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Entrepreneur launches first Africa-designed smartphone
by Staff Writers
Brazzaville (AFP) Dec 29, 2012

A Congolese inventor has unveiled what he says is the first African-designed smartphone.

Verone Mankou, 27, told AFP that the so-called Elikia, which means "hope" in the local language, went on sale the day before in the Republic of Congo.

Mankou, head of the company VMK, said the Android-powered device was on sale in only in Congo for now, but he planned to launch it in other countries.

The phone was initially due to go on sale in October but its launch was delayed "because of an explosion in demand," he said.

Though the phone is Congolese by design, it is manufactured in China. It costs about 130 euros ($170) -- a considerable sum in this central African nation.

The phone has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 512 megabytes of RAM and a 650-Mhz processor. Its camera is five megapixels, and it also comes with GPS and Bluetooth.

Mankou last year designed what was billed as Africa's first tablet computer.

Apple to drop patent claims against Samsung phone
New York (AFP) Dec 28, 2012 - Apple has agreed to drop its patent claims against Samsung's Galaxy S III Mini after the South Korean rival said it would not sell the gadget in the United States, a court filing showed Friday.

The announcement is the latest twist in a patent battle between the two tech titans.

Last month, Apple asked that a series of Samsung products -- including the Galaxy S III -- be added to the patent infringement suit between the mobile giants.

"Apple will agree to withdraw without prejudice its request to include the Galaxy S III Mini in this case given Samsung's representation that it is not making, using, selling, offering to sell or importing that product into the United States," the company said in its latest federal court filing in San Jose, California.

Samsung, the world's top mobile and smartphone maker, was ordered by a US jury in August to pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages for illegally copying iPhone and iPad features for its flagship Galaxy S smartphones.

It has appealed the ruling, depicting the verdict as "a loss" for consumers and contending that Apple had "manipulated" the patent system.

Since then, two separate rulings by courts in Japan and the Netherlands have dismissed Apple's claims of patent infringement.


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Nigerian troops kill five Islamists in restive north
Kaduna, Nigeria (AFP) Dec 28, 2012
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