Category Archives: Technology

Meet 24-year-old Paul Salameh, The Lebanese developer behind the world’s #1 mobile kids game, Pou

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That’s quite an amazing story. I had no clue a Lebanese was behind Pou.

When Yahoo! paid 17-year-old Nick D’Aloisio $30 million for news summary app Summly, one of our Wamda contributors wrote us, “I’m looking forward to the day when somebody on Wamda writes the Arab version of this story.”

The story of Lebanese developer Paul Salameh is almost that story. He might not be a teenager (he’s 24) and his app might not influence the future of media consumption, but rumors have swirled that he has been offered $20 million for its acquisition.

“He’s probably making around $30,000 day, by conservative estimation,” a local source told us, based upon estimates of downloads of the $1.99 iOS version and in-app purchases on its Android app. That’s a cool $1 million a month.

For what? Pou. Yes, that’s the name of his app, which resembles a colorful, mobile version of Japanese digital pet Tamagotchi. In Pou, players can feed, wash, and play games with a brown, triangular alien pet, which has turned out to be wildly addictive; the app made a global Top 5 Paid iOS Apps list last month, sees between between 260-320,000 downloads a day on Android, and has so far hit #1 in the iPhone kids games category in a total of 90 countries. [Wamda]

You can download Pou from the [Apple Store] or [Play Store]. To view the article’s full version [Here].

Thanks M!

Alfa Launches 4G network in Lebanon

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Prices proposed by Alfa: Is it me or are the new packages really expensive?

Alfa just launched the 4G officially and here are few details shared by Abir and from Alfa. Alfa is the 6th company to launch the 4G technology in the MENA region.

The 4G network will only support data at the moment to be followed by calls and SMS by end of June. I already tried to send an SMS this morning and it failed. The 4G coverage map is restricted to Beirut at the moment as shown below:

via @Alfa

The devices that work on the Alfa 4G network are:
1- Lumia 920
2- Galaxy S3 (that supports LTE)
3- Galaxy Note 2 (that supports LTE)
4- LG Optimus g
5- iPad mini

BB Z10 and Q10 are not currently supported and iPhones are pending licensing agreements. Sending SMS on #Alfa4G network is expected by end of June. Only the iPhone 5 model A1429 will be supported.

Meet Super Geek + 4G Commercial Launch on Wednesday

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super geek
Good Job Sareen!

This picture was uploaded yesterday night by Minister Sehnaoui on Instagram with the below text:

I introduce to you Super Geek. A young Lebanese Geek turned Super Hero He’s into high tech gadgets and would pick Star Wars over Politics any day His Mission is to lead the Young Lebanese Digital Lobby to instill change in Lebanon and the World In days to come we will all need to think and brainstorm together to create the Adventures of Super Geek Our fellow Geek @sareen_ak who drew this character to life will help us make this happen We will also need to work together to make Super Geek’s Mission a Reality Share Super Geek with the community so we can have all Geeks on board of our Young Digital Lobby


I am still skeptical about this whole Lebanese Digital Lobby idea and I am not sure how Super Geek’s adventures will be appealing to internet users but I guess it’s a fun initiative for students maybe that can’t do any harm.

This announcement comes with another big event, which is the 4G commercial launch that is set for Wednesday 15th of May. The initial launch is for Limited Locations but will gradually expand to cover all regions. I don’t know whether people will be able to subscribe to the service as of the 15th as we just received few days ago dongles for the pilot phase which did not start yet and will last a whole month.

I will keep you posted once I activate my 4G dongle.


3G Plans to be increased by 50% on May 7th

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I just got a confirmation from Minister Sehnaoui that the upgrade will take place on May 7th.

What I am unsure of though is what will happen if a user had already exceeded his limit before the upgrade takes place. For example if you have 500 MB and you already consumed 600MB, will the extra MBs be accounted for or will the limits be refreshed automatically?

Google acquires Wavii for over $30 million dollars

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Lebanese-American Adrian Aoun, the founder of Wavii – Picture taken from wired

Google acquires a lot of start-ups every year but this acquisition is worth a mention as its founder is a Lebanese-American called Adrian Aoun. You can read more about Wavii on [Mashable] and [TechCrunch].

Famously, Google says it’s on mission to organize the world’s information. And Wavii says it’s on a mission to understand the world’s information. So there’s a certain harmony behind the reports that Google has paid $30 million to acquire the Seattle startup.

Wavii offers a service that lets people to “follow” a subject — such as biotechnology, the Middle East or stamp collecting — in much the same way you would follow a person on Twitter or Facebook. But when the company launched in 2012, founder Adrian Aoun had a grander version, saying he planned to expand the technology at the heart of the company’s service and provide a way for machines to better understand the massive amounts of information posted to the internet with each passing minute. [Link]


Telecom Ministry announces measures to prevent illegally imported devices

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Update: Here’s a [link] to an article from the DailyStar

I just finished reading the latest statement done by the Minister of Telecommunication Nicolas Sehnaoui and based on what I understood:

– New measures will take place as of June 1, 2013 in order to prevent illegally imported devices & protecting the consumer from counterfeits. All imported devices (Smart phones and 3G Enabled tablets and devices) after June 1 2013 will have to be registered now at Alfa or MTC at the airport otherwise they will not work. This means that if you purchased a new phone from abroad, you will have to register it or else you won’t be able to use a Lebanese SIM on it.

– Knowing that the iPhone is not officially distributed in Lebanon, if the government allows few local dealers to sell the iPhone, it will be at least 25% more expensive due to custom fees and VAT. As for other iPhones, if you activated them and used a Lebanese SIM before June 1, 2013 then you will be safe.

– If you wish to sell your phone, u need to release it by sending an empty sms to 1014 then sell it. Also and I am not sure if I got this properly, but if you have two SIMs, you need to release the phone from the first SIM then register it to the second SIM.

I honestly have mixed feelings about these measures as I worry that even though they might stop smuggling and counterfeit products, but it will pave the way for few dealers to control the market and set their own prices. I read that this might be an advertising for phones with contracts as hinted by Alfa during the Arabnet conference but I am not sure about it.

Thanks Amer for the help!