There are many reasons to love and hate Sasai, the new social media app to launch in Zimbabwe, below is an In-depth analysis of the product, just before it officially hits the market.
This week on the 1st of August, Cassava Fintech International, the parent company of Cassava Smartech Zimbabwe, will launch their first-ever social media application, aptly dubbed Sasai, you can download it here, and here is what you need to know first.
Whenever I hear about a new app launch, I get excited to know what it really does and what it achieves before it becomes yet another app I simply downloaded to waste my phone memory.
What problem exactly is the app going to solve? If it can`t answer that question, well it may as well occupy google servers not my phone, and if it ticks those checks well, I’m persuaded to download that app and see it to myself if what I already have is not serving the same purpose and save myself the stress of duplication.
Before I dig deeper into the technical know how and my experience with this app, I would certainly recommend it as an intuitive, futuristic application, which has serious potential to revolutionize the sector. The developers though need to go back and keep working on polishing the product after launch, so that it will captivate the consumers for the longest of times.
So while downloading the app, pretty compact, its a 30MB file size which is a good thing on the download and of course a bad thing on the download as well, as it says a lot about offline databases and the potential to execute without connectivity.
My first disappointment was on the authentication page, that’s the second page you reach just after download and installation of the app, the designers send you an (OTP) One Time Password to confirm that the number that you have entered is truly yours. Pretty cool, but here is the hold back; Sasai wants you to actually go to the messages and read the text and punch it in the phone.
This means the application was not smart enough to detect that the number it sent the OTP is the same contact on the hardware, hence it must auto-complete the authentication. Anyway, I had to punch it in, it worked so well.
The next stage is a hell Nooo, Please Cassava guys fix this!
Their password authentication algorithm does not take symbols as a password input! Like, what the heck!
Most techies I know of have many symbols in their passwords, PC 101, a password must be easy to remember but difficult to write. This means to join Sasai you don’t have to tweak or reuse your old password, but rather think of a completely new one without symbols. Thankfully they take numbers and Caps, that’s standard!
Next Stage !
Like Alice In Wonderland, I landed on this page!! What do I do next?
Thankfully, the next page has the magic button, Who is on Sasai already and of course the ‘invite your friends’ option, Well done there! They also have a very smart page that even allows you to invite friends through WhatsApp, email or facebook, instead of just test message.
Social Media platforms are big because people follow their own friends and communities, Wechat is big in China because every Chinese is on it. They don’t even need Whatsapp, the same with any other social media app, this is no walk in the park for Cassava. I have to have reasons to join Sasai and they must be really good because “tagara tichitosasa” paWhatsapp.
Their ‘invite friends’ option is squeaky clean and handy!
The real big deal for Sasai is going to be its capacity to make in-app payments!
This is a big move – massive actually!
I wrote about this disappointment when Steward bank launched their own Sosholoza with WhatsApp banking, which really was not WhatsApp payments but a virtual machine responding to generic questions, which honestly you must have known yourself before even asking.
Back to the issue!
Sasai is promising In-App payments, just like the Wechat. I personally bought many items while I was in Guanzhou, China – it’s a mere QR code scan and you settle you payment, just like that.
This option is also embedded on almost every Chinese store, Ali express, Alibaba, supermarkets, and restaurants. It’s a simple scan and pay. If Sasai has embedded this option, that is quite revolutionary, and I am looking forward to this.
This, of course, means money is first deposited in a certain account thats linked to the app. In this case, Cassava will simply embed Ecocash to allow you pay, its a no brainer, but it would be more exciting if they also include Zimswitch, Visa, and who knows, maybe their competitor, then its national payments.
So the third tab on the application is the money icon for payments, Well I am not sure if this must be called payments tab or just a direct send money option.
If Ecocash reduces or cuts down the charges using Sasai, this app will be revolutionary. Give me a better reason to use the money transfer facility and voila!
The major problem with this as well is the fact that you can only make payments to people who are on Sasai, even if someone has Ecocash, the app prompted us with the notification that the recipient is not linked, hence we could not send – not so cool!
The third option on the default menu is the folder option, Sasai picks these very well, it picks all your phone hardware folders as they are arranged. That’s cool, but there is a big more disappointing news.
Sasai does not attach documents, its only transferring images, audios, and video files. Surely we can find a way around just to download PDF and possible app transfers.
Sasai also needs to enable the functionality to be able to use it when I am on my laptop. They are not reinventing the wheel, this is already working on other platforms and the coders need to pull up their socks here as they publicly launch this media product.
A WhatsApp web version equivalent for Sasai would be charming and see what media codecs they will carry.
Another feature they need to polish is the inbuilt camera capture. Using my Huawei P20, it seems the platform struggles to do landscape pictures, which even when you turn the camera, it still gives you portrait-like pictures. Instagram does this way better and is often used by many more photo enthusiasts than the original picture-taking app.
On the location functionality, they did this very well, running on a google maps platform. It’s very easy to pinpoint one’s location and send it to the next person.
However, Sasai could for now have missed an opportunity and lost the biggest social moment about location. They could have included the functionality where you shake your phone to discover who is nearby. This is a killer social functionality that allows you to speak to someone simply because they are within a certain radius, like Mxit.
So much for those still dating, I need a better reason to love Sasai.
Quickly sliding to the far right end of the app, Well done to the Sasai team, they have nicely introduced the SnapChat feature that allows you to simply scan the QR code to get contacts or save one’s contact.
This is a very popular feature to quickly get one’s contact over a busy business day, crowded function or night out function without one having to shout or make mistakes while saving.
They could have done better though by completely eliminating the need to put one’s number as the only way to register. For those who are paranoid about privacy, they would rather have a username for identification than a personal phone number, just like Telegram. You don’t always need a phone number to register.
Still on that, What the hell is that number that they have just assigned me? It looks like a system-generated tag to identify users. So why make it public if it’s for machines, I would have preferred an option that allows me to edit my own username that speaks to humans, not the hardcoded username.
On security, we could not confirm the handshake protocols running, whether or not they are in a secure shell.
However, they have brilliantly included the capacity to lock Sasai without any need for a third-party application. We all hate those ones that come in with lots of adware popping up and lowering down your phone performance.
They also have the auto backup option for your chats and it links up with your desired email. We could not scrutinize the backup file to see if we could manipulate it, which is a security issue should someone get your file.
Another pretty interesting functionality on Sasai is the capacity for video transfers, but lets talk about these in the next review.
We could not toggle around the read or received ticks as yet, but once we find our way around this, it would be interesting to see how Sasai has got this cracking.
The frame is quite stable, with few users of course on the server and also internally, understandably because the product hasn’t been launched yet.
There were no signs of processor overload, which means its kind to my RAM and CPU, and I love how quiet it is in the background. Not sure how it synchronizes updates though, again its an issue of me not having anyone on it but my test accounts.
Overly, Sasai team have come up with a product that challenges most existing apps we already have in social media and in the mobile payment space. Just like how WhatsApp has been continuously improving, Sasai has started a leap ahead even before they polish up the product.
I really wish I had reviewed this app way before the actual launch, which I believe is very imminent, because I believe its bound to take over Africa as a revolutionary all-in-one application.