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$80 Android Phone Sells Like Hotcakes In Kenya

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the not-quite-as-tasty dept.

Android 205

kkleiner writes "Earlier this year, the Chinese firm Huawei unveiled IDEOS through Kenya's telecom titan, Safaricom. So far, this $80 smartphone has found its way into the hands of 350,000+ Kenyans, an impressive sales number in a country where 40% of the population lives on less than two dollars a day. The smartphone is the exemplar of a truly liberating device, and thanks to Android and Huawei, it has the potential to reach virtually untapped markets."

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205 comments

Ugali phone! (4, Funny)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#37116074)

Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring Ring
Ugali phone!
Ring Dong Ring Dong Ring Dong Ding
Not ba-ad phone!

It comes in one's es
from skipping lunches

It's not a bad phone (5, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 2 years ago | (#37116090)

We've been using them in Nairobi for a mobile learning project. The students get one of the Ideos phone with a micro SD card loaded with the videos, reading material and tests for the class.

I liked them enough that I bought one for my wife. Newegg sells them in the US for $140. She needed a new phone before we moved to Europe and it's been great. The screen is not too big, the camera is pretty crappy and it doesn't have the horsepower of a phone like my Galaxy S, but it does really well with calls and has better connectivity than my phone. We are on the same carrier and half the time when I can't get data, she can.

Re:It's not a bad phone (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116262)

$80 in Kenya, $140 in USA, and they're sold at around USD $270 here in México with Iusacell.. what a ripoff

Re:It's not a bad phone (3, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 2 years ago | (#37116336)

I didn't read the article - so I don't know where they got the $80 part. I think we pay $100 in Nairobi. So I didn't think $140 in the US was bad. And there may be better deals in the US. I just knew I could get it at Newegg and I like dealing with them. No idea why you'd pay so much in Mexico though. Is no one else competing at a lower price point with another device?

Re:It's not a bad phone (4, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#37116608)

The original 8150 Ideos sold at AU$199 here in Australia.

They've revamped it as the Ideos X1 and are selling it at AU$99 now (the specs are identical).

  • 2.8 QVGA (240 x 320) Capacitive Display
  • Android 2.2
  • 528MHz Qualcomm CPU
  • 3.2MP Camera
  • Expandable MicroSD Slot
  • 900/2100MHz 3G
  • Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth 2.1
  • 90grams

I bought one of the original 8150s, and have been very happy with it. As long as you keep an eye on the number of running apps, it's responsive enough and does as much as any other Froyo phone.

Re:It's not a bad phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37117034)

As someone else who has one of these (bought pre-pay for 140 on sale back in... Jan?) I can also vouch for it. Bluetooth 2.1, 802.11N, just enough umph to run most 2d apps. Only sad part was that I got one of the later non-3d SOCs in mine, hence no accelerated OpenGL ES :( Other than that minor issue the call quality is overall great, you get 2-4 hours of talk time, 6-8 of moderate to heavy app use, and somewhere between 3 days and a week of idle-time (Unfortunately this requires never triggering the screen on, so if you're a pocket-carrier like me it'll often get poked on, at which point the battery drops almost as fast as if you were using it with apps.) Other than that though, it'll run a Cyanogen port (with some glitches in the touchscreen sadly.) and provide either an ethernet interface to the device's wireless/broadbrand via USB, or act as a wireless access point if connected to cellular broadband.

Yes it is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116352)

As the other posters on the Wordpress site mentioned, the comparison is irrelevant.

The saturation of cheap Chinese reverse-engineered clones is bad for normal working standards, quality control, safety in the workplace, human decency, and the environment. It's a tale of Chinese peddlers scamming poor naive Africans out of education and drinking water, in favor of crap that won't last, and is of no practical use AT ALL in any developing country - especially Kenya..

Re:Yes it is (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 2 years ago | (#37116438)

>>scamming poor naive Africans out of education and drinking water, in favor of crap that won't last, and is of no practical use AT ALL in any developing country - especially Kenya

You don't know very much about Kenya, do you? You think "Africa" and get images of starving Ethiopians, don't cha? Kenya is the most developed country in eastern Africa.

A friend of mine at Verizon worked in Kenya back in the mid-2000s setting up wireless relays. It's not the backwater you're imagining in your head. Kenya has been expanding its telecommunications sector pretty rapidly, and (quick Google search) there's 10 million cell phone users and 7.5 million internet users in this country of 40 million people. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_in_Kenya)

Re:Yes it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116450)

Yeah! It's a total shame how the Chinese are forcing Kenyans to buy these instead of education or drinking water.

