News emerged in October that South African-based Seemahale Telecoms and CZ Electronics have been developing mobile phones and tablets for the South African market – and now the company is gearing up to start distribution.
“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 at the time.
IT News Africa detailed that the company will manufacture a 5-inch smartphone and a 10.1-inch tablet, with the smartphone 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.
Seemahale Telecoms has now revealed that the 5-inch smartphone is to be powered by a dual-core 1,5GHz processor, feature a 960×540-pixel LCD capacitive-touch screen, and will include 4GB of flash-based storage – all for the retail price of approx. R2 500.
The company will also produce a smaller 4-inch version, with roughly the same specifications, but will make use of an 800×480 screen, 4GB of storage and will be able to support Edge and 3G data connections. The unit is expected to retail for around R1 200.
“We are very aggressive because we want uptake in the market. We didn’t skimp on the specs. For the price, it will be one of the better devices out there. We want to encourage people, to make it affordable,” Lehlokoe said in a news interview.
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 added that they target market are users who desire a smartphone, but can only afford a feature phone device.
“We are targeting people who are using feature phones but who want a smartphone. We said: ‘Let’s give them a big enough screen to browse the Internet and read documents, but also give them a long enough battery life.’”
As for the tablet, the 10-inch version will have a 1280×800 screen resolution, Wi-Fi, GPS and 3G data connections, and front- and rear-facing cameras.
Nigeria’s Phone and Allied Product Dealer Association (PAPDAN) also recently announced that they would soon be launching two new phones, made exclusively in the Country, which was a result of 20 Nigerian investors pooling resources together to develop mobile devices that cater to the local population.
While the company has yet to release specifications for their iQ and MaxTel devices, it is expected that the specifications will be similar to Seemahale’s device – at a cost of around $100.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor