Safaricom, iHub, ForgetMeNot to launch internet-free mobile apps

Jeremy George, Chief Operating Officer at ForgetMeNot Africa


Aspiring African app developers will see their ideas launched to millions of mobile phone users in Kenya through a competition launched by ForgetMeNot Africa, Safaricom and iHub, a developer community in Nairobi.

The Kipokezi Apps Challenge encourages developers to create new network level mobile applications and games that are especially relevant to people in Kenya. Using ForgetMeNot Africa’s Optimiser Platform – which currently supports internet-free Facebook, email and online chat – entrants can develop apps that reach users of all handsets via two-way SMS and USSD, from first generation mobile phones to the latest smartphone. Developers can use any programming language for their entry.

The winning entrants will receive seed capital to develop their ideas, an Apple iPad and, if successful, their apps will be launched to Safaricom’s 15 million subscribers across Kenya, earning the developers an ongoing revenue share.

After an initial development period, the best app ideas will be shortlisted and developers will attend a weekend training session and hackathon in April. They will receive mentoring from ForgetMeNot Africa, Safaricom and iHub experts, draw up a business plan and present their idea to a panel of judges, who will choose the winning application and the best two finalists.

The competition is open to all developers, but entrants must first sign up to the free White Membership of iHub and have a Safaricom SIM card. Those wanting to develop applications for the Safaricom network, but not wanting to enter the competition, may do so. Support will be provided by fellow developers and ForgetMeNot technical staff via a Facebook group.

Jeremy George, Chief Operating Officer at ForgetMeNot Africa, said: “This competition is all about inspiring ideas, and providing people with the means, support and capability to make those ideas a reality. Kenya has a huge pool of talented developers and entrepreneurs who we believe will relish the opportunity to deploy their innovations across the huge Safaricom network.”

ForgetMeNot Africa’s technology is already available to Safaricom’s 15 million subscribers in Kenya through its Kipokezi service, which launched in May 2010. Prior to the launch of Kipokezi only one in ten Kenyans had ever accessed the Internet, but the service brought internet-free mobile Facebook, email and instant chat to more than a third of the population, transforming even the most basic of mobile handsets into a virtual smartphone.

Find out more on Twitter at: #KipApps Developers can register at: http://www.forgetmenotafrica.com/developers

For more information on the competition visit: forgetmenotafrica.com/developers/apps-challenge

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