Re:Yes it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116908)

Not to mention that a phone with internet capability couldn't possibly ever be used for education.

Re:Yes it is (1)

That Guy From Mrktng (2274712) | about 2 years ago | (#37116602)

Yes, HUAWEI... they probably make more communication gear alone that the whole Americas together, but don't let that stop You from your high horse rant.

2010 financial report: http://www.huawei.com/en/ucmf/groups/public/documents/annual_report/hw_084776.pdf [huawei.com]

Also, You probably can't pin point Kenya in a fucking map, I know I don't thats why I first research a bit before puking all over the forum.

Re:Yes it is (4, Funny)

damienl451 (841528) | about 2 years ago | (#37116690)

Hey, I can point it on the map just fine! It's where Obama was born, right?

Re:Yes it is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116758)

No, he was born in Mecca, Muslimia. The rest of the monkeys in his family come from Kenya though.

Re:It's not a bad phone (-1)

bonch (38532) | about 2 years ago | (#37116394)

With its low-end hardware, this thing barely qualifies as a smartphone.

Re:It's not a bad phone (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#37116508)

If it is good enough to run flash, I would say it definitely qualifies as a smartphone.

Re:It's not a bad phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116822)

My oooooold phone ran Flash, doesn't mean it was a smartphone.

Re:It's not a bad phone (4, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#37116656)

With its low-end hardware, this thing barely qualifies as a smartphone.

Strange. You speak so confidently, and yet with such complete ignorance.

I actually have one of these phones. Based on available evidence, not only is it most certainly a smartphone, it's also considerably smarter than you.

Re:It's not a bad phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116684)

Nice try. It has the same SoC [pdadb.net] that's in the Wildfire and HTC Touch 2. Same GPU that's in the EVO and Nexus One. More RAM than the Dream/G1. 802.11n.

It doesn't have a FPU and a faster DSP like in the MSM7227 [pdadb.net]... but neither did the G1 [pdadb.net]. (Remember, the Dream/G1 easily qualified as a "smartphone" -- that thing was stupidly powerful and extensible for its time... it still is, actually.)

I think the only major downside to the Ideos is its awful screen resolution.

Re:It's not a bad phone (1)

vranash (594439) | about 2 years ago | (#37117064)

While I agree about the original VGA-era resolution (320x240? That's DOS-era VGA baby!) The benefit it allowed when first released was a much more responsive Capacitive touchscreen in place of the resistives everything up to the 300-400 dollar pricepoint had. Any android tablet/phone at that point with capacitive touch was at over 300 dollars, and most required a carrier commitment. At 140-180 street price the Ideos blew them away for people desiring the functionality of Android without the 'smart phone' price-tag. Even more so given many of those 300+ dollar phones were stuck on 802.11g and other older wireless technologies.

Re:It's not a bad phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116782)

Smartphones aren't about raw number crunching power, they're about ability. My own smartphone is currently one of the most, if not the most, powerful on the market, but I wouldn't dare turn my nose up at the IDEOS phones. I've played with one before and even if it's a bit slow, it still has all of the basic functionality that my phone has.

Re:It's not a bad phone (4, Informative)

Sun (104778) | about 2 years ago | (#37117062)

My company does localization of Android phones for local distributors. Currently on my desk are a Nexus One, Nexus S, two Ideos phones, an Ideos X5 and an Ideos X3. This does not include non-active phones I have at home. Of this set, by far, the lowest speced and weakest phone is the Ideos, of which I have two, because it is an active project. Because it is an active project, my SIM card is in one of the IDEOS phones, and it has been my main phone for several months now.

I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that while the phone IS, in fact, slower than the rest of them, and its screen IS quite inferior, it is definitely a useable (and useful) smart phone. Your criticism is simply without merit.

Shachar

Re:It's not a bad phone (1)

Sun (104778) | about 2 years ago | (#37117086)

Re-reading my previous reply, it may not have been clear. The two Ideos phones are the U8150 sold in Kenya. In addition to them, I have a U8800 (Ideos X5) and a U8510 (Ideos X3).

Shachar

Re:It's not a bad phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116490)

CRAP BATTERY... MY SYMBIAN S60V3 NOKIA C5 IS WAY FAR OFF IT. The major beneficiary wrecking monies out is the data provider Safaricom Kenya, a subsidiary of Vodaphone group.

