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Motorola targets budget buyers with Moto G smartphone

Google's Motorola unit has launched a relatively low-cost smartphone that includes features more commonly found in higher-priced models. The Moto G will be sold contract-free from £135 in the UK and $179 in the US. The handset has a 4.5in (11.4cm) 720p high-definition screen, a five megapixel rear camera, a 1.3MP front one, and runs the latest versions of the Android operating system.

Analysts suggests the budget end of the market is set to enjoy huge growth. "The second wave of smartphone adopters is now starting," said Francisco Jeronimo, a mobile device analyst at the consultancy IDC. "This wave is characterised by consumers looking to get their first smartphone at the cheapest price they find.

Moto G Motorola says the Moto G will get Android KitKat "within weeks" "They don't have the need nor the money to afford the most advanced smartphones, as the first wave of adopters had. "

Fast to assemble'

The Moto G is being launched in 30 countries including the UK, US, France, Germany and parts of Latin America and Asia. That contrasts with the country's last model - the Moto X - which is currently only available in the US.

Its price makes it slightly cheaper than Samsung's Galaxy S3 Mini, HTC's Desire X and Sony's Xperia M but still more expensive than Huawei's Ascend G510.

However, Motorola's device is the only one of these to come preinstalled with the Android Jelly Bean operating system. The firm is also promising to release an upgrade to the newest version of its Android platform, KitKat, in the near future.

It also has the highest resolution display and is the only one to feature a quad-core, rather than dual-core, CPU (central processing unit). This should in theory allow it to offer superior processing power while minimising the toll on battery life.

Motorola's chief executive told the BBC it had helped cut each handset's cost by putting in a large orders for their components from the start.

"The engineers also designed this for cost - there's fewer pieces [and] it's designed to be easy and fast to assemble," said Dennis Woodside.

He added that unlike the Moto X, the company had opted not to build the device in the US.

Xiaomi  Hongmi 100,000 copies of the Hongmi were sold in two minutes when it launched

"It's assembled in China, Brazil and Argentina," he said. "We had to go with a cost-driven approach to put it together."

Cheaper rivals

Mr Woodside said the handset would be targeted at three groups:

  • People in developing countries who wanted to move from a basic "feature phone" to one that could run a wide range of apps
  • Students and children in richer nations, for whom price was still an issue
  • Existing smartphone owners frustrated by the prospect of spending £500 every couple of years to upgrade to another top-end model

Motorola is far from alone in targeting these segments.

Nokia's Lumia 520 - running on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 platform - can be purchased contract-free for £100. The firm also offers the even cheaper Asha range of phones, which run a more limited choice of apps.

ZTE has released a smartphone powered by Mozilla's Firefox OS costing just £60.

Meanwhile, Xiaomi recently released Hongmi, a handset costing the equivalent of £80. Like the Moto G it runs Android Jelly Bean and has a quad-core CPU, but in addition offers a bigger screen and higher megapixel rear camera.

Lumia 520 Nokia is expected to announced an update to the Lumia 520 soon

For now Xiaomi is focused on China, but the company's recent hire of Hugo Barra - a former Google executive - has been interpreted by many as signalling international ambitions.

Growing losses

According to a recent study by network equipment maker Ericsson, the number of smartphone subscribers will grow from 1.9 billion people today to 5.6 billion by 2019.

But despite an expanding market, Motorola has struggled.

In the July-to-September quarter its losses totalled $248m - 24% up from the same period in 2012.

Its US market share also fell over the same months, according to research company Comscore, despite the Moto X's launch.

"Although most vendors are still trying to enter the high-end of the market attracted by higher margins, they struggle to compete with Apple and Samsung, due their strong brands and colossal marketing budgets," said Mr Jeronimo.

"The mid- and the low-end of the market is where most companies are turning to to grow their handsets businesses.

"However, competing at lower price points represents a huge challenge for the less innovative manufacturers or those that are not efficient enough to squeeze each penny from their supply chain."

Moto X Motorola says it plans to release the Moto X in Europe some time in 2014

Google has the potential to earn money from Android handsets by taking a cut from apps and media sold via its Play Store, and adverts shown on its other apps.

