Mbwana Alliy, in his widely popular article predicting Africa’s tech future for 2012 noted that one key trend will be the increased adoption of Smartphones among Africa’s middle class as well as the gap between feature and smartphone being bridged more and more.
Smartphone adoption will grow among Africa’s emerging middle class as entry prices for an unlocked phone continue to dip below $100. Nokia/Microsoft Symbian/Windows Phone and Google/Samsung Android will battle for smartphone dominance- Nokia’s strong brand and feature phone momentum will prove to be an advantage. But affordable Chinese smartphones led by Huawei’s Ideos will continue to tempt Africans to upgrade. – Mbwana Alliy
When you talk Smartphones in Africa nowadays, it’s almost impossible to ignore mighty Android, Google’s open source Operating System for mobile devices. Google has been keen on growing it’s foothold in Africa and Android has been a major contributor to Google’s efforts. Coupled with the burgeoning middle class that’s powering Africa into it’s future, Android could see increased adoption as Africans with greater spending power seek the hallmarks of the middle class lifestyle. According to an article on The Guardian:
The African Development Bank (AfDB) says Africa’s middle class had risen to 313 million people in 2010, 34% of the continent’s population – compared with 111 million (26%) in 1980, 151 million (27%) in 1990 and 196 million (27%) in 2000.
Africa has a young, fast-growing, fast-urbanising population. Many countries have benefited from a commodities boom and a 10-fold rise in foreign investment in the past decade, notably from China. Africa’s productivity is growing by nearly 3% a year, compared with 2.3% in the United States. Arguably, governance is improving, elections spreading and dictatorships and wars declining.
The following is some popular Android devices from around the African Market:
Based on the tremendous popularity of the IDEOS upon launch in Kenya, it would be safe to say that the IDEOS set the tone for the future of affordable Smartphones. According to this statement by Huawei, the IDEOS U8150 sold about 60,000 units within the first five months.
Mr. Herman He, CEO Huawei announced that, “Since the IDEOS launch five months ago, so far over 60,000 pieces have been sold and we are moving towards the 100,000 piece mark with its share of the local smartphone market at 45% in the first quarter of the year, making it the top selling device with February alone reaching 73%.”
The 3G capable phone runs Android 2.2 (Froyo), boasts a 3.15 MP camera, 256 MB RAM, 240×320 touchscreen, and a 528 MHz ARM 11 CPU
Samsung Galaxy S
This cell phone has 1 GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor giving excellent 3D graphics experience with exceptional speed. The phone carries 4 inches screen which is better in size as compared to the iPhone and other Smartphones. The resolution comes to around 800 by 480 and is manufactured with Gorilla glass which is fairly robust and scratch resistant. At the back, you will find a 5MP camera which can shoot video in 720P at 30 frames per second.
This device is also called Droid in other markets, which is seen 13.7 mm thick having an impressive slide out full QWERTY keyboard. The touchscreen comes to around 3.7 inches pretty similar to the HTC hero’s screen commonly seen in other android phones. It supports the Android 2.0 software which is best suitable for the quad band GSM and the dual band 3G support. You also get a multi touch support which is not seen in Droid in the US market. The camera of the phone is 5MP; you will find A-GPS and Wi-Fi support with MicroSD slot and the RAM as 256MB.
Sony Ericsson Xperia X10
Earlier Sony Ericsson often came with Windows, however, with Xperia X10 you can find the company switching towards the Android OS. This phone runs the Android 1.6 unlike what you see in the Motorola or Samsung Android based phones. One of the important features of this device is its interface which is a modified as compared to the other phones. The interface TimeScape which is a social networking interface best suited to access data from number of social media sites like Faceboook, Twitter, Myspace etc. Similarly, you have MediaScape which extracts a number of multimedia content in one player. The processor used in this phone is 1 GHz Snapdragon which gives excellent processing speed. Also the device has MicroSD slot which contains both the wi-fi and GPS.
This device is considered to be the best cell phone for social networking crowd coming through the Motorola’s MotoBlur service. With this feature you can store the social networking profiles online and then get them on your phone devices. With this interface you can customize all your incoming emails, texts and social messages in such a way that it makes sense to you. The phone runs Android 1.5 and has 5MP camera with wi-fi in the MicroSD slot. The touchscreen over this device is pretty small as compared to the Milestone. Unlike the Milestone, this device too carries a slide out QWERTY keyboard and a built in GPS system.