Re:It's not a bad phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116548)

how much it costs here in kENYA? much cheaper than a bag of wheat or corn floor= the Kenyan stable food.
check the cost here: http://www.safaricom.co.ke/index.php?id=296
EXCHANGE RATE 1US$ = KSHS 90/= , this equates to about US$88.9/=

Re:It's not a bad phone (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#37116820)

Well about the camera no surprise. Of course it's low end, that's reflected in the price. How about motion sensors? GPS and compass? Radio? Does it have those? Not mentioned in TFA and sorry I'm too lazy to dig around Huawei's web site.

The most interesting part about this phone, as mentioned in TFA, is that it's considered a "laptop killer" in Kenya. That, plus the sheer sales numbers, indicate that they're doing something right.

Google account required? (2)

Compaqt (1758360) | about 2 years ago | (#37116096)

1. Do you require a Google account in order to use/initialize your Android phone?

If so, that would seem to present some difficulties for Kenya, or is that not required for certain countries?

2. Is the Google account locked into the phone, so that only that one user can (reasonably) use it? I mean, you can't have a scenario where different people can "log" into an Android phone, can you?

Re:Google account required? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116118)

1. Nope.
2. You can have multiple accounts signed in at the same time.

Re:Google account required? (1)

teh31337one (1590023) | about 2 years ago | (#37116126)

You need a Google account for Google services (market, gmail etc) but can set one up from the phone. And yes, android is pretty much a one user (well, email address) phone for the very same core services I mentioned.

Re:Google account required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116284)

You can have multiple accounts signed in at the same time. Mail boxes are shown separately, you can switch between them from within the gmail app (and you can turn automatic syncing on per individual account); contacts can be shown from one or multiple accounts, same as for calendar events; G+ allows on the go account switching, as does the apps market, the chat app etc.

Re:Google account required? (1)

teh31337one (1590023) | about 2 years ago | (#37116420)

You're right, you can have multiple email addresses for gmail, but not for market. There's one account associated with your phone, and you can change it by either doing a reset, or crashing some of the framework files with root access

Re:Google account required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116132)

Google accounts are only required if you want to use the google marketplace.

I have five android devices I've deving with. Only two have accounts :)

Re:Google account required? (1)

dwater (72834) | about 2 years ago | (#37116162)

> 1. Do you require a Google account in order to use/initialize your Android phone?

On my T-Mobile Pulse Mini Pink (how secure am *I*!?), it asked for google username and gave the option to create one. I chose not to, but doing so made the phone almost useless (IMO), since I couldn't use the contacts application (I didn't try much else). I think it is sort of the point that you should use it with Google services - it's not like a Symbian phone where it's designed to be a stand-alone system. I suppose this is also true of iPhone and WP to varying degrees. Whether the reader agrees with this type of system or not is another issue.

I'm not sure why you think this provides difficulties for Kenya (or people therein) more than anywhere else...care to enlighten?

Re:Google account required? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | about 2 years ago | (#37116212)

> I chose not to, but doing so made the phone almost useless (IMO), since I couldn't use the contacts application (I didn't try much else).

Erm, that's nuts. Does the contacts app then upload your contacts to Google for Calender, etc., synch?

>I'm not sure why you think this provides difficulties for Kenya (or people therein) more than anywhere else...care to enlighten?

Well, the fact is Kenya's not Korea in in terms of Internet access. Here's hoping they catch up.

Secondly, an account requires a password, right? It's basically just making it more complicated than necessary for folks just getting started with mobile telephony.

Re:Google account required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116250)

Erm, that's nuts. Does the contacts app then upload your contacts to Google for Calender, etc., synch?

Yes, however there are many third-party dialer apps. CyanogenMod doesn't use the stock dialer for example.,

Re:Google account required? (4, Informative)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 2 years ago | (#37116270)

People in Kenya aren't just getting started with mobile telephony. Getting smart phones may be a little newer for many but many, many people have been using cell phones for a while. A password is not a big issue. In fact they are already used to being more secure with their phones as many people have been using services like M-PESA to pay bills and store funds. In a number of ways the typical Kenyan is more mobile phone savvy than the average American.

Wouldn't be hard (not flamebait) (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#37116710)

You did say "average American". The mere fact that Americans put up with their somewhat backwards mobile phone system instead of marching in Washington demanding change they can believe in shows that the average is not particularly knowledgeable.

Kenyans...when the UK went decimal currency with much moaning and groaning, a retired District Inspector explained how Kenya went metric. The DIs went down the market early with new sets of weights and measures, conversion charts and handouts. They sat down with the market traders and explained the new system, that it was simpler than the old one, and how it worked. The traders converted their prices. By lunchtime the market was running on metric.