Even so, Mr Woodside said Motorola intended to make a "fair profit" from the Moto G, adding that he believed the new model had the potential to prove more popular than the Moto X.

"It really addresses a larger market, frankly," he said.

"That's where the volume is. I don't want to give any specific forecasts but the opportunity is absolutely much bigger."

Developing countries should mirror Ethiopia: Intrahealth Int'l

Addis Ababa, 13 November 2013 (WIC) - The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Intrahealth International Pape Gaye claims other countries in the developing world should follow Ethiopia's lead in the battle to improve reproductive health. Gaye was speaking following the third annual Global Forum on Human Resources for Health in Brazil. He explained that one of the main talking points at the conference concerned a worldwide need for more health workers.

According to comments he made to Addis Fortune, the measures taken by the Ethiopian government - which have seen them employ 30,000 'extension health workers' - have yielded dramatic improvements in common reproductive health issues.

During the last eight years, the proportion of couples using contraception has risen from 14 per cent to 29 per cent. This summer, Ethiopia also achieved the UN's Millennium Development Goal 4, which aims to reduce infant mortality rates. Gaye said: "The country put its money where its mouth was, and deployed tens of thousands of government-salaried health extension workers throughout the country. And the results have been astounding." (FIGO)

Ethiopia condemns Saudi Arabia for its brutal crackdown

Addis Ababa, 12 November 2013 (WIC) - Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom has condemned Saudi Arabia for its brutal crackdown on migrant workers in the kingdom. Saudi authorities have launched the weeklong visa crackdown on foreign workers, killing three people, including an Ethiopian national. “This is unacceptable.

We call on the Saudi government to investigate this issue seriously. We are also happy to take our citizens, who should be treated with dignity while they are there,” Adhanom said on Sunday.

Ethiopia’s top diplomat said Addis Ababa has formally complained to Riyadh and is now working to bring its citizens back home. Saudi security forces on Saturday clashed with thousands of migrant workers protesting a new labor law.

Two people were killed and nearly 70 others injured after police opened fire to disperse protesters in the capital Riyadh. More than 500 protesters were also detained. On Wednesday, the Ethiopian man was killed during another crackdown, prompting the Ethiopian government to announce efforts to bring home its citizens. Riyadh has announced plans to create jobs for Saudi nationals by reducing the number of foreign workers totaling some nine million people.

Hundreds of thousands of workers have already left the kingdom amid tougher conditions for migrants. Foreign workers cannot change jobs or leave Saudi Arabia without the permission of their sponsors, who are often Saudi companies or individuals who provide workers to businesses for profit. Most of the sponsors take away the passports of the workers for the duration of their contract.

Human rights groups have criticized Saudi Arabia over the condition of migrant workers in the kingdom and called on Riyadh to abolish the sponsorship system for migrant workers. (Diretube)

Morsi warns of Egypt instability without reinstatement

Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi has warned that the country cannot be stable until he is returned to power. In a statement read out by lawyers who met him in prison, he said he had been kidnapped and held against his will since the military deposed him in July. He also denounced as illegitimate the court that is trying him on charges of inciting murder and violence.

Mr Morsi refused to name any lawyers to defend him in the trial, which has been adjourned until 8 January. He is one of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members to have been detained over the past four months in a crackdown the interim authorities have portrayed as a struggle against "terrorism". Hundreds of people have also been killed in clashes with security forces. On Monday, the government said it would be lifting the state of emergency and curfew imposed in August to limit protests.

Continue reading the main story “Start Quote The coup has begun to fall apart and will topple in the face of the steadfastness of the Egyptian people” Mohammed Morsi Ousted Egyptian president However, security will be bolstered in city centres and on main roads, and activists expect the introduction of a new law giving police the power to ban demonstrations outright. 'Legal measures' Mr Morsi was moved to a regular prison last week after the first session of his trial on charges of incitement, in connection with the violence outside the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo in December 2012. At a meeting with a team of lawyers from the Brotherhood and other allied groups on Tuesday, he dictated a "message to the Egyptian people".

