact with my school group chat? How do I stay updated on the happenings and funny stuff happening across the world? It will be torture or in other words, similar to a week of light off (lights out) and no alternative power source for a dada bee ( spoilt or privileged ) child.
For some of us our phones are like a new found organ of the human body. I am not even sure whether we feed off the phones or the phones feed off us. There is so much data being transferred from analytics via our browsers and social media and app interactions that the accuracy depicted in the cover image by Ray Styles is disturbing. If it doesn’t disturb you then the phone you are reading from may have replaced your head that contains that thing used to think and react and …….. I am trying to dumb it down for the undisturbed please bear with me.
In the image, our heads are replaced with our precious devices and seems to ask with a concerned tone, whether we have lost or are losing our minds.
Smart Phones Assist Us
Smart phones provide great assistance in many day to day instances. Google maps for instance has converted average phone users into believers. 
A lot of people have trusted the white mans technology (google maps) and ditched the stop and ask for directions approach of the past. 
Instead of looking for the plantain seller as a land mark, a digital assistant now slangs (speaks with a foreign accent) to you and notifies you when you are to make a turn. People however did not take their math seriously on a practical level; so when the digital assistance says 
“in 200 meters turn left” 
Ghanaians are sometimes not sure whether it means they should go “aaaaaaaaaaa” (another Ghanaian term for “go on for a while”) or get ready to turn shortly.
This and other essential apps however, is not my reason for concern. My concern is targeted towards our blind acceptance of news found on social media and the web. 
So Are We Losing Our Minds?
On a daily basis we are bombarded with content from various sources and because this is channeled through our so called smart devices, there is a tendency to believe any story with a good narrative and media. 
What happened to verifying the news source? How did we as a people become so gaullible? I guess the term “smart” phone creates the illusion that the phone will prompt either via a warning sound or vibration if the news is fake. Wherever we assumed this notion from is still a mystery.
This is an occurring issue across globe affecting both the educated and uneducated. People just tend to believe anything just because it was derived from a google search result page. 
Are We Blinding Ourselves?
A closer look at the cover image shows the individual in the picture using their thumbs to gouge their eyes as if to suggest that they are not needed anymore. The laughing emoticon in the screen on the phone in the image also suggests that technology finds our blind acceptance behaviour funny. 
Maybe I am reading too much into this picture by Ray Styles, but events of 2016 have proved to me that a lot of people have been misinformed about stuff as a result of them refusing to look deeper into the truth of the matter.
The past US elections and death of Fidel Castro are just examples of situations where the internet has been used to sway people’s perceptions on issues. Trusted media houses are no longer as trust worthy. There is so much faith in reputation or the lack thereof, despite the  power that lies in our hands via our smartphones to make things clear. Maybe our heads are really being replaced by smartphones.
Have Our Heads Really Been Replaced By Smartphones?
For those people who are constantly on their phones in social gatherings or in the company of people or people who don’t find Ray’s art work which I have used as the cover picture disturbing,  I answer, YES!
Some are also constantly posing for selfies at every chance they get with the aim of telling their yet to be fans, of their star studded life of swag against the backdrop of a Shoprite store or mall car park.
Don’t even get me started on Snap Chatters.
The older generation seem immune to this head conversion though. The generation I worry about greatly are the new breed of children that are being born. If the head goes, which other body part will be next?
Should We Be Worried?
YES! We should.
Smart phones are not bad. I guess they have just become the equivalent of alcohol. People are drunk on their phones  and do not want to put them away.
So much good can come out of these devices but we tend to be focused more on selfies and gossip as opposed to reading more and contributing towards Information.
We hold so much power in our hands that we believe our brains are inferior. Let’s be weary of our behaviour and social etiquette surrounding our devices. It’s definitely a new day but could easily turn into a nightmare.
I want to thank my friend Ray Styles, for providing me with inspiration in the form of his art for this article. Do well to follow him on social media and follow his works.
Keep it One HONDRED!

Mobile Money – The Future

I had the privilege of attending a presentation by Ebenezer Twum Asante, the CEO of MTN some weeks back on mobile money. Here are some of the highlights of the presentation that I want to bring to your attention:

  • 35% of airtime is bought through physical means. 65% through digital means.
  • MTN currently piloting near field technology .
  • Debit card/credit card will probably be needless in the future. 
  • Money may be retained in the space as opposed to cashing in and cashing out.
  • Mobile money alone is responsible for over 10% of deposits in the banking system.
  • Current research shows that the central bank should raise the limit allowed.
  • Transaction size growing including amount transacted.
  • Security is as safe as the banks.
  • Scams still major concern but mainly because of literacy level
  • Mobile money is better placed to handle money laundering since they are able to deal with it in real time. Alerts are sent once a transaction occurs that triggers suspicious activity. Central banks and security agencies are contacted in realtime. 

Makes me wonder why we are still using cheques.

