Wire App Offers a Clutter-Free Chat Experience

Wire App Offers a Clutter-Free Chat Experience


Even though most people use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger for chatting, there is no dearth of alternatives available. There are privacy-focused options such as Telegram, and sticker-filled apps such as WeChat, so there is a messaging app for every purpose. One such app, Wire, takes a slightly different approach.

Wire’s appeal lies in its simple, clutter-free design that is suitable for both professional and personal use. The app, which is backed by Skype co-founder Janis Friis, let’s you chat, share images, and make voice calls to other Wire users. Like WhatsApp, and some other apps, Wires uses your phone’s contact list to quickly connect you to other users you know. It has recently launched a Windows app to complement its iOS, Android, OS X, and Web apps. Wire’s group calling feature and clean interface made us wonder if it could find a niche that swears by the app. We used the app on various platforms to find out.

True to its claim, Wire does have a neat interface. With a white background, a large and clean font, and a relatively minimalist interface, it looks good and is easy to use. You can sign up with your phone number or email address. This reviewer couldn’t sign up via SMS because he received the verification message around two hours too late, but two colleagues didn’t face this issue, and were able to sign up and verify their numbers without any issues. If you do face this problem, you can always go to Wire’s website and sign up using an email address, which is also hassle free.


Wire was snappier than WhatsApp, Messenger, or Slack (which we use for office-wide chat) and it helped that the app looks really nice too. The Web interface had all the same features and worked without any problems – we had to create a password using our phone, and after that, we could log into Wire through the browser. The new Windows app works just like the Web interface, and looks the same too.

The biggest annoyance we had with Wire was its insistence on making you upload a profile picture. One of our colleagues didn’t do this on the Mac app and he was greeted with a large pop-up asking him to upload a picture. This pop-up couldn’t be closed without uploading a picture and the colleague was locked out of the app until he did. The only way for him to chat with us was to click on Wire’s chat notifications. But if no one messaged him, he couldn’t use the app without a picture.


Wire lets you upload pictures, add gifs as you type (with Giphy integration), and ping your contacts in case you want to ensure that they haven’t missed your message. The calling feature also worked as expected. Wire worked surprisingly well on a 2G connection, even for calls, but when a colleague sent us a gif, the app just stopped working. It couldn’t load the gif on the slow 2G connection and it wouldn’t let us send or receive messages until the gif could be loaded. We were left wishing for a setting to disable pre-loading of pictures or gifs on cellular connections.

When the Internet connection was fast, Wire worked very well for us. Messages were sent and received instantly and we found ourselves happy with the app overall. It pre-loads URLs from SoundCloud, Spotify (not available in India though), YouTube, and Vimeo, which is a nice touch. We wish it would pre-load URLs from all websites – to reveal the title and summary of articles, for example, similar to what Slack does – but that isn’t a big miss considering that it’s not really an enterprise-focused app. All of Wire’s apps are pretty good overall, when you get past annoyances such as uploading a profile picture.

But we wish that some of the polish seen in Wire’s design was also seen in the UX. For example, if you read a chat on Wire’s Web view, you’d still get a notification on your smartphone. This smartphone notification doesn’t go away if you read the chat on any other platform, unlike what we’ve seen with other modern apps.


Wire is a nice messaging app overall that could use a little bit of polish to get rid of annoyances. We’d recommend it for semi-professional groups who need a chat app that doesn’t have a million friends and family members bothering you every minute. For this to be effective, make sure that you don’t give the app access to your contacts while signing up, and manually add people you know to your groups. The app is light, loads quickly, and looks great. The downside is that all the people you know are already using WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

On the other hand, WhatsApp looks clunky in comparison and lacks the kind of integrations Wire gives you, and the WhatsApp Web interface feels like a hack, though it works just fine. But it’s still the platform where everyone including your forgotten relatives can reach you. Facebook Messenger has many of the same advantages, and is equally usable on a PC or a smartphone.

This network effect that the existing apps enjoy is going to be difficult for Wire and other newcomers to overcome, without some unique offering to really make them stand out.



Airtel Partners Intex, Offers Aqua Lions N1 at an Effective Price of Rs. 1,649

Airtel Partners Intex, Offers Aqua Lions N1 at an Effective Price of Rs. 1,649


  • Intex Aqua Lions N1 was unveiled on Wednesday alongside the offer
  • Two older Intex smartphones were also brought under Airtel’s offer
  • Airtel previously partnered with Karbonn and Celkon

Airtel has partnered Intex to bring three of the domestic brand’s smartphones under its Mera Pehla Smartphone initiative, which offers cashback to sweeten the purchase and lock customers onto the operator’s network. Thus far, Airtel has partnered with Karbonn and Celkon, with Intex becoming the third manufacturer to join the telco’s initiative. With the announcement on Wednesday, Intex has also launched a new smartphone – Intex Aqua Lions N1- while bringing its previously launched Intex Aqua S3 and Intex Aqua A4 under the offer’s umbrella.

Let’s start with the offer, before coming to the specifications of the newly launched Intex Aqua Lions N1. As before, Airtel subscribers with an eligible Mera Pehla Smartphone will need to make recharges of any denominations but worth Rs. 3,000 in the first 18 months to receive a cashback of Rs. 500, and recharges worth another Rs. 3,000 in the second 18 month period to claim a cashback of Rs. 1,000 – bringing the total cashback to Rs. 1,500. Users can choose to avail the bundled Rs. 169 pack, which for eligible handsets has a 28-day validity, and offers unlimited calling (subject to fair usage policy) apart from 0.5GB high-speed data a day. The refunds will be credited to the user’s Airtel Payments Bank account.

Getting to the ‘effective prices’ of the Intex handsets under the Airtel Mera Pehla Smartphone offer, the telco says the Intex Aqua Lions N1 has an MRP of Rs. 3,799 but will be available at an MOP (something that Airtel is calling a down payment) of Rs. 3,149. When the Rs. 1,500 cashback is subtracted, the Aqua Lions N1’s effective price is said to be Rs. 1,649. In a similar fashion, the Intex Aqua A4 has an MRP of Rs. 4,999, but will be available at an MOP of Rs. 3,499, bring its effective price after cashback to Rs. 1,999. Finally, the Intex Aqua S3 is said to have an MRP of Rs. 6,649, an MOP of Rs. 5,879, and an effective price of Rs. 4,379 after cashbacks.

Getting to the specifications, the Intex A qua A4 was launched back in May, and you can check out its details in our previous coverage. Likewise, the Aqua S3 was launched in June.

As we mentioned, the Intex Aqua Lions N1 is a brand new smartphone running Android 7.0 Nougat, and it supports dual-SIM cards. It sports a 4-inch WVGA (480×800 pixels) display, and is powered by a 1.1GHz MediaTek processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. The smartphone bears a 2-megapixel rear camera and a 0.3-megapixel (VGA) front facing camera. It offers 8GB of inbuilt storage, expandable via microSD card (up to 128GB) with its own dedicated slot. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, 3.5mm headphone jack, and Micro-USB.

A little background on the Airtel Mera Pehla smartphone initiative – the telecom operator launched the programme back in October in response to the Jio Phone that was marketed with a similar ‘effective price’ strategy. The launch was with the Karbonn A40 Indian, and the telco partnered the domestic brand again in November with the Karbonn A1 Indian and Karbonn A41 Power. In between, it also partnered Celkon for its Smart 4G smartphone.

Other telcos to follow the Jio Phone’s effective price model include Vodafone India with the Micromax Bharat-2 Ultra, and BSNL with the Micromax Bharat 1 feature phone. Vodafone late last month unveiled similar offers for the Micromax Bharat 2 Plus, Micromax Bharat 3, Micromax Bharat 4, and the Micromax Canvas 1.

Speaking on the launch, Ajai Puri, Chief Operating Officer (India and South Asia), Bharti Airtel said, “We are really pleased to see the continued positive response to our ‘Mera Pehla Smartphone’ initiative from customers as well as smartphone manufacturers. We are delighted to have Intex on board as a partner and their brand familiarity plus distribution reach will add to our affordable smartphone proposition and offer more choice to our customers. We look forward to working with them towards empowering every Indian with a 4G smartphone.”

