Techzim

Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

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RECHARGE


Zim News (BiNu) hits 3 million page views per day

As they say, “in every crisis, there’s someone to benefit”. Well, not in those exact words but we can improvise. So even in this political hullabaloo, apart from politicians, there’s also one industry that is ‘benefiting’ from this – the media. BiNu, you know biNu right? Now known as Zim News. Zim News hit a staggering […]


How well does Econet zero rating work for an app? Here’s biNu’s 400% growth story

About a year ago, when the zero rating of an app called biNu was announced by Econet we wrote in an article titled “Will Econet Zero-rating restore it to former glory“: In terms of popularity, this move may spell biNu’s come back in Zimbabwe. The free in yesteryear’s “free SMS” is back! This past November biNu’s total active users were just […]


Facebook to introduce Free Basics internet in Zimbabwe

Internet.org, the project from Facebook which facilitates free internet access to specific website and platforms, and is now working under the name of Free Basics, is set to be launched for the Zimbabwean market in January 2016.


Data’s too expensive? Here are 9 Android Apps that won’t hurt your balance

These apps are especially designed to conserve data usage in a typical environment like Zimbabwe where the price Mobile data is rather steep.


How Zing, a messaging app, plans to grow in Zimbabwe using Caps United

So yesterday we wrote about a South Africa messaging startup called Zing. To understand what it is, just think of WhatsApp, but with the other stuff you’ve wished it had, like marketing capabilities for businesses and news inside the app. Last week, they signed a sponsorship deal with one of Zimbabwe’s top Premier Soccer League football clubs, Caps […]


Econet tries out Twitter via USSD

How relevant is Twitter to Zimbabwe? Is the #Twimbo community not growing fast enough? it’s hard to say really, but it would seem that mobile operator Econet is making the biggest effort to get as many of us on the social network as possible. This time it’s through a Twitter via USSD service. We got a […]


Net neutrality & mobile network operators: Are they startup kingmakers?

Last year, when I wrote that we should all be worried about the path we’re going down when mobile operators start to have influence what internet subscribers can have access and no one has a problem with it. I wrote this because I was (and still am) worried that mobile operators, by making WhatsApp, Facebook and Opera individually […]


Podcast: TelOne Broadband, biNu, Telecel subscribers, MoJo & Hellomukoma

We are back again with the latest Techzim podcast covering all the stories that were topical in the past week. Issues discussed in this podcast include the turnaround that TelOne is experiencing thanks to a focus on internet services, the continued dip in subscribers that Telecel has experienced for the three straight quarters, biNu’s return as a […]


“Free” SMS from biNu returns. Will Econet Zero-rating restore it to former glory?

Remember the BiNu app? They were a free SMS app. The app could run on any feature phone, so essentially, biNu became a very popular “messaging” app. Because SMS was still very much in use, a free alternative achieving the same was very welcome. The app’s active users shot from just 0 to 60,000 in just 5 months. Yes, […]


Everything you need to know about Econet’s EcoSchool

We just attended the official launch of Econet’s EcoSchool that we spoke about yesterday. This time it wasn’t just a pilot launch but the roll out of the service to the whole country. Speaking at the launch the Head of Econet Services, Darlington Mandivenga mentioned that the EcoSchool product and service will be made available […]


About the EcoSchool app and Mazwi… Mazwi founder sends us a response

Last week, at the launch of Ecoschool tablet and platform, one of the things we said was remarkable was the similarity of the EcoSchool concept to the Mazwi startup that we have covered here a number of times. Initially, our guess that maybe they had partnered the startup in some way. Turned out they didn’t. […]


Here’s what EcoSchool is about

Earlier today, we made a post about EcoSchool before the launch. It’s now just after the launch and we have more about the product and service. Here’s the summary: The Concept  First, the EcoSchool website is here: www.ecoschool.co.zw The EcoSchool concept is about making educational material available to students at a lower cost and much […]


Press release: biNu receives United Nations Innovation Award

biNu, the mobile app platform that brings a high speed, data-lite iPhone-like experience to low-end smartphones and feature phones, was today recognized by the United Nations for its innovation. biNu received the United Nations MY World Innovation Award, presented at the UN General Assembly today, for it’s work in bringing fast, affordable mobile internet services […]


How biNu users are following and interacting with Big Brother Africa via mobile

biNu, the smartphone in a cloud guys we’ve written about here a couple of times, just sent us the results of a survey they have carried about how Africans are using mobile devices to follow and vote on the ongoing eighth season of Big Brother Africa (BBA).


What went on at RHoK Harare – Part 1 of 3

We’ve participated in a few hackathons the last couple of years. We’ve even been a winner in one of them. This year when we decided to host our own hackathon, we chose to do things a little different.


5 apps that’ll make your internet bundles last longer

You can’t put in words how significant an impact this has had on your life. But there’s something else you can’t explain; the smartphone feeds on your expensive internet bundles so much you’re almost certain that the mobile network is stealing from you!


biNu rebuilds Android app to improve user experience

If you’re one of the more than 100,000 people that have downloaded biNu’s Android app, you were probably only pleased with the app page load speeds, processing etc.. but likely disappointed with an un-smartphone like feel.


Worldreader signs on more local publishers in Zimbabwe

Worldreader, a US based non-profit that distributes digital books on e-readers and feature phones (as well as the e-readers themselves) in developing countries, has signed on additional publishers in Zimbabwe. The Worldreader team, which has been in Zimbabwe in the past few weeks, signed new digital publishing deals with Bulawayo based Ama Books and Weaver Press.


IPaidABribe.org.zw to host anti-corruption Random Hacks of Kindness event

Tawanda Kembo, the founder of local Ushahidi based bribery reporting site, IPaidABribe.org.zw has announced that they will hosting a Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) event this month to have geeks hacking against corruption.


Facebook Home, Mark Zuckerberg and the next 5 billion devices

When Facebook unveiled yesterday what was supposed to be the Facebook Phone but ended up just being more a pervasive app (or shall we call it a launcher), we found the following by the Facebook chief standing out.


biNu makes Zimbabwe’s draft constitution available on feature phones

“Copac needs US$500 000 to print more copies” went yesterday’s headline in Zimbabwe’s most read Sunday paper, The Sunday Mail. That article was pointed to us by biNu Zimbabwe representative, William Chui, when he notified us of a new app on their platform created to alleviate that distribution problem.


BiNu hires former ForgetMeNot Africa CEO to grow biNu in Africa

BiNu, the smartphone in the cloud company has hired former ForgetMeNot Africa CEO, Jeremy George, to help grow biNu users and usage in Africa. We met with George last week in Harare and he discussed their strategy on the continent going forward, the sum of which is to grow content and users.


biNu adds EcoCash to its credits payment options

In a story title “More problems for regular SMS: biNu credits now available locally” that we posted here a few weeks ago, we expressed our delight that biNu credits were now available locally. The Australian based company (which now has representatives locally) had just announced that its 200,000 Zimbabwean users could now buy its platform’s currency at Easi and YoTime


More problems for regular SMS: biNu credits now available locally

SMS as we know it today, or rather as mobile network operators abuse it today, needs to go away. It’s so damn expensive. US 9 cents just to send 140 characters is undoubtedly the most costly means to communicate electronically today. And thankfully it is going away.


Redefining biNu, a mobile content platform with a social framework

Everything is the opposite in emerging markets, there are not many screens in the average person’s life, and the one screen that is there is the mobile and they use it as a primary means of internet access not a secondary or the third level. This is the internet for many consumers, and they are very price sensitive. They are lucky to have a computer with a broadband connection but the desire to have internet and to communicate is huge. If you have never had it it’s a really fantastic thing to have for many reasons.


biNu Social is here, a lightning fast mobile social network

In August, after biNu’s much reported $2 million Series A funding round, we noted that the emerging markets “Smartphone in the cloud” service seemed to be morphing itself into a mobile social network. It became apparent later that this indeed was the case. Now it’s not just a gradual background morph; biNu Social is here. […]


biNu raises more money as it morphs into social networking platform

biNu, a popular mobile application for feature phones in emerging markets is morphing into its own social networking platform as more and more native social features are added to the platform by the Australian startup. The company, which first announced in June this year that it was now adding some new native social features to […]


Google’s Gmail SMS for Africa, a case of coming too late with too little

When last week I read on the internet that Google had launched Gmail SMS in Africa, I mostly ignored the news. I remembered reading something along the same lines some several months ago so I assumed Google PR was repurposing the ‘news’ or some international news organization had happened upon the old news and had […]


biNu in explosive growth

biNu the Sydney based startup founded in September 2008 by Gour Lentell and Dave Turner recorded a jaw dropping 112% increase in unique Monthly Active Users (MAUs) for Zimbabwe in nine months. This is based upon stats that biNu has released to Techzim. The startup is on a tear recording similarly impressive growth in other […]


biNu reveals usage stats; top biNu apps in top biNu using countries

We got pointed a few days ago to some biNu usage statistics that have been released by mobile platform Australian startup. The stats show the top 10 countries by usage on biNu as well as the top 10 apps in those countries.