Banana Kuwait Blog | Entertainment | Food | Fashion | Electronics

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Recall the colorful glassy building with water falls on its facade (AKA Safat) in Hawally just opposite to TSC? It was totally empty for a long time even though construction completed years ago. Last night, I was heading to TSC and I saw that EUREKA has just opened there.

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Inside, I observed that the whole interior was occupied by EUREKA electronics with over three floors, I think this might be their largest branch in Kuwait. I saw TVs, Smartphones, Computers, Home appliances, speakers, players distributed over three floors with Zaatar W Zeit and Nestle Toll House on the side. Also, there was a family entertainment area on the 1st floor. I liked the place since reaching EUREKA at Salem Mubarak street can become Mission:Impossible sometimes.

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If you have been to Second Cup or Coffee Republic recently, you may have seen an exciting new innovation in Kuwait. Boloro Tap and Pay is a new payments service where Viva and Zain customers can use their mobile balance to pay for purchases.

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Making a payment is easy – just tap your sticker at the Point of Sale at a Boloro Merchant and you will receive an SMS asking you to enter your secret PIN to authorize the transaction. Reply to the SMS with your PIN and the transaction is approved.

Boloro is fast, convenient and secure and you never have to share your personal financial information online or in stores. To pay with Boloro, all you need is a mobile phone and the Boloro sticker. Boloro works with all types of phones and since it is not an app, no internet access is required to use it. The Boloro sticker uses NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, which means that a simple tap at the retailer initiates the transaction directly from your mobile. To pay online, you simply have to input your mobile number and authorize the transaction via SMS.

NFC reader

To get started, you just need to activate Boloro once – get a Boloro sticker from your Mobile Network Operator (Viva or Zain), or a participating Merchant (Second Cup or Coffee Republic) and SMS the 16-digit sticker code to 281. Once activated, you will receive a 4-digit security PIN, which you must not share with anyone. Your 4-digit PIN is used to approve all transactions through Boloro.

This hip and fun new way to pay is currently available to Viva prepaid and post-paid and Zain prepaid customers in Kuwait. Boloro is available at several retailers and merchants throughout Kuwait. Last year, Boloro announced a successful pilot with KPTC and CityBus, where customers used Boloro Tap and Go to ride the bus. Presently, you can use it at Second Cup and Coffee Republic outlets, as well as to top up your CashU balance online. Soon it will be expanding to more retailers and websites in the region.

Second cup

Boloro has been launched by Boloro Kuwait, the first of its kind regional mobile payment company based in Kuwait City. Its aim is to improve the lives of people in the MENA region by fueling online and point of purchase commerce by offering secure and convenient payment alternatives to mobile phone customers, through the Boloro Mobile Payments Platform.

If you need more information, you can watch this video from facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=728898043802118&set=vb.699098380115418&type=2&theater

For further information visit www.boloro.com/kuwait and https://www.facebook.com/bolorokuwait

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Incase you missed the event that took place earlier this year in January, here’s the official video for the event. A lot of these cars might look super familiar, and you’ve probably seen them roaming around the streets of Kuwait! Enjoy :)

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mobile-payment

According to an article I found on Forbes, President Obama is keen to getting rid of the American Penny. His argument is that there are over 6 billion people who have phones, so why not go on with making payments through their mobile phones? It won’t be much later till all physical evidence of both paper money and coins will be a thing of the past. Payments for virtually everything will be done through fingerprints or mobile phones.

There’s an NFC chip inside most mobile phone chips that can transmit banking and payment data when placed near certain card readers. According to forbes.com, “a debit card, a mobile phone can display interactive payment details. And, instead of the credit card application process of filling out paperwork and waiting for the mail, using a mobile phone to pay requires only the download of an app and linking to bank details. PayPal president, David Marcus, calls it Money 3.0.”

This notion has started in Kuwait through a company called Borolo. Basically, all you have to do is go to a Second Cup or a Coffee Republic and they’ll give you a sticker to place on the back of your phone and voila! This feature is only available for Viva users for now, but soon this notion will be widespread in all shops and telephones. Also, what’s amazing about this is that it doesn’t need to be a smart phone! Even if you’re using an ancient phone and have no cash on you, you can still have yummy coffee.

If you pay your phone bill at the end of every month, it just adds to the overall payment; and if you recharge your phone, it deducts from your credit. You don’t need to pay anything extra for a subscription. What do you guys think of mobile payments? Are you with or against it?

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This To That Conference (1)

 

This flyer basically sums up the whole event taking place tomorrow (Friday and Saturday). This to That will be taking place at the Al Americani Cultural Center located on the corner of the Arabian Gulf Road and Al-Shuhada Street, by the National Assembly Parliament building and across the road from Youm Al-Bahaar. Anyone interested in architecture can learn so much about how it’s evolved through the years. Registration can be done through www.thistothat.eventzilla.net.

Date:
Friday, February 14th/12:30AM-7:00PM
Saturday, February 15th/10:00AM-5:00PM

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IMG-20131225-WA004Today is the opening of Music Rocker,which is a high end music accessories store. It’s located at the Grand avenues.

