The current KShs7,999 [US$86 as of today’s rate] price is a heavy discount of its original price of KShs14,999 [US$161 as of today’s rate]. Note that in non-African countries the phone is sold at near the list price, e.g. the list price in India is Rs 8,499 [US$188 as of today’s rate] while a street price is Rs 8,237 [US$182 as of today’s rate].
The original pricing was between US$100 and US$200, depending on the market and it was celebrated as the achievement of their goal from early 2010 of developing a US$150 smartphone (see the Sept’10 announcement below for both). The heavy discount used in Kenya therefore could be still a little higher than their cost.
Update: Considering all that and after PCs and cloud clients are not parts of Hewlett-Packard’s strategy anymore [Aug 19, 2011] there is no wonder that a blogpost has appeared with apt headline of Has “Wintel” been replaced by “Quadroid”? [Aug 19, 2011] in which an excerpt from a 9 months old CCNMoney article called Android and Qualcomm are the new Wintel [Nov 12, 2010] has been included. Here it is worth to cite just this part from that:
At least a dozen handset makers have brought to market more than 90 different smartphones that run Android, and more than three quarters of those handsets have Qualcomm chips embedded in them, according to a new study by consultancy PRTM.
The Qualcomm-Android standard, or “Quadroid” as PRTM calls it, is becoming a parallel to the Windows-Intel, or “Wintel,” standard that developed in the 1990s.
Like with Wintel PCs, Quadroid devices’ software and hardware is essentially a commodity — they’re very similar on every phone, making differentiation a difficult task. Form factor is still a battleground — some people want keyboards, some don’t — but drop past the top-tier of the very newest devices and the distinctions are tiny. Kickstands, dual screens, very high resolution cameras and OLED touchscreens are among the features Quadroid smartphone makers are using to set themselves apart.
With Huawei’s smartphones we are witnessing exactly this:
A slightly modified version, Huawei U8160 (see the picture on the right) is sold since May under Vodafone brand as Vodafone 858 Smart (see the specs as well where HSPA (3.6Mbps) only is indicated although using the same Qualcomm MSM 7225 SoC announced in Feb’07 and first delivered in 3G phones in June’07). It is sold at around rock bottom US$120 (22,290.00 HUF in my country). See also: Huawei U8160 is rebranded to the budget friendly Vodafone Smart [May 16, 2011] as well as the Vodafone 858 Smart review [Aug 1, 2011].
There is also a this year version called IDEOS X1 which is according to T-Mobile Rapport with Android coming soon (it’s a re-branded Huawei U8180) [July 21, 2011]:
Already released in the UK as Orange Stockholm, the Huawei U8180 X1 [also called Gaga] will be available via T-Mobile, too. Apparently, T-Mobile will sell the handset under the T-Mobile Rapport name – that’s what the Bluetooth SIG is suggesting anyway.
Huawei Device, a China-based vendor and subsidiary of Huawei Technologies, and Taiwan mobile telecom carrier Far EasTone Telecommunications (FET) on August 22 jointly unveiled IDEOS X1, the former’s smartphone model, for launch in the Taiwan market later in August through the latter’s retail network at a contract-free price of NT$4,990 (US$172) or zero price bundled with a 24-month contract, according to FET.
IDEOS X1 features a Qualcomm MSM7227-1 600MHz processor, Android 2.2, WCDMA/GSM/GPRS and HSDPA 7.2Mbps voice/data communication standards, a 2.8-inch QVGA 262,000-pixel screen, a 3.2-megapixel rear camera, video formats of H.263/H.264 and MPEG4, a dimension of 104 (H) x 56 (W) x 13 (D)mm and a weight of 100 grams.
Huawei announced the IDEOS X3 smartphone at MWC’11 as well (but only delivered since June’11, for around US$240 in Singapore and for around US$200 in Malaysia). This is using the 7225 follow-up Qualcomm MSM7227 SoC (announced in Feb’09 for sub-$150 smartphones).
