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South Africa to develop African smartphone

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Seemahale Telecoms and CZ Electronics have entered into a partnership to manufacture smartphones and tablets in South Africa.

An example of the smartphone that will be made in South Africa (image: TechCentral)
An example of the smartphone that will be made in South Africa (image: TechCentral)

“This project is a first in Africa as far as I am aware. It’s not right that out of a billion or more phones in Africa, none are made or assembled in Africa. Some are designed here, but they’re then made in China,” said Seemahale CEO Thabo Lehlokoe.

According to telecommunications solution provider Seemahale Telecoms’ website, the company is a 100% black owned company which focuses on Broadcasting and Telecommunications infrastructure and services, and is also the only company in South Africa that is a premier partner of Motorola Mobility and Platinum VAR of Advanced Media Technology (AMT) for Passive Optical LAN for Africa.

The printed circuit boards that will be used in the production of the locally-made smartphone will be imported, but everything else will be done locally, which includes the assembly of components such as chips and wiring, housing production and the printing of user manuals.

According to TechCentral, the companies will manufacture a 5-inch smartphone and a 10.1-inch tablet. “Both devices will be powered by Android and will cost ‘considerably less’ than big-name products. Both will run stock Android with no additional overlays favoured by other manufacturers. The phone will run Android 4.3; the version of the tablet must still be firmed up,” they wrote.

“The phone and the tablet will be branded with our own brand, but we’ll also considering white-labelling it,” Lehlokoe added.

The smartphone is expected to make use of a 960×540-pixel LCD capacitive-touch screen, have 4GB of storage, while running on a dual-core 1,5GHz processor powered by a 2 250mAh battery.

Lehlokoe is a medical doctor turned entrepreneur with a special interest in ICT, having spent the last 12 years in companies with a strong ICT foundation. Until recently, he served as Vice President of the Information Technology Association of South Africa (ITA), was a Council Member of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and was active in its Trade and Industry Committee.

He was also a director of Siemens Business Services where he headed the Public Sector business development, marketing, communications, channel management and the BEE initiatives of the company under the role of Market Development Director.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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