Last summer, TechCruch‘s Jon Evans predicted that in five years, “most of Africa will be using smartphones.”
Judging by a new focus on the region, now the fastest-growing smartphone market, he may be right.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Intel introduced us to Yolo (no, not the acronym for “you only live once” popularized by Drake), its first smartphone for the emerging market.
Priced at just $125, Yolo features 3.5-inch screen, 1.2GHz processor, 320 x 240 display, and dual SIM support — a featuring that’s become essential for middle-class office employees.
The phone also runs Ice Cream Sandwich and supports HSPA+ (Evolved High-Speed Packet Access — a technical standard for wireless, broadband telecommunication).
And today, Microsoft announced plans to team up with Chinese telecom company, Huawei to sell a low-cost Windows smartphone in the region.
The Huawei 4Afrika Windows Phone, which will cost $150 and be sold initially in seven countries, targets middle-class wage earners – a quarter of the one billion people on the continent.
It will run Windows 8 and include apps designed specifically for African consumers, providing African soccer results, entertainment and film news in Nigeria, and an emergency alert app for women being harassed in Egypt.
Out of 445 million mobile users in Africa, 10% have smartphones. This is expected to grow as operators continue to expand high-speed networks.