Qualcomm chips kernel ARM – from phones to laptops [Feb 17, 2009]
MSM7227 is an evolution of the two years ago, MSM7225, repeating its size (12 x 12 mm) and maintaining consistency of contact, which provides designers the opportunity to further develop the existing developments. Working frequency ARM11 core in MSM7227 increased to 600 MHz (against 528 MHz of the predecessor), the core of the signal processor (DSP) operating at 320 MHz, and the nucleus of the communications processor – at a frequency of 400 MHz. As before, there are features hardware acceleration of graphics and coding/decoding video WQVGA with frequency 30 frames per second and support for GPS, but now supported by the camera modules with up to 8-megapixel (v. 5), and the realization had grown up with a Bluetooth version 2. 0 to 2. 1.
There is only on exception from this Quadroid dominance even for Huawei:
For the mainland China Market there is also the Huawei T8300 which is the TD-SCDMA specific redesign of X3 since the MSM7227 was not able to support TD-SCDMA so the only available SoC was Marvell’s PXA920/918 SoCs family available since Sep’09 (although capable of passing the rigorous TD-SCDMA tests only almost 2 years later). For more info on China specific TD-SCDMA entry-level smartphones see: Marvell’s single chip TD-SCDMA solutions beaten (again) by two-chip solutions of Chinese vendors [July 11, 2011].
Update: The PXA920 opportunity was realized widely only in September 2011, two years later than the September 2009 launch. See:First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [Aug 21, 2011]
End of Updates
This is — according to Singularity Hub — opening huge opportunities for African app development as well:
Case in point. An entrepreneurial conference in Nairobi called Pivot25 showcased some of the most innovative Android apps in East Africa. Among these include M-Farm, an app that allows farmers to broadcast product prices and locations to the world via SMS. Another agri-app developed by Makerere University helps diagnose and track the spread of crop diseases via crowdsourcing. In a nation where agriculture accounts for nearly a quarter of GDP, apps like these could prove invaluable in maximizing harvests and facilitating the spread of precision farming.
While agri-apps are well-suited for the developing economies, the winner of Pivot25 was Medkenya. It’s the functional equivalent to WebMD in that it puts a library of health information at the user’s fingertips and performs other helpful tasks like guiding the ill to hospitals. However, I have a hunch that this is just the beginning of healthcare-related apps in Africa. We’ve seen smartphones adopt all kinds of medical technology, from digital stethoscopes to cancer diagnosis, and I’m hopeful that we’ll see similarly stunning med-tech reach even the remotest areas one day. An app that tracks mosquito outbreaks or a smartphone with an HIV-testing peripheral would work wonders to address persisting healthcare challenges of the developing world. Who knows? Maybe one day they’ll be able to carry a doctor around in their pocket.
Cheap Android phone selling fast [IT News Africa, Aug 17, 2011]
When Huawei assistant director for African expansion, Wang Liu, talked about developing a cheap Android phone for the African market, he knew it would be successful. But after the Chinese company launched the IDEOS phone earlier this year via Kenya’s Safaricom, the results were better than they could have imagined.
“We knew it would be successful and thought it would take some time to get moving, but the statistics coming in are amazing,” Liu said.
According to Safaricom, the $80 Android phone has been sold to over 350,000. That is a staggering statistic considering nearly half of Kenya’s population lives on less than two dollars per day.
Liu said the key to the success was to bring the price down so it would be affordable to the growing middle-class in Kenya. When they were able to do that, joining with Safaricom was the solution to their distribution needs.
“We knew that if we could get the price down and make it cheap enough for people to get, lots would get out there because Android and smartphones are the future and people want the latest technology,” Liu said from Shanghai.
Kenya’s mobile market is booming and with the economy growing at some five percent annually, Huawei expects more and more Androids to be purchased in the coming months.
