Drone Company Lily, Shuts Down Owing $34M

Lily, the company behind an autonomous camera drone that had amassed $34million (£27million) in pre-orders, has announced that it is shutting down.

In an email to customers the start-up said it had failed to raise additional funds to start production of the drone. It promised to reimburse all pre-order customers within the next 60 days.

The waterproof drone was to be one of the first "throw-and-shoot" cameras that could track users and capture footage of them for up to 20 minutes.

"We have been racing against a clock of ever-diminishing funds," wrote the company's co-founders, Henry Bradlow and Antoine Balaresque, to customers.

"Over the past few months, we have tried to secure financing in order to unlock our manufacturing line and ship our first units - but have been unable to do this.

"As a result, we are deeply saddened to say that we are planning to wind down the company and offer refunds to customers."

Delayed launch
In a promotional video launched in May 2015, the camera drone was shown being thrown in the air and following snowboarders and kayakers via a waterproof device worn around the wrist.
It was watched more than 12 million times.

The drone was launched with a pre-order price of $499, and some 60,000 customers are believed to have signed up.
It was scheduled to ship in February 2016, but that was later delayed until the summer and then again to early 2017.

During that time, similar follow-me drones from Chinese companies DJI, Zero Robotics and Yuneec have hit the market.
Source: BBC

BlackBerry Officially Signs Its Life Away to TCL

BlackBerry wants to make it work in the Android world. It knows the best way to do so is to partner with an already established brand.
TCL, the parent company behind smartphone brands like Alcatel, announced that it's officially entered into a long-term licensing agreement with BlackBerry. BlackBerry will license its security software and apps like the BlackBerry Hub, while TCL will continue to handle the design, manufacturing, and retail component of BlackBerry's smartphone business.

Here's the statement from Ralph Pini, Chief Operating Officers and General Manager of Mobility Solutions at BlackBerry:
"This agreement with TCL Communication represents a key step in our strategy to focus on putting the 'smart in the phone' by providing state-of-the-art security and device software on a >platform that mobile users prefer and are comfortable with...TCL Communication is the natural choice to license BlackBerry's software and brand on a global scale. We successfully >partnered with them on the DTEK series of secure smartphones and we've been impressed with their excellence in hardware design, development, and manufacturing. With our unparalleled >expertise in mobile security and software and TCL Communication's vast global reach and consumer access, we are confident that BlackBerry-branded products developed and distributed by >TCL Communication will address the needs of BlackBerry users and expand the availability of BlackBerry Secure products throughout the world."
The agreement is a smart move for the Canadian company, as it's still attempting to pave its way in the new smartphone climate. TCL and BlackBerry can work together on a mutually beneficial strategy. Perhaps the first part of that strategy should be reconsidering the marketing prowess of a name like "DTEK" for a smartphone.
Source: Androidcentral

Tigo Awards Winners of 2016 Digital Changemakers Competition

Tigo Ghana and Reach for Change have announced the winners of their 2016 Tigo Digital Changemakers Competition. The first place winners, a joint application, are Abdul Razak Gausu, Abdul Alhassan and Damien. T. Punguyire of Child Care Information Centre. 

They received GHS70,000 for their digital innovation which is helping to improve on infant health by providing parents and caregivers with SMS and automated voice calls.

Two runners-up, Ernestina Edem Appiah and Herman Heinrich Hesse were also awarded GHS30,000 each for their digital solutions. Ernestina leads on an initiative that helps children to code while Herman runs a development programme that improves children’s vocabulary.
The three winners, together, are the 2016 Tigo Digital Changemakers. They also received a place in the Reach for Change incubator programme and will get up to 5 years’ professional support to help them build sustainable social enterprises. The incubator includes mentorship, coaching, trainings and access to a global network of social entrepreneurs.

“We are thrilled with the selection from this competition: all three have exceptional social innovations and we look forward to working with them to help them develop and scale their projects, said Solomon Twum, the Regional Portfolio Manager with Reach for Change Africa. “These social entrepreneurs have very strong potential to be financially sustainable with ventures expected to create social change for years to come.”

“Technology is increasingly becoming more central to social inclusion and Tigo is excited that through our Digital Inclusion agenda and in partnership with Reach for Change, we are supporting digital entrepreneurs to ensure the development and wellbeing of children. The impact of this programme cannot be over emphasized as our previous Changemaker winners have and continue to work in very deprived and remote communities across Ghana,” said Gifty Bingley, the Director for Corporate Affairs at Tigo Ghana.

Two additional finalists also received GHS5,000 grants to help them complete the development of their digital applications. Elijah Amoo Addo’s app will work to reduce food waste and solve nutritional deficiencies among vulnerable children while Edem Isaiah Akpan is working on a digital application that will promote hygiene among children.

Since 2011, Tigo and Reach for Change have awarded 20 social entrepreneurs with both financial and professional support grant funding and support through the intensive Reach for Change incubator programme. They have also supported dozens more through accelerators designed to help transform ideas into investment-ready initiatives.
Source: Techmoran

MTN Ghana Apologieses for Wednesday Evening Downtime

Accra December 15, 2016. MTN wishes to apologize sincerely to customers who were impacted by a network outage that occurred last night, 14 December, 2016. The outage was the result of a technical Internet Protocol problem affecting some of our sites which disrupted voice and data services. MTN Engineers worked quickly to resolve the problem and were able to fully restore the affected sites in less than two hours.  Our engineers continue to work hard to isolate the root cause  and put measures in place to prevent recurrence. We will provide further update in the course of the day. We wish to apologize once again to our customers for the inconvenience. MTN remains committed to providing reliable services to its cherished customers.

Cynthia Lumor (Mrs.)
Corporate Services Executive, MTN Ghana