Android handset is what Africa needs
Huawei has launched a low-cost Android handset this past week at the IFA event in Berlin, Germany. The interesting thing about this handset is that its running Android version 2.2 (also known as Froyo) which is the latest version of the mobile operating system.
In addition, the IDEOS handset is pretty well featured in terms of functionality making it rival far more expensive Android handsets. The most interesting thing about this handset is that its expected to retail for between US$ 100.00 to US$ 200.00 without a contract to an operator. Considering that Huawei has already launched two Android handsets in Kenya recently, we could probably expect this model to make it to Africa in the next few months or so (we hope?).
Another important point about the new Huawei Android IDEOS handset is that its been developed in conjunction with Google. This means that its been built to pretty high standards that can be expected from the likes of Google. Its feature packed with a 2.8 inch QVGA capacitive screen, supports 7.2 Mbps HSPDA for 3G, and can create a mobile WIFI hotspot for up to 8 devices which would be ideal for rural or SOHO (Small Office Home Office) Internet connectivity in Africa.
I am not sure if this is possible but Google are holding their 3 day G-Kenya event this week in Nairobi at Strathmore University and I am willing to bet that they will announce the IDEOS as a key handset for Android growth in Kenya and the broader Africa region. I have already been asked to attend a round table session at G-Kenya tomorrow (Monday) as Google are expected to make a big media announcement and the IDEOS could be it.
Its also almost prescient that Huawei have launched the IDEOS at a price that would translate to Kes. 8,000.00 to Kes, 16,000.00 at retail in Kenya. This is prescient because Safaricom CEO Michael Joseph had intimated that he would like to see a high-end smartphone in Kenya for no more than Kes. 15,000.00 at retail soon during the recent Huawei event to launch its Android handsets in July 2010. It seems possible that the IDEOS could be just that smartphone for Africa.