Category Archives: Technology

Lebanese Army – LAF Shield App

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[YouTube]

I suggested in a post last week that the Lebanese Security Forces should set up few useful apps for citizens to submit reports almost instantly and the Lebanese Army has launched today an app that does exactly that and more!

LAF Shield allows you to report any suspicious activity or crime committed and you have the option to swipe and initiate a stress call. It also indicates the danger zones using Google Maps as well as display the list of suspects and wanted people.

This is a great initiative from the Lebanese Army and I urge Lebanese to use the app responsibly. We are in desperate needs of improving the communication between the Lebanese people and such apps are a great way to do so.

PS: The lists of wanted and kidnapped people are still empty.

The app is available on PlayStore and iTunes.

Touch Mobile TV

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Touch Lebanon introduced a new service today which is called Mobile TV. It basically allows you to watch live local and worldwide channels on your mobile, as well as watch Videos on Demand. All you need is 3G enabled device (or a tablet/PC with an internet connection) to subscribe to the service.

This service is charged separately and has nothing to do with the regular data plans, which I believe are still not that great whether coming from Alfa or Touch as they need to increase the quotas ASAP (I’ve upgraded to 1.5Gb and it’s still not enough).

The Mobile TV tariffs are as you can see below. The Data Usage Limits are not very encouraging but I don’t think that’s something the operator companies control. I mean 17$ to watch videos and series for only 5 hours over 3G or 10 hours Wifi?? That’s like a couple of long movies only on 3G. As far as Live TV Categories is concerned, we already have some local TVs (MTV, Al Jadeed for example) and I am sure International TVs who have apps that allow us to stream live news and for free so I wonder what this service has more to offer. I am guessing the streaming should be faster and better.

tariffs [High-Res]

Personally, I like the fact that we have that service now but I wouldn’t subscribe to it unless the usage limits are drastically increased. What I am interested in though is seeing how quick and consistent the live streaming of news or videos is because they take forever to load on the 3G.

Speaking of new services, Touch also launched a useful feature back in June, an in-app billing service with Anghami (Popular mobile music application) whereas touch users don’t need to pay separately for the app services, but instead the fees will be added to their monthly bill (For Postpaid lines) or deducted from the available balance (For Prepaid lines). I gave Anghami a try for a couple of months and it’s a pretty useful app to have if you want to stay posted and download (Only playable on Anghami though) the latest songs, specially the Arabic ones.

How Lebanese Hind Hobeika Created The Google Glass Of Swim Goggles

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[YouTube]

Hind is an AUB graduate and the inventor of Instabeat®, a revolutionary swimming device that can seamlessly and instantaneously track an athlete’s workout. Instabeat was named one of the 17 Most Intriguing Gadgets and is due to launch in the fall.

What she’s achieved so far is quite amazing and we can only wish her the best of luck for the launch and after it!

Little surprise that her target goal of raising $35,000 was more than twice surpassed in the first days of her campaign. Contributors came from the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

What might be surprising is where she is from. Silicon Valley? San Diego? New York? How about Beirut, Lebanon.

In the midst of the political instability we most often see in the headlines, Hobeika is leading one of tens of thousands of new, tech-centric startups from across the Middle East. The daughter of academics, herself an engineering grad from the American University of Beirut, she once presumed she would become an executive in a larger global company in the region like Procter & Gamble. But she was also a fiercely and passionately competitive swimmer in college, and she saw a market for an unmet need. [Full Article]

Lebanon Has The Arab World’s LEAST competitive cellular market for 2013

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This ranking is not surprising at all as two companies (Touch & Alfa) designated by the government are monopolizing the market in Lebanon.

The Cellular Competition Intensity Index results for 2013 revealed that Saudi Arabia tops the score -as the most competitive Arab market- with a 76.58% mark. This is followed by Jordan (75.83%), Palestine (71.55%), Egypt (67.89%), Iraq (66.03%), Oman (64.28%), Morocco (64.20%), Bahrain (64.18%), Tunisia (63.03%), Sudan (59.01%), Mauritania (58.28%), Algeria (57.99%), Yemen (56.38%), Kuwait (54.32%), UAE (48.68%), Qatar (47.67%), Libya (41.58%), Syria (40.74%) and Lebanon (40.71%).

