BusinessTechnologyAffordable smartphones for the African market


Posted on Tuesday, 04 June 2013 18:16

Affordable smartphones for the African market

By Gemma Ware

New mobile operating systems = smartphones for less. We compare handsets for under $100.

Amid the media fanfare surrounding the New York launch of Samsung's Galaxy S4 in March, it is easy to forget that mobile phone manufacturers are also busy targeting emerging market consumers new to the smartphone race.

Analysts speak of the need to break the barrier of $50 before smartphones reach a tipping point in Africa, where smartphones under $50 are still some way off.

But this year will see the launch of handsets using new mobile operating systems (OS) set to challenge the dominance of Google's Android and Apple's iOS.

Mozilla launched Firefox OS in February at Barcelona's Mobile World Congress.

Chinese manufacturer ZTE was one of the first to show off a Firefox phone, the ZTE Open (pictured), which introduces a new search function that brings up results through websites displayed as apps.

Other mobile operating systems set to launch with handsets this year include Tizen, backed by Korea's Samsung, and the Linux-enabled Ubuntu, backed by South Africa's Mark Shuttleworth.

Choosing an entry-level smartphone is a balance between price and functionality: pay less and you get a lower-quality camera or a lower screen resolution.

Finland's Nokia continues to push those boundaries.

As well as launching the dustproof 105 with a 35-day battery standby time for just $19, Nokia has a range of affordable smartphones including the Asha 305 (pictured).

Its data compression technology allows users three times more browsing on their data plans – very useful for Africa's often lowspeed 3G networks●



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