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Intex Aqua Lions N1

Intex Aqua Lions N1

  • NEWS





Front Camera



480×800 pixels




Android 7.0



Rear Camera


Battery Capacity


Also See
  • Intex Aqua Lions 3G (Grey, 8GB) – OFFER
  • Intex Aqua Lions 3G (Grey, 8GB)
  • Intex Aqua Lions 4G (Black Grey, 8GB) – OFFER


New school offers education ‘salvation’ for Syrian girls in Lebanon

Image result for New school offers education 'salvation' for Syrian girls in Lebanon

BAR ELIAS, Lebanon (Reuters) – A new girls’ school for Syrian refugees in Lebanon’s poor Bekaa region is aiming to give girls from conservative backgrounds the chance at a formal education.

Syrian refugee girls take a photo with Noura Jumblatt, founder of the NGO Kayany Foundation, at a school for Syrian refugee girls, built by the foundation in Bar Elias town, in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aziz Taher

Gaining access to education in general is difficult for Syrian refugees in Lebanon, but for girls from socially conservative families who disapprove of mixed schools, it is even harder.

Zahra al-Ayed, 14, and her sister Batoul, 17, were from a village in Syria’s northern Idlib province where women were expected to marry young.

But the experience of fleeing war and living in harsh poverty woke her parents to the life-changing importance of education, the girls’ mother Mirdiyeh al-Ayed said.

“My eldest daughter tells me that she will not marry until after she finishes her education. She even wants to travel abroad and learn,” she said.

Human Rights Watch organisation said in its latest report in April that more than half a million refugee children are out of school in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

In Lebanon, international donors paid for 200,000 public school spaces for Syrian children in 2015-2016, according to the HRW report, but only 149,000 children actually enrolled.

Lebanese and international non-governmental organizations have been striving to fill the gap, and to eliminate the legal, financial and language barriers preventing refugee children from getting their education.

For the al-Ayed family, used to Syria’s system of gender segregation after the age of 12, one big barrier to enrolling the girls was the lack of single-sex schools in Lebanon that accept refugees.

Syrian refugee girls are pictured at a school for Syrian refugee girls, built by the Lebanese non-profit Kayany Foundation in Bar Elias town, in the Bekaa valley, Lebanon October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Aziz Taher


The new school that Zahra will attend is in Bar Elias in the Bekaa valley and was opened on Thursday by the Kayany Foundation, a Lebanese charity. It educates 160 Syrian girls aged from 14-18 who have missed school for several years.

Those who manage to pass the Lebanese system’s eighth grade exams – usually taken at the age of 14 or 15 – can join the local Lebanese public school in Bar Elias, which Batoul al-Ayed has done.

Slideshow (6 Images)

The Kayany Foundation school teaches the official Lebanese curriculum, which includes science, mathematics, Arabic and English, in addition to vocational skills.

The school, built from colorful pre-fabricated classrooms, is its seventh in the Bekaa valley, where the majority of the Syrian refugee communities are located in Lebanon.

It was meant to address the Syrian parents’ concerns about sending their teenage daughters to schools for both girls and boys. All its teachers are women and it provides transportation for students between home and school.

“Education is salvation for the refugee girls,” said Nora Jumblatt, head of the Kayany Foundation, at the opening ceremony.

Funding for the school was secured for this year from international charity Save the Children and the United Nations Women For Peace Association, according to Kayany officials.

“I have a dream to become a pharmacist,” Rama, 19, who is preparing to apply for the eight grade exams at Kayany school said. In normal times, Rama would already have been applying for university at that age.

“I still want to go back to Syria and fulfill my dream there, in Damascus University,” she added.


E-Scan offers digital marketing insights

The Credit Union National Association recently released the 2017-2018 Environmental Scan. The E-Scan offers insights in 10 primary areas affecting credit unions, including lending, economics, technology and of course marketing. The E-Scan is a must-read for any credit union executive and is also an outstanding planning tool to use.

The marketing section is entitled “The Big Deal Behind Social Media.” It also mentions many of the other top marketing trends for credit unions, including disruptors, regulations, Generation Z, the evolution of marketing, highly personalized marketing, consumer preferences and the humanization of digital. But the bulk of the section centers around social media and engagement.

According to the E-Scan, there are five factors that come into play when brining engagement into your social media efforts:

(1)    Bring value first

As the E-Scan notes, “social media isn’t always about direct response…..once you’re identified as a serial promoter, people will shut you off and tune you out.” Look for ways to engage—not sell—on your social media platforms.