We love our smatphones. Can an African designed smartphone compete with our obsession with the Iphones and Blackberries?
While Africa is becoming a major player in the tech industry, a Congolese technology company, VMK, has launched the first smart phone and tablet designed by and for Africans. VMK has created the new Way-C tablet and Elikia smart phone both using Google’s Android operating system. The names of the devices have cultural significance; Way-C means “the light of the stars” and Elikia translates to “hope” in Lingala language.
Founder Verone Mankou of VMK has big hopes for the devices and has stated, “Apple is huge in the US, Samsung is huge in Asia, and we want VMK to be huge in Africa.”
But is this possible on a continent where in some countries, a person's phone choice defines their social status? Moreover, he authenticity of the devices has been called into question, because they are made in China and there have been false claims of an African designed tablet in the past from a Nigerian-based company.
Despite the allegations, Mankou has maintained that the devices are authentically African and has even engraved, “Designed in the Republic of Congo, assembled in China” on each product to prove authenticity. He plans to make the Way-C and Elikia affordable and available to Africans in 10 West African countries and across the world.
Join the conversation. Is there room in Afica for a smartphone and tablet like this?