Microsoft, Huawei eye smartphone push into Africa

Feb 05, 2013
An Egyptian talks on his phone in Cairo on February 16, 2011. Microsoft announced it had teamed up with Chinese manufacturer Huawei to launch an affordable smartphone across Africa.

Microsoft announced on Tuesday it had teamed up with Chinese manufacturer Huawei to launch an affordable smartphone across Africa.

"Microsoft and Huawei today introduced the Huawei 4Afrika phone, a full-functionality 8 preloaded with select applications designed for Africa, by Africans," said Microsoft's for the Middle East and Africa, Ali Faramawy, on a corportate blog.

While Africans have been enthusiastic adopters of mobile phones, the high cost of smartphones, which can run over $700, has kept penetration of the devices low.

Microsoft estimates that smartphone penetration in Africa is about 10 percent, while sales of the devices accounted for 45.5 percent of total globally last year according to the IDC research firm.

Faramawy said the phones, which the New York Times reported would be sold for around $150, would ensure Africans "affordable access to best-in-class technology, so they can access the information and tools they need to be active global citizens.

Huawei is known for building innovate and affordable phones, and the first in the series of 4Afrika phones will initially be available in Angola, Egypt, , Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa.

A separate blog posted on Microsoft's website showed a picture of the device that resembles many current models with forward and rear-facing cameras.

The and screen resolution are below high end models but the phone sports a fast processor and dual cameras.

Microsoft's Faramawy said the 4Afrika Initiative initiative aimed to tens of millions of smartphones into the hands of Africans and bring a million small and medium-sized businesses online by 2016.

The initiative could also prove a boost to WindowsPhone8 as the mobile operating system has had difficulty gaining traction in the market.

Strategy Analytics said last month that 70 percent of smartphones shipped in the final quarter of 2012 used 's operating system, while 22 percent was accounted for by Apple iPhones running its iOS.

Microsoft added it was partnering with Kenya's communications ministry and Internet service provider Indigo Telecom to deliver low-cost, high-speed wireless broadband access across Kenya using solar-powered base stations.

The New York Times cited another Microsoft executive, Fernando de Sousa, as saying its partner Nokia also plans to launch phones designed for the African market under the 4Afrika Initiative as well.

Explore further: States ascend into the cloud

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nokia to unveil Windows phone next week

Oct 20, 2011

Microsoft said Thursday that Nokia is going to launch phones using Windows' new mobile operating system next week, giving a major boost to the US firm's come-from-behind phone software business.

Android extends dominance in smartphones worldwide

Aug 08, 2012

Got an iPhone? You're in the minority. There were four Android phones for every iPhone shipped in the second quarter, research firm IDC said Wednesday. That's up from a ratio of 2.5 to 1 in the same period last year.

Microsoft, Samsung expand smartphone partnership (Update)

Sep 28, 2011

(AP) -- Microsoft and Samsung Electronics have agreed to cross-license one another's patent portfolios, with Microsoft getting royalties for the mobile phones and tablets Samsung sells that run Google Inc.'s Android operating ...

Windows phones to miss out on new software

Jun 21, 2012

(AP) — As it struggles to gain a foothold against the iPhone and Android phones, Microsoft Corp. is planning to issue a dramatic update to its phone software, one that won't be available to current Windows Phones.

Recommended for you

States ascend into the cloud

34 minutes ago

Seven years ago, the state of Delaware started moving computer servers out of closets and from under workers' desks to create a consolidated data center and a virtual computing climate.

Microsoft drops Nokia name from smartphones

2 hours ago

Microsoft said Friday it was dropping the Nokia name from its Lumia smartphones, rebranding following the acquisition earlier this year of the Finnish group's handset division.

Amazon's loss makes holidays a question mark

2 hours ago

Amazon's trademark smile icon is becoming more of a grimace. The world's largest online retailer reported a wider third-quarter loss than analysts expected and gave a disappointing holiday forecast.

Ericsson profit down 10 pct despite higher sales

7 hours ago

Wireless equipment maker Ericsson says its third-quarter earnings slumped 10 percent despite higher sales due to increased operating costs and negative effects from currency hedging.

Glass maker deals to exit Apple, Arizona plant

9 hours ago

Nearly 2,000 furnaces installed in a factory to make synthetic sapphire glass for Apple Inc. will be removed and sold under a deal between the tech giant and the company that had been gearing up to produce huge amounts of ...

User comments : 0