The Cellular Competition Intensity Index is relative in nature as it compares the state of every market relative to other markets. As such, even if a market’s absolute level of competition improved, its score in this relative index will also depend on how other markets developed. The 2013 index results revealed that five countries ranked higher than their 2012 index ranks, these are: Iraq, Bahrain, Sudan, Mauritania and Libya. Moreover, a total of six countries ranked lower compared to the 2012 index, namely: Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria and Lebanon. The remaining eight countries of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Yemen, Kuwait, UAE and Qatar maintained their 2012 ranks. [Source]

Sehnaoui: Fiber-optics network will cover all of Lebanon by year-end

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Picture from TheBeirutReport

We’ve been waiting for the fiber-optics network to be completed for 3 years now as it was promised by the previous Telecom Ministers. I hope this time things will work out and people will finally be able to enjoy more than 1 lousy Mb connection but if you read Habib’s report on this matter, it doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen anytime soon.

Let’s not forget the ongoing feud between the Telecom Ministry and Ogero.

Lebanon recently dropped 6 spots in the Download Index Report and now ranks 158th out of 182 countries.

Telecom Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui said Thursday that more than half of Lebanon’s telephone substations were linked to a long-awaited fiber-optics network, and vowed to extend coverage to the remaining areas within the next six months. “After two years of work, the fiber optics network is ready in 170 telephone areas, and we sent a letter to [state-run telephone land line operator] OGERO to detail their financial and technical requirements to expand it to the remaining areas, which do not yet have DSL,” he said.

“The project is a part of balanced development … and no Lebanese will be without fast Internet by the end of the year,” Sehnaoui said. [DailyStar]

Nokia’s Lumia 1020 has a 41 megapixel camera

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Nokia released its latest smartphone yesterday, the new Lumia 1020 with an impressive 41 megapixels camera and the possibility of zooming up to 6 times without losing any image quality. The last Nokia model that featured a similar camera was the Pureview 808 model but it was running on Symbian which sucked.

To be honest, I love the Lumia phone for its camera (The Lumia 920 not the 900 camera though), design and hardware but my only problem is with the OS which is not as good as Android or iOS or is not evolving the way I thought it would. Nevertheless, the camera is becoming a crucial factor for any smartphone user so a six-lens 41-megapixel PureView camera paired with a Xenon flash could help Nokia gain few Android and iOS users, specially if the device is priced reasonably and if users can send their pictures to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc ..

Personally speaking, I might consider buying the Nokia Lumia 1020 if it’s not too expensive.

PS: I wouldn’t have hesitated one second in buying it if it was running on Android (which will probably never happen).

lumia1020camera

Blocking SMS Spam

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We all hate getting annoying SMS messages and local providers aren’t doing anything to stop them. The ones I hate most, and which I reported on several occasions to Alfa, Touch and the Telecom Ministry, are those I get from 1085 or other four digit spamming numbers. I’ve always wondered if there’s a way to block or filter them, and I tried a couple of Android apps in the past but the one [SMS Spam Blocker - Postman] Abir posted about today is the best I’ve used so far.

Check it out and download it [Here].

BlackBerry Q5

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The new BlackBerry Q5 smartphone will be available in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America by mid July but BlackBerry-ME were kind enough to send me a device to try it out yesterday. The first thing I had to do was go to the airport and register it (As per the new Telecom Ministry regulations), so I didn’t have the chance to test it yet.

I currently carry a BlackBerry Curve for work purposes and I’ve been wanting to change it for a newer one but I wasn’t convinced of the BlackBerry Z10 (No Keyboard) and thought the Q10 was a bit too expensive. Having said that, the Q5 comes at a much lower price and looks like a great replacement for the BB Curve (Or even the BB Bold).

I will hopefully post a quick review about it very soon.

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E-Mall Launch – 3D Mapping

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Emall launch by Bank Audi 3D Mapping

That’s a pretty cool 3D mapping show. E-Mall is set to launch in 4 days. It’s good to see more initiatives encouraging e-commerce in Lebanon. I hope merchants will have some cool offers and cheaper prices online.

EMall, a unified e-commerce platform addressing Lebanese merchants, aims at promoting the Lebanese economy and at being a marketplace that unites retailers, SMEs and independent merchants with cardholders in Lebanon and around the world, who will now be able to execute sale and purchase operations online through this interactive site. [Link]