The Mobile Minute: The Winner of Apps4Africa, Skype on Android, UAE Cancels BlackBerry Ban

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Oct 11, 2010

The Mobile Minute is back with the latest mobile news. Apps4Africa announces its winner, Microsoft prepares to launch its mobile operating system, the United Arab Emirates doesn't go through with its proposed BlackBerry ban, political campaigns try to grow mobile campaign lists, and although Skype is now available on a greater number of Android phones, its not without its downsides.

  • The United Arab Emirates has rescinded its threat to ban BlackBerry usage. The ban was to begin on Monday, October 11 and was due to the government's inability to access encrypted data sent through BlackBerrys. The New York Times reports that "It was not clear what, if any, concessions, R.I.M. had made to avert the bans. A representative for R.I.M. in Britain could not be reached immediately for comment on Friday. But the U.A.E. telecommunications authority said that R.I.M., which is based in Canada and is one of the world’s largest makers of smartphones, had shown “positive engagement” in reaching a compromise." [Read more background here]
  • Skype, which was previously only available on select Verizon Android smartphones, can now operate on any phone running at least Android 2.1. However, points out a few downsides to the new Android mobile Skype: "It’s only tested on HTC and Motorola handsets running the version of Android called Eclair, it doesn’t seem to work on the Samsung Galaxy S, Skype says, and the service isn’t available in China or Japan. [...] If you use a carrier inside the United States, however, 3G calling is disabled, as was initially the case with Skype for iPhone. Video calling, which is supported on Skype’s desktop apps, is not available for mobile. It also doesn’t appear that you can receive calls on Skype for Android — only IMs. Another significant limitation: You can make calls from the app, but you cannot receive calls unless you purchase a Skype Online Number, a separate for-fee service."

[Mobile Minute Disclaimer: The Mobile Minute is a quick round-up of interesting stories that have come across our RSS and Twitter feeds to keep you informed of the rapid pace of innovation. Read them and enjoy them, but know that we have not deeply investigated these news items. For more in-depth information about the ever-growing field of mobile tech for social change, check out our blog posts, white papers and research, how-tos, and case studies.

Image courtesy Flickr user QiFei

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