"The coup has begun to fall apart and will topple in the face of the steadfastness of the Egyptian people," the lawyers quoted the statement as saying on Wednesday. Mr Morsi accused armed forces chief Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who announced the overthrow of the president following days of mass opposition protests, of "treason against God" and "treason against the whole nation by driving a wedge among the people of Egypt".

Egypt would not regain its stability until "the military coup is eliminated and those responsible for shedding Egyptians' blood are held accountable", he warned. Brotherhood lawyer Mohammed al-Damati said Mr Morsi was still refusing to accept legal representation for his trial, insisting it was illegitimate. "When we discussed the issue of naming a lawyer to defend him, he said that the time was too early to talk about this because he adheres to his legitimacy."

However, the lawyers would initiate "legal measures against the coup", Mr Damati said. These might include complaining to the prosecutor general that "what happened was a crime", or filing a suit at an administrative court alleging that Gen Sisi's moves were "null and void", he added.

Later, state-run Nile News TV reported that the Misdemeanour Court in Burj al-Arab, in Alexandria, had ruled that the separate trial of Mr Morsi on fraud charges would begin on 23 December. The charges were connected with the Muslim Brotherhood's economic and social programme for Egypt's recovery, called Renaissance (al-Nahda), it said. Supporters claim both the incitement and fraud charges are politically motivated, something the military backed government denies.

EPRDF Executive Committee concludes its regular meeting, passes various decisions

Addis Ababa, 9 November2013 (WIC) - The Executive Committee of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) concluded its regular meeting having evaluated first quarter performances of this Ethiopian fiscal year.

The committee also passed various decisions and underlined future major focus areas. According to the press release it sent to WIC, the Executive Committee evaluated various rural and urban activities in the past three months and found it encouraging.

In the first phase of the budget year, understanding among the leadership and managements at various levels on the plans designed to be executed this fiscal year was well established, the press release indicated, adding that public discussions were also made at various levels with better understanding.

The Executive Committee also evaluated the performance of past three months in utilizing irrigation to raise and maintain agricultural products and found it better than the same period in the previous year.

It also passed a decision to raise the gains from irrigation having improved the necessary inputs, market limitations and market linkages, according to the press release. Performances in animal husbandry were also encouraging, better efforts have exerted in offering better animal breeds to the farmers and pastoralists, the press release indicated.

It also emphasized the need to give special attention to the sector in order to gain maximum benefit from animal husbandry. The Committee also reviewed the basin, irrigation and crop development activities undertaken in rural areas as encouraging, thus emphasized the need to strengthen efforts to maximize farmers’ productivity and production. Performances in urban areas to create job opportunities were also heartening, it noted.

Conducive atmosphere for the youth and women to organize and participate in Small and Microfinance Enterprises was also prearranged. The Executive Committee also underlined the importance of establishing educational army and creating public mobilization in order to ensure sustainable educational quality. It also evaluated the preparations to carry out the prevention based health policy having paid a special attention to decrease the death of mothers and children.

The Executive Committee also reviewed that ensuring good governance is taken as the indispensable and key area in all sectors, adding that a plan was set to avoid good governance related problems in collaboration with the people. According to the press release, the Executive Committee also passed a decision to strengthen its struggle against rent seeking, corruption and extremism.

The Executive Committee finally emphasized that the preparations in the past three years are also well underway to carry out the GTP through the mobilization and participation of the Ethiopian people.

Ethiopia: PM Hailemariam Stresses Need for Transparency, Accountability

Addis Ababa, 8 November 2013 (WIC) - Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has stressed the need to strengthen institutional capacity in a bid to ensure transparency and accountability. While speaking at a relevant meeting on Thursday in Addis Ababa, Hailemariam said ensuring transparency and accountability is crucial to strengthen good governance in the country.

He said his government has given due attention to building good governance. The Premier urged government agencies to immediately change inefficient administration and discharge their responsibilities, which is serving the public. It is important for Ethiopia to ensure good governance in order to sustain the rapid economic development, he said.

According to ERTA,k over the past years activities have been carried out to build good governance and fight maladministration, he said; yet, the activities undertaken so far are not that much successful.

Hailemariam called on high level government officials to address their limitations related to decision making, which he said is upsetting the public, and respond to appeals without delay.

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