(I just want to highlight that though this article is about mobile money, it’s not referring entirely to MTN. It involves the other networks as well. It’s just that MTN is privileged to have mobile money associated with its name.)
I started using mobile money actively in 2016. I had been registered but never saw the need to use it till I needed to pay someone and found it more convenient to use digital means.
Since then I have found it to be an excellent medium of moving money in Ghana and find it irritating that my bank hasn’t yet integrated it into their systems.
As a millennial, these developments are exciting because it breaks down the red tape associated with money transfer.
Ghana due to scams on credit cards and other fraudulent activities, have been sidelined and thus payment platforms such as PayPal are not easily accessible. This restricts e-commerce to a privileged few.
Mobile money is just the beginning of e-commerce in Ghana. Technology such as Slyde Pay and Express Pay facilitate everyday transactions at the touch of a button or screen expanding payment opportunities. 
Ghana is gradually moving towards a future where our smart phones become more than just communication devices. They will become our wallets, ticket or boarding pass holders and identity documents.
I foresee payroll being run on mobile money platforms soon. It may even be used as a means to provide credit since your service provider has an idea of your cellular history and a bit more. 
In this digital age where the future is uncertain, I urge businesses to begin adopting mobile money and e-commerce. That’s the future. With the way technology is moving I strongly believe that our laptops will shrink to become our cell phones. The power we hold now in our phones keeps growing. Hard drive space, processing power, camera specifications and more keep evolving each day. 
So let’s position ourselves for the future. I look forward to my church adopting mobile money for offerings ?.
(I will definitely be blogging about mobile money in church. That will be such a hot topic)
Keep it One HONDRED!

Google Pixel – Will You Buy One?

Google yesterday released its new smartphone, Pixel and though efforts by the Alphabet company to sway IOS users, my bet is that Apple won’t lose much of its pie in market share. 
I can’t however say the same for other Android phone manufacturers like Samsung, HTC and Huawei. 
As we await consumers response to the release, I want to point out few points from yesterday’s presentation that I found interesting.
Best Apple Jab
Though many punches were thrown at Apple at yesterday’s presentation (of which I don’t think we’re enough to make Tim Cook flinch), a nice uppercut was thrown which got me laughing really hard. 
The colour names of the Pixel phone:

  • Quite Black
  • Really Blue
  • Very Silver

I found this the highlight of the presentation as it mocked the iPhone 7 new colour announcement: Jet Black 
(Jet Black is not really a new colour if black already was an option for consumers. I bet some were expecting indigo lol)
Why can’t people just stick to the colours we are used to for smartphones: Good ol Red, Chelsea Blue, Man City Light Blue, MTN Yellow and ECG Black ?. (I will take ECG Black anyday by the way, just don’t charge me)
Photos and Camera
I should have guessed that the name of the phone was related to its camera and photo features. 
With 12 MP in the back and 8 MP in the front (along with other specs I won’t bore the non technical person with), this is apparently the best camera on a smartphone yet according to DxOMark which gave it an 89 rating. (That’s better than the IPhone 7 plus if you were wondering).
If you are like me and aren’t moved by that, Pixel takes it a step further and adds that Google offers FREE UNLIMITED STORAGE of photos in original quality on Google Photos. 
(Wonderful Google, now give me free credit to buy the phone and I won’t bother you this Christmas)
Aside these two features everything was same old news. 
Pixel is a great phone entering into the market. You can pre-order one now or like others wait till MegaPixel comes out LOL.
(I am not sure whether MegaPixel is their next model but it sure is a good name)

Pixel-The New Google Phone

Are you looking to buy a new android smart phone? If you are you then you timed your buying just right because Google (The company that some see as the Internet) is releasing its new smart phone handset dubbed Pixel, tomorrow 4th October 2016.
But what happened to Nexus? Why did Google start over? 
I have not yet found answers to these questions but Pixel’s rumored features alongside other Google technology such as Google Allo, the messaging app designed to make us do and say more in our instant messaging chat rooms (watch out Whatsapp, someone wants your spot reaaaaaaal baaaaaaad!) shadow the reason for the company’s branding changes.
I guess Google just want to be more in control of the hardware that houses Android. 
The phone looks sweet though. I am tempted to call it the Google iPhone since it debuts with an XL version as well. 
There price range is rumored to be about the same as its Apple and Samsung counterparts. My bet is that they would slowly overtake the Android handset market.
I hear a 15 minute charge will give the phone 7 hours battery life. This looks likely as the Nexus 6 in this article provided 6 hours battery life after a 15 minute charge. (That was in 2014. Did we have to wait 2 more years to add an extra hour? ?)
Below are the specifications of both phones according to Carphone Warehouse:
Pixel – Specifications
Software: Android 7.1
Display: 5″ FHD AMOLED (1920×1080, 441ppi) Gorilla Glass 4
Processor: 2.15GHz Snapdragon 821 (quad-core, 64-bit)
Camera: Rear: 12.3MP (f/2.0, 1.55um), Image stabilization. Front: 8MP
Battery: 2770mAh Fast charging 
Storage: 32GB or 128GB No microSD support
Other: Fingerprint scanner, NFC, 3.5mm headphone, USB Type-C
Dimensions: 143.8 x 69.5 x 8.6 mm 143 grams
SIM: Nano
Pixel XL – Specifications
Software: Android 7.1
Display: 5.5″ QHD AMOLED (2560×1440, 534ppi) Gorilla Glass 4
Processor: 2.15GHz Snapdragon 821 (quad-core, 64-bit)
Camera: Rear: 12.3MP (f/2.0, 1.55um), Image stabilization. Front: 8MP
Battery: 3450mAh Fast charging
Storage: 32GB or 128GB No microSD support
Other: Fingerprint scanner, NFC, 3.5mm headphone, USB Type-C
Dimensions: 154.7 x 75.7 x 8.6 mm 168 grams
SIM: Nano
The phone looks promising but until the launch tomorrow that’s about all I have on this scoop. Will discuss the features more after the launch.