An education system that prioritises arithmetic and language skills, and a country where education is seen as opening avenues, can have a lot going for it.

Re:Google account required? (1)

dwater (72834) | about 2 years ago | (#37116298)

> Does the contacts app then upload your contacts to Google for Calender, etc., synch?

I chose not to enter an account, so, no, it didn't; but I suppose that's what would happen if I had.

> Well, the fact is Kenya's not Korea in in terms of Internet access. Here's hoping they catch up.

Fair enough about internet access (while *nowhere* is Korea in [in] terms of Internet access) - though I had heard that most people use their phones (Nokia, mostly) for internet access in such countries, so perhaps it fits in quite well, and I guess they demand less too.. Having said that, I have no data...

I don't think a password would be a problem. It might also be argued that they are starting from nothing (presumably) so have an advantage over some of us who are used to *not* having to create an account and enter a username/password, just to use a phone (fully). On the other hand, Nokia phones are quite popular in such places, so perhaps they also find this an issue.

Oh, I don't know...

Re:Google account required? (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | about 2 years ago | (#37116818)

> while *nowhere* is Korea in [in] terms of Internet access

One would expect Korea to be Korea, I'd say.

Re:Google account required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37117020)

It seems to me that OP, in his attempt to incite some righteous fury against more developed countries somehow exploiting the Kenyans, is in fact coming off as incredibly patronising. I don't think creating a password is a significant barrier to entry when using a phone. In fact, I remember when mobile phones were still novel, many of them forced you to create a PIN number for your account the first time you switched them on, before you could use them (security seems to have gone downhill a lot since then), and that was in the days when you could barely fit a complete sentence on a phone screen, let alone a "create your account" wizard that will hold your hand through the process. It did nothing to prevent widespread adotpion of the technology, anymore than having to set up passwords and the like prevented adoption of internet banking or Facebook - this was all new to someone at some time, people managed to cope.

Re:Google account required? (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#37116286)

You CAN use your phone without a Google account, but that requires you do a lot of work setting it up yourself, with a replacement contacts app, replacement app store, replacement maps provider etc.

Re:Google account required? (1)

dwater (72834) | about 2 years ago | (#37116316)

IMO, that falls into the definition of "CAN'T".

Re:Google account required? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116464)

Please tell me you're joking or just uninformed. Sideloading the Amazon app store couldn't get easier [amazon.com].

And what do you know... Amazon also has Bing Search & Maps [amazon.com].

Re:Google account required? (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#37116552)

IMO, that falls into the definition of "CAN'T".

No, it falls into the definition of CAN but you're on your own. Google apps are preinstalled. If you want to use something else you can go hunt for the replacements.

Re:Google account required? (1)

dwater (72834) | about 2 years ago | (#37116560)

Like I said, *IMO* it falls into the definition of "CAN'T".

Re:Google account required? (2)

DrXym (126579) | about 2 years ago | (#37117044)

Why does it? If you absolutely must avoid google even in a device that has their apps preinstalled you can. The android compatible device spec explicitly requires that compatible devices must permit the core intents to be overridden by 3rd party replacements. That is things like contacts, browser, calendar, clock, email, launcher etc.

I'd agree that not many people would be inclined to do this (the power of the default etc.) but it's eminently doable. You CAN do it and people do do it.

Re:Google account required? (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#37116744)

Replacement market. But the other are optional. I don't know where you people get the idea that you can't use the phone's contact list or even google maps / navigation without signing into a google account.

Re:Google account required? (1)

drolli (522659) | about 2 years ago | (#37116290)

My experience is: you can use an android phone (galazy tab) without a login to google, also the contacts and the calendar work. But everything which is synchronization is a pain in the ass because it relies on the google account and the built-in support keeps market alternatives a little bit down.

Re:Google account required? (1)

dwater (72834) | about 2 years ago | (#37116328)

curious...contacts definitely didn't work on my Pink. I think that's running 2.1 or something (I forget)...what was your experience gained on?

Re:Google account required? (1)

SlothDead (1251206) | about 2 years ago | (#37116312)

At least in theory it should be possible to install a different contact apps (without market access you would have to hunt down an APK for this on the web). The nice thing about Android is that every program can be replaced since all apps are abstracted: Lets say you install an emergency button widget and in the configuration you can select one phone number that should be called when the button gets pressed: That app would request a contacts selection dialog, normally that would come straight from Google's contact, but if you installed a second contact app it would show you a dialog where you could select "Always use OtherContactsApp".

As for the market, you can install different markets, but those have way less apps.

TLDR: In theory you could get all the functionality without having a Google account, but the experience will still be a bit worse than with a Google account.

Re:Google account required? (1)

dwater (72834) | about 2 years ago | (#37116380)

Ok, perhaps it is more 'accepted' to not have this sort of functionality 'out of the box' with Android. Fair enough. I might look into that. The 'emergency' button app is sort of interesting - that's basically want I want, ie I want this phone for visitors so they can call me very quickly.

I'm not too bothered about 'the experience' without Google - I accept that they can make it better by integrating it all. I just choose to not use their services, in this case.

Yeah, I know about being able to replace applications - content providers, right? It's been a little while since I learned Android (didn't care for it - too fiddly, which is saying something since I was also a Symbian developer :/)....but it seems I am in the minority, which is fine ;)

Re:Google account required? (1)

SlothDead (1251206) | about 2 years ago | (#37116432)

Oh, I'm not saying that I recommend this! I just meant that if you are in the unusual situation that you can't have / don't want a Google account but still want to use Android it is possible to do that, albeit dowdily.
It's safe to say that in most cases it only makes sense to buy an Android device if you also will use it with a Google account. I even advise everyone to NOT buy any Android devices that lack the standard Google apps (Mail, Talk and most importantly Market), since the experience will be much worse.

Sorry if that wasn't clear from my first post.

Re:Google account required? (1)

dwater (72834) | about 2 years ago | (#37116510)

Sorry if that wasn't clear from my first post.

Seems we are in agreement then. What site is this? Odd, anyway.

FWIW, it was attempted to get this 'completely replace app' functionality into MeeGo/Harmattan too. I'm not 100% sure how successful those attempts were, but what was done should be there on the Nokia N9 (soon) and Nokia N950 (already here for the chosen few). I was keen on this because the apps are usually the only bits that are closed source and so are not (easily) fixable by anyone other than the manufacturer (in this case Nokia) and their motivations/priorities often aren't the same as the user's (ie me). I assume this is likely to be particularly true with the N9 (Mr Elop seems intent on minimising the success of the N9 so one has to wonder about bug fixing/etc), so I hope there is something in there to work with at least.

I guess the Google apps have a similar problem - ie they are closed source and so the community can't fix them. Is that true?

Re:Google account required? (1)

julesh (229690) | about 2 years ago | (#37116624)

On my T-Mobile Pulse Mini Pink (how secure am *I*!?), it asked for google username and gave the option to create one. I chose not to, but doing so made the phone almost useless (IMO), since I couldn't use the contacts application (I didn't try much else).

Hmm. My 2.2 phone works fine without a google account. You lose certain features (online contacts sync, obviously, is one of them), but basic management of contacts is fine. Could be this is a flaw with earlier versions that's now fixed?

Re:Google account required? (1)

dwater (72834) | about 2 years ago | (#37116658)

Could be this is a flaw with earlier versions that's now fixed?

I was wondering that. It sounds possible. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt there'll be any update for the Pink :/

Re:Google account required? (1)

Vecanti (2384840) | about 2 years ago | (#37116246)

1. Do you require a Google account in order to use/initialize your Android phone?

If so, that would seem to present some difficulties for Kenya, or is that not required for certain countries?

Forget requiring a google account wouldn't these require a "Cell Tower"? How many of those are in Kenya? ;)

Actually, I think Nairobi is fairly modern with over 3 million people.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nairobi_NIGHT.jpg [wikipedia.org]

Re:Google account required? (1)

oobayly (1056050) | about 2 years ago | (#37116918)

When a mate of mine went to Kenya for his honeymoon he kicked himself for not bringing his mobile (would have been cheaper roaming on Vodafone than using hotel phones). From what he said Kenya appear to have decided not to create the expansive wired telecoms network we're used to and went straight to mobile telecoms.

Re:Is it for you/ (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 2 years ago | (#37116742)

1. Do you require a Google account in order to use/initialize your Android phone?

Do you? I don't. Never have. Using a Google account gave you access to various optional extras such as syncing your calendar and your contact list, accessing gmail, and downloading items from the Google Marketplace. Beyond that having a Google account is completely optional for the full function of your phone, even doing Google searches and using Maps / Navigation.

As for initializing the phone, what's that? Is that something that prevents you using a phone without doing something first like hooking it to a computer or signing up to some company? If so I've never seen it, not on my past HTC phones, nor my current Samsung. What a strange concept.

