First African-Designed Smartphone And Tablet Launched

A new dawn has emerged for Africa as Congolese entrepreneur Verone Mankou has become the first African to design a smartphone and tablet.

The products which has been officially launched, are manufactured in China.

Makou’s company VMK’s devices run Google’s Android software. They will retail at $170 for the smartphone and $300 for the tablet.

While speaking at the Tech4Africa conference in Johannesburg, Mr Mankou said:

“Only Africans can know what Africa needs,”

“Apple is huge in the US, Samsung is huge in Asia, and we want VMK to be huge in Africa” he added.

The tablet offers wi-fi connectivity and four gigabytes of internal storage. Its name, Way-C, means “the light of the stars” in the local Lingala language.

The smartphone has rear and forward facing cameras and a 3.5in (8.9cm) screen.

There are plans to sell the devices across 10 other West African countries as well as Belgium, France and India.

Mankou said he hoped to launch a cheaper tablet for students next year.

The devices will come up against several already well-established and popular brands.

Most notably, Blackberry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) has a significant presence on the continent, despite flagging sales in the western market.

Popular too are handsets from Nokia which is working closely with Facebook to grow African’s interest in both mobile communication and social networking.

However, there is an increasing desire among African communities to support homegrown products, spurred on by fledgling technology scenes in various cities across the region.

The Herald NG

The Herald NG is a leading newspaper in Nigeria at the forefront of the digital revolution.

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