Music lover’s will find some pretty interesting cubic chairs, fun accessories to start building up a world class collection of furniture that comes with in-built sound systems varying in size and shape.

I think it will be worth checking out because I believe they will be offering some very well designed sound systems which may be perfect for bacherlor’s pad or any family with a love of music and looking for way to fancy up their homes.

you can take a quick browse through their website to get a better idea; http://www.musicrocker.de/

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20131123_200400 (Small)So SONY PlayStation 4 (PS4) has finally hit Kuwait after such a long await, and I’m pretty sure every hard gamer out there is willing to do anything to get his hands on it right now. However, the question to be asked; is it the time now to go ahead and burn your cash to get PS 4 (which is now available at Al Rehab complex in Hawally) or should you wait little longer?

20131123_200146 (Small)Well, there’e an old proverb that says “Patience is a virtue” and this saying can’t get any truer than now. I paid a quick visit to Al Rehab complex today in the early evening, it’s been ages since I’ve been there, and as I approached the complex entrance, a number of strangers were asking me if I want to get PS4 for the best price ever. “Yes, sure” I replied, then they asked me to follow them to their shops on 1st floor.

20131123_200119 (Small)They offered me Sony PlayStation 4 Standard Edition 500 GB Black (NTSC or American version) for KD230 (comes with 1 joystick and without any games), but I managed to bargain the price tag and get it down to around KD215. Some shops were trying to attract me by offering me a free game for KD230. I remember PS 3 was around the same price when it first came out in Kuwait back in 2007 I think. As you may be aware, the official price for PS4 that was announced by SONY is $399 (KD115 roughly), so the price in Kuwait now is almost the double, but I warned about price manipulation in my previous post [link]. I also checked Kuwait online stores such as Souk and Sheeel and the prices were around KD225, which is slightly higher than Rehab complex.

I overheard from some friends that SONY PlayStation 4 will be officially released in Kuwait in about a month with a price tag around KD130. So my advice is to hold your horses and wait till it officially arrives to Kuwait. Games-wise, the prices were around KD17-KD25 each.

As for the released games so far, I saw:

FIFA 2014

Call Of Duty (COD): Ghosts

Assassins Creed IV Black Flag

Battle Field

Kill Zone: Shadow Fall

Knack

In Justice 

NBA 2K14

Lego Marvel Superheroes

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PS4-vs-XboxWith the long awaited consoles PS4 & Xbox One around the corner (since both will be released later this month) I’m still undecided which one to go for. Mind you I always disliked consoles and favored computers, the reason is simply because with computers I can always customize the hardware to get that high-end graphics that I dream of by tweaking the games settings. I’m talking very high resolution with say 16X Anti-Aliasing or more without of course sacrifying the frames rate (60fps or higher). The downside was of course the high cost since building a monster PC will cost no less than KD800-KD1000 so consoles can save much in that respect for gamers.

Hardware & Graphics

So back to the decision making. Apparently, both consoles have almost the same specs with regards to hardware. Well, to be more honest it does appear that PS4 will slightly be a bit more powerful than Xbox One. However, I expected Microsoft and Sony to build much powerful consoles that are capable of producing breath-taking graphics, sadly that’s not the case so I don’t know if I can even call them next gen consoles as many popular websites do. So this is probably not a deciding factor, well at least for me.

(See at the end of post for full hardware comparison table)

Games

In my opinion this must be the crucial criterion that will make many favor one console over the other. Obviously most popular games titles will be available on either platform, but I’m talking about those exclusive hit gamez. So far PS4 is promising more exclusive gamez but I’ve seen the list of upcoming Xbox One games and there are many hot titles as well.

Price & Release Date

The announced PS4 price will be $400 (KD115 roughly) and will be realsed on November 29th, 2013 in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand and November 15 in the US and Canada. While official Xbox One release date is on November 22, 2013 with $500 (KD142). I’m sure both consoles will arrive to Kuwait around the same time but buyer must beware since some shops will most likely manipulate the price tag. As you can see Xbox One is more expensive because Microsoft says that its new Kinect 2 sensor will be bundled.

UPDATE: As we said before, SONY announced on their official twitter account that PS4 was launched in the U.S. today (November 15th, 2013) with $399 price tag. It will arrive officially to Kuwait and other GCC countries within a month.

ps4-vs-xbox-oneVerdict

I’m still not utterly conclusive but I’m more tending toward PS4 than Xbox One. The reason for that is clearly isn’t the slightly better hardware or marginally cheaper price of PS4 but mainly because I’m not feeling comfy with Xbox One user policy after reading about the many constraints and charges Microsoft is intending to place. I recall Microsoft was initially planning to have rigid restrictions on game lending, internet requirements, and region locking but apparently have changed their tune later when many disgruntled customers have voiced their frustrations.

This by no means should be interpreted as that PS4 is better but so far things are slightly brighter on PS4 side.  However, things could completely change when both consoles are out, it’s largely a waiting game in my humble opinion. So what’s your call?

Helping links [link1][link2]

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