Posted by: Bruce Howe, general manager of Nokia East Africa
The Kenyan market has shown phenomenal growth in the use of mobile phones and particularly smartphones. Data from the GSM Association shows that the smartphone market is growing at 40% per annum and that this growth will continue up to 2017. The availability of cheaper smartphones will allow segments of the population that are currently not connected via mobile broadband to incorporate internet browsing in their day-to-day life.
This presents a very exciting opportunity, in Kenya and across the African continent. Today, we are launching Nokia Lumia 620, the third and most affordable in Nokia’s range of Windows Phone 8 smartphones, to the East African market. Alongside the flagship Nokia Lumia 920 and mid-range Lumia 820, which were announced earlier this month, the Nokia Lumia 620 offers a fun and youthful appeal at a highly competitive price.
Affordability remains a key issue when it comes to smartphone adoption on the continent. Through our partnership with Safaricom, we are able to package the Nokia Lumia 620 with great data offers, which ensures we are giving the market great value for money. The Windows Phone 8 operating system brings with it capabilities of its own – allowing individuals to do a lot more with their phones and enabling mobility in their every-day life and work.
If we look at the increase in productivity in Kenya, relating specifically to an increase of mobile enabled workers, in conjunction with making more smartphones available on the continent, it is not only a step in the right direction of driving up productivity, but will create other opportunities as well.
Our goals in Kenya are very much in line with Microsoft’s recent announcements around Microsoft 4Afrika – by making more smart devices available to the African market we are driving local innovation, allowing for more entrepreneurship and enabling people to play an active role in growing the African economy.
We are already seeing local apps being developed for Africans, by Africans. Feature phones have always been a priority for us and as we now see both feature and smartphones becoming more accessible. We are working closely with the Microsoft developer teams to ensure that Windows Phone 8 is supported in the African markets, with apps that are relevant and make a difference in our every-day lives.
Some examples of these are:
- Chem Calc - an educational tool that can be used by chemistry students and laboratory technicians to perform chemistry based arithmetic calculations - http://store.ovi.com/content/321872
- Healthy recipes - an illustrated cook book providing healthy local recipes - http://store.ovi.com/content/178468
- Zuru - a one stop navigation application for local tourists interested in exploring the beautiful country of Kenya - http://store.ovi.com/content/120087
Then there is also Nokia City Lens, an augmented reality application which allows individuals to use the amazing maps of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda to look at integrated points of interest. It allows you to navigate to key venues, give feedback, add photos, do reviews and make personal comments.
This is not a case of force-fitting global applications in the hope of meeting local demands – we are actively engaging our developer communities and partners such as Microsoft to meet local needs. We are asking Kenyans to do things differently – engage, develop and do business that makes a difference.