Huawei IDEOS is Top Smart Phone in Kenya [Huawei in Africa press release, May 17, 2011]
Huawei, a leader in providing innovative telecommunication solutions for operators around the world has today announced that the Huawei IDEOS is the most popular smart phone in Kenya for the first quarter of 2011.
This is also according to a report by GFK Retail and Technology, one of the world’s leading independent market researcher tracking sales data in technical consumer goods and entertainment in over 80 countries worldwide. The IDEOS was launched during the 2010 Christmas period with the phone gaining wide acceptance in the market.
Mr. Herman He, CEO Huawei announced that, “Since the IDEOS launch five months ago, so far over 60,000 pieces have been sold and we are moving towards the 100,000 piece mark with its share of the local smartphone market at 45% in the first quarter of the year, making it the top selling device with February alone reaching 73%.”
“We are delighted by the IDEOs’ outstanding performance and we hereby affirm our commitment to continue providing quality and affordable products to Kenyans”. Mr. He added.
Mr. He also said that Delivering connectivity for users’ thorough smart devices was one of Huawei’s core objectives for 2011, with the IDEOS devices designed to provide smart and efficient connectivity to deliver a simple and premium end user experience .
The success has partly been attributed to a strategic partnership with Safaricom as the main distributor and marketer of the smart phone, Google for their Android 2.2platform, and QUALCOMM for the chipsets.
Safaricom Head of Retail Morris Maina said the partnership was a major win for Kenyan consumers and presented a strategic fit for Safaricom in its quest to drive up data uptake by availing affordable internet enabled devices. The phone retails at KShs8,499 [US$91 as of today’s rate], a KShs6,500 discount on its original price of KShs14,999 [US$161 as of today’s rate]. It also comes with free 600MB Safaricom data and Kshs1,000 worth of Safaricom airtime.
“Safaricom believes that innovations and value proposition will be key in winning consumers as the market becomes increasingly competitive. We are thus happy to be in a partnership that subscribes to these tenets and understands that affordability is key in a market like Kenya. The availability and increased take-up of this device opens a new world of immense possibilities to our subscribers and greatly increases the utility they can derive from our network, the only one with 3G capability in the market,” said Mr Maina.
Information and Communication Permanent Secretary Dr. Bitange Ndemo noted that the mobile phone has permeated every sphere of life in Kenya.
“In the beginning of the 21st century, the mobile telephone was the reserve of an elite few and the gadget’s sole purpose was to make phone calls and send text messages. Today, all this has changed and the mobile phone is no longer a luxury but a necessity,” said Dr. Ndemo.
“By morphing and adopting into various aspects of our lives, the mobile phone has gone beyond its original purpose of phone calls and text messages and it now serves as a bank, a computer a radio and a television set among other things. In a nutshell, it has penetrated every aspect of our lives,” he added.
Huawei Device is affiliated with Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. and is one of Huawei’s four business units. Huawei Device products cover a wide range of series, including mobile phones, Mobile Broadband, Convergence Terminal, Fixed Network CPE, and Video Products. Huawei Device now serves 48 of the world’s top 50 telecom operators, and it has established strategic partner relationship with world-leading operators.
In 2010, Huawei Device sold more than 5 million Android phones ranking the world’s Top 5.Star products: Avatar U8850 (Flagship, high definition, high speed, super slim, 9.9 mm thick, 3.7″ LCD) Blaze U8510 (Elite, first Android Gingerbread phone, 3.2″ LCD) Boulder U8350 (Elite, the thinnest QWERTY touch screen Android phone, 9.9 mm thick)
Huawei, a leader in providing next-generation telecommunications network solutions for operators around the world, today announced the launch of IDEOSTM, an affordable smartphone powered by the latest iteration of AndroidTM 2.2 (also known as ‘Froyo’ ). The smartphone is priced between US$100 and US$200, depending on the market. IDEOS redefines the “entry-level” concept by combining high-quality hardware and software with a high price-to-performance ratio. IDEOS will be released in a number of countries across Europe, Asia-Pacific, North America and Latin America.
