Africa is battleground for low-priced smartphones
Major tech vendors jostle for position in booming market
IDG News Service - Africa has become a battleground for low-to-mid-range smartphones following high-profile launches of products from leading manufacturers in the last two months.
In Kenya last month, Safaricom, the region's largest mobile carrier, launched the Yolo smartphone, based on Intel's Smartphone Reference Design for the low-price segment of the smartphone market. The phone incorporates the Atom z2420 processor, includes support for 1080p HD video capture, and features a 3.5-inch touchscreen display.
Last week, Chinese telecom equipment company Huawei Technologies partnered with software maker Microsoft to launch the 4Africa smartphones. The Huawei 4Afrika phone is being touted as a full-function Windows Phone 8 smartphone, preloaded with select applications designed for Africa.
Nokia has also unveiled what it calls the "most affordable Windows Phone 8 smartphone," the Lumia 620, in African countries including South Africa and Egypt.
The smartphone market across Africa is growing rapidly, with consumers demanding richer features and services. However, the pricing of the phones has been a hindrance to many unemployed youths.
To reach the youth market, tech companies are expected to reduce prices on smartphones.
"Young people are the majority in Africa but many are not employed," said Amos Kalunga, telecom analyst at Computer Society of Zambia. "Therefore bringing in smartphones that are affordable is an idea that will see millions of these youths buying the phones regardless of their employment status."
He said Africa remains the only continent in the world that has a dynamic telecom market that cannot be avoided by any company wanting to drive revenue from smartphones and other telecom services.
The Nokia Lumia 620 is billed as "entry level smartphone" that will fill the gap after the Nokia Lumia 920 and 820, which are already available in many African markets including Uganda and Ghana. In South Africa, the Lumia 620 is available through regional operator MTN.
East Africa telecom analyst for Informa Telecom and Media Danson Njue said, "handset makers and tech firms are increasing becoming aware about devices that Africans can afford."
Mobile data and broadband technologies are increasingly being used by operators as a substitute for poor or non-existent fixed-line infrastructure in the region. Operators in the region have been forced to compete more aggressively on the provision of data services for revenue because of the flattening growth curve in voice communication in the region's more mature markets.
- Mission Critical: Managing Mobile Applications & Content Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices have become embedded in enterprise processes, thanks to the consumerization of IT and a new generation of...
- Securing Mobility, From Device to Network At one time, the process of managing and securing mobile devices and applications was fairly straightforward. Most organizations worried about one application (email)...
- Planning for Mobile Success Many organizations are seeing clear and quantifiable benefits from the deployment of mobile technologies that provide access to data and applications any time,...
- The Challenges and Opportunities of Mobile Application Development Nearly all business users now demand mobile devices--their own or company-owned--along with anywhere access to corporate applications and data. What turns mobile devices...
- On Demand: Mastering the Art of Mobile Content Management Mobile device usage in the enterprise has skyrocketed, and it continues to escalate. IT must answer to users who demand access to their...
- Technology for Everyone A Kansas school district modernizes teaching and learning and paves the way to a one-to-one program with a comprehensive upgrade of its wireless... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts