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The $50 smartphone will drive mobile in Africa

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Gareth Knight, creator of Tech4Africa. (Image Credit: Darryl Linington).

The Tech4Africa “un-conference” is underway at the SciBono Discovery Center, Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown, Johannesburg. IT News Africa caught up with Gareth Knight, creator of Tech4Africa in order to discuss the concept of the USD $50 smartphone as well as its impact on Africa.

When the $50 smartphone hits there will be a massive boom in Africa, this is according to Knight. Furthermore, Knight believes that the $50 smartphone is only 12 months away and set to revolutionise the continent.

Mobile phones and devices have already penetrated the African market at an extremely high rate, which is why Knight believes that the standard desktop PC will become irrelevant – as it is an immovable and inconvenient device.

According to Knight, Africa has over 750 million SIM cards alone, and device manufacturers and telecommunication providers in Nigeria, Rwanda, Ghana and other African countries are taking full advantage of the rise in the mobile subscriber rate.

What is the $50 smartphone?
According to Knight, the $50 smartphone is a device that will essentially run a Mozilla or a similar operating system. Knight believes that the device will be built from the ground up by either an African Innovator, or brought to the market by a popular overseas-based mobile phone manufacturer.

Knight believes that once obtainable, devices like these will gain a mass amount of traction and attention across the African continent. Knight believes that the $50 smartphone is a massive untapped market and will create a huge demand. Knight also feels that telecom providers should sway away from contract bundles and, instead, charge for data in order to accommodate the $50 smartphone.

Knight also stated that: “The $50 smartphone is essentially something similar to Google’s Chromebook, which allows users to obtain the content and apps that they see fit.”

Cost effective
The meat of the device should essentially feature components that are inexpensive; however, still meet the minimum requirements that drive feature driven smartphones. In a perfect world the $50 smartphone would feature one single chip that could run the device in order to reduce cost.

With African booming, especially when it comes to the mobile market, the $50 smartphone can become a vital and essential part of the growing the African mobile market.

Darryl Linington

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