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South Africa Gearing Up For Sales of Its First Smartphone and Tablet

by Felix Omondi

South Africa Gearing Up For Sales of Its First Smartphone and Tablet

Photo: TechCentral Prototype of the new SA designed and -built smartphone

Photo: TechCentral:  Prototype of the new SA designed and built smartphone

It was first revealed back in October 2013, that South Africa’s two companies Seemahale Telecoms and CZ Electronics had joined forces to produce the first South African made smartphones and tablet. This has been seen as a deliberate move to end the mostly China dominated supremacy in most smartphones being sold in Africa. Despite the economic reality that producing the phones in China would be cheaper than making them locally, there seem to be no relenting.

As Thabo Lehlokoe, the CEO of Seemahale said, “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… South African factories have the capacity to manufacture high-end electronics, and so they need not limit themselves simply to assembly”. True to his words, all indications are there that the two companies may launch their first smartphones and tablet as early as this month, and will be available to consumers as soon as produced.

Mr. Thabo said that the company will be offering an option of two smartphones. A cheaper model which comes with a 4 inch display and one which is relatively expensive having a 5 inch display. Both of these phones will be running the Android 4.3 OS, but unlike other smartphones from big manufacturers like Samsung, Sony and HTC, these phones will not have proprietary Android interface. Further details of the two smartphones and the tablet are provided below:

  • The 4 inched smartphone is expected to retail at R1,200 which is quite cheap considering it has the following smart features: It will come with network support for 2G and 3G Networks, 4GB internal storage capacity, 1GB of RAM size. In terms of connectivity it will have Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. It will have a rear camera of 5 MP, a screen resolution of 800×480 and it will be powered by either a 1500 mAh or 1700 mAh battery.
  • The 5 inched smartphone will retail at about R2,500. Featuring a Dual Core 1.5 GHz processor, 4 GB internal storage which can be expanded up to 32 GB via microSD card. An LCD Display with capacitive-touch feature and a screen resolution of 960×540 pixels. It will also feature a 5MP rear-camera and a 2MP front-camera. It will support 2G and 3G Network up to a maximum of 21.1Mbit/s. It will also have an FM Radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and will be powered by a 2250 mAh battery.
  • The tablet will have a Quad Core 1.2 GHz Cortex A7 Processor, backed by 1GB RAM, the internal storage capacity is said could be either 4GB or 16GB. Details on internal storage capacity are yet to be finalized.  It will have an impressive screen with a resolution of 1280×800, will have a mini-HDMI port, the pair cameras on this tablet will have the same specifications as of the 5 inched smartphone mentioned above. It will have a SIM-card slot, weigh in at about 580g and powered by an 8600 mAh battery.

Both the 4 and 5 inched smartphones are expected to be Dual SIM, Dual Standby smartphones to address the challenges mostly facing prepaid SA subscribers of high charges by service providers. Mr. Thabo said the names of the devices will be announced to the general market when they are being officially launched in the market. This move by SA has many South Africans, the rest of Africa and the world at large eagerly waiting.

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