The ergonomically designed IDEOS provides a variety of ways to access the Internet, as it boasts downlink speeds of more than 7.2Mb/s, offers WCDMA + WiFi dual network support, and offers ubiquitous mobile broadband services. The device also doubles as a WiFi router for up to eight devices at a time, making IDEOS an all-in-one solution for a range of wireless connectivity options.
Available in black, yellow, blue, and purple, the IDEOS, with Android 2.2 pre-installed, not only runs fast, but also supports functions such as voice dialing, voice navigation, and the ability to run applications off the SD card. With more than 70,000 applications available in the Android Market, IDEOS provides a wide range of communication, entertainment, office, and financial management applications.
Kevin Tao, CEO of Huawei Device, said, “The popularity of the smartphone is one of the key tools to bringing people into the ‘Golden Age of Mobile Broadband,’ which is linked to Google’ s mobile Internet strategy.
“We are proud to have already achieved our goal from early 2010 of developing a US$150 smartphonewith an excellent user experience. The IDEOS is an affordable option, designed to lower barriers to entry to allow easy mobile Internet access.”
The name “IDEOS” embodies creativity and inspiration: the “ID” represents the industrial design-centric hardware platform, the “OS” represents the operating system as the core software platform, and the “E” symbolizes the evolution to mobile Internet.
See the official specification of the IDEOS U8150 on Huawei’s site.
The processor [rather SoC] used there is Qualcomm MSM 7225 (announced in Feb’07 and first delivered in 3G phones in June’07), with a single 528 MHz ARM1136EJ-S core and embedded QDSP5000 DSP (GSM, GPRS/EGPRS Multislot Class 12, EDGE, UMTS Release 6, 7.2 Mbps HSDPA, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps, MBMS baseband).
Huawei brings entry-level Android smartphone to Africa [IT News Africa, Nov 17, 2010]
Leo Wang, Managing Director Eastern and Southern Africa Region, Terminal Business Development at Huawei Technologies, talked to ITNewsAfrica.com about Huawei’s partnersip with Google and the latest additions to its IDEOS smartphone range.
ITNewsAfrica.com: What is the latest addition to the Huawei device range?
Leo Wang: We launched our own brand IDEOS in the African market, with the latest addition an entry-level touch screen smartphone with Google’s Android 2.2 OS and 3G connectivity. We had previously launched IDEOS in rural markets in Germany in September this year and in UK, USA, China, with Africa and India being now the next targets. Worldwide, since September we have promoted IDEOS in 30 countries, with over one million units already soldthrough local operators.
ITNewsAfrica.com: What are your expectations of IDEOS in the African market for next year?
Leo Wang: This is the first entry-level 3G smartphone in Africa that offers a true smartphone experience thanks to the Google Android’s interactivity. We expect 5-7 percent of the African market to benefit directly from this, but now quantity is not as important to us as establishing the IDEOS brand. We have continuously launched smartphones and tablet devices under IDEOS brand and we have offerings for every segment of the market, be it entry-level or middle and high income. As an example, for high-end markets we have included touchscreen devices with QWERTY, multi-point touch controls and HD video output. Most of our smartphones have Android OS, through our partnership with Google.
ITNewsAfrica.com: How do you justify Android OS as your first choice for IDEOS?
Leo Wang: We are among the top three Google partners in the device market. Our close partnership is not exclusive, but offers access to the Android OS, which is an open platform with a rapidly growing application market, something we found attractive. Also, Google branding takes IDEOS to a completely new level and ensures the device’s quality and operability is of high standards.
ITNewsAfrica.com: Will Huawei develop LTE devices in the near future? And if so, when will they get to Africa?
Leo Wang: We will launch LTE devices in the next quarter for the international markets. We have already been testing LTE and WiMAX technologies globally. In Africa, discussing and testing with main operators such as MTN and Vodacom will be a starting point.