Saturday, September 25, 2010

Google launches Android Market in Kenya, Huawei releases cheapest Android Smart Phone

With Google's recent launch of Android Market in Nairobi at the Gkenya event hosted at Strathmore University this month, mobile application developers in the East African region are gleaming with hope.

The mobile computing arena in Africa seems to be changing so fast, a scenario attributed to the 260 million plus mobile phone users on the African continent. Blue chip American tech companies are now scrambling for the African market that had long been ignored, a move that is going to spur the rapid development of the mobile technology sector.

It's evident that the mobile phone will still remain the de facto communication gadget used in Africa, and any business that is inclined to this fact will definitely rip big from the continent. Google recently invested in Mobile Messaging Solutions, the parent company of Mobile Planet, a Nairobi-based company that specializes in the development of wireless voice and data applications for mobile devices in Kenya, an indication that Google is strongly committed to investing in Africa.

With the launch of the Android Market, Kenyan mobile application developers can now build both free and paid applications, and sell them directly to Android OS users over Google's Android MarketPlace.

While Google awed Kenyan developers in Nairobi, Chinese technology firm Huawei launched a competitively priced smart phone that runs on Google's Android operating system. “Retailing at just Sh8,000, the Huawei IDEOS is the cheapest smartphone in the Kenyan market and is expected to deepen the penetration of Internet among the estimated 20 million Kenyan consumers of mobile phone services”, wrote Kui Kinyanjui in Business Daily. 8,000 Kenya Shillings is about 100 US Dollars, a price much cheaper than the 400 US Dollar plus price tag on most American Android smartphones.

Models display the Huawei U8220 Android smart phone 
during its launch at a Nairobi hotel.
Huawei seems to be taking a lead in the African mobile hardware sector, and this is evident with the several 3G wireless Huawei internet modems that are now widely used allover the continent.

It's now upon local mobile application developers to tap into the mobile computing market before foreign players take control of the entire sector.


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