Re:Google account required? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#37116832)

I happened to have a Google account already but I don't recall I needed to enter my credentials until I tried to use Google's Market. Yet now my password is stored in the phone - it won't display but anyone can access my account from that phone without the need of an extra password.

hotcakes? (1)

dwater (72834) | about 2 years ago | (#37116112)

Are they popular in Kenya? I wouldn't have thought so...

Re:hotcakes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116142)

Are we making fun of hungry kenyans now?

Re:hotcakes? (1)

quenda (644621) | about 2 years ago | (#37116184)

Are we making fun of hungry kenyans now?

No, but I'll make fun of that awful bland corn-mash that passes for regular food in Kenya.
You'd think anything that is not ugali would sell well. No wonder they are so skinny.

Re:hotcakes? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 2 years ago | (#37116154)

Can you name a single hotcake multination corporation?
Selling "like hotcakes" is apparently like selling "reasonably well, but not a lot".

Re:hotcakes? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116300)

IHOP

INTERNATIONAL House of Pancakes. They are a multinational corp.

Can you eat it? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116164)

Thanks for that aid package China, you created 350,000 new tweeters and facebook profiles. You didn't want to send some food or water instead?

Re:Can you eat it? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 2 years ago | (#37116288)

It's been shown that putting cell phones in the hands of people in developing countries is a way to really improve their well being. I'd say that this is much better than sending over water or food.

Re:Can you eat it? (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 2 years ago | (#37116442)

The article lists a number of applications that would be very beneficial to the people who receive them, from medical apps to those which improve agricultural productivity (precision agriculture.)

Re:Can you eat it? (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#37116752)

Nonsense! Kenya has 40m people, 350,000 people is less than 1% of the population. And it's the richer 1% at that, since they can afford the phones. Even if you gave some phones to the poorer sections of the population, they'd sell them for food and other more immediately useful things. And who do you think would buy the phones off of them? People from the richers sections of course.

So this is just well off Kenians buying the latest trendy phone. Nothing to see here. In fact, chances are that the 350k phones already sold are a substantial fraction of the total market capacity for smartphones in the country. The other half is probably iPhones.

Thought experiment time. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37117084)

Gitonga is a self-employed Kenyan farmer. He takes out a loan and invests in an $80 phone. He can now reach a larger market and increases his annual gross income by $300.
Richard is an American business owner. He takes out a loan and invests $80k in his truck fleet. He can now reach a larger market and increases his annual gross income by $300k.
Apparently, one of these two men inherently dumber than the other by merit of being black.

what kind of data plans do they have there? (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 2 years ago | (#37116174)

Never mind the phone cost; the cost of data, if billed at U.S. rates, would be something only a fairly small percentage of the Kenyan population could afford. Do they have much lower data rates?

Re:what kind of data plans do they have there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116238)

5 to 6 dollars for 500 Meg which allows you to do a lot on an Android phone.

Re:what kind of data plans do they have there? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 2 years ago | (#37116294)

There are a lot of services that don't require a data plan. Google has been one player that has developed services that rely only on SMS.

Re:what kind of data plans do they have there? (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 2 years ago | (#37116448)

The marginal cost of US infrastructure is actually higher, since both labor and land cost more in the US.

Re:what kind of data plans do they have there? (1)

dwater (72834) | about 2 years ago | (#37116692)

I would guess they wouldn't bill at US rates :

http://misterfix.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/yu-kenya-internet-data-bundles-pricing/ [wordpress.com]

It seems like 1000KSHS is about 10USD - of course, I've not too much idea about cost of living there, so it's not very easy to compare.

I found this too : "Mobile data subscriptions account for 99 percent of all Internet access in Kenya"
http://www.ictworks.org/news/2011/07/14/mobile-data-subscriptions-account-99-percent-all-internet-access-kenya [ictworks.org]

Re:what kind of data plans do they have there? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116888)

Almost all phone expenses in Kenya are pay-as-you-go, and at more affordable rates than the USA.

food vs phones (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116208)

They beg for food and yet they have enough money to buy smart phones.

Re:food vs phones (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116346)

Americans beg for welfare and yet they have enough "money" (read: credit) to buy SUVs, Macs, iPhones, $2000 TVs, beer, crack, and fast food.

Bad article (-1, Flamebait)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#37116224)

That was one of the most fawning, drooling-fanboi articles I've seen in a long time. I think the subject could've been much more interesting if the writer could let up on beating the Android fan-drum.

I'd have been interested in learning how these people making less than $2/day are paying for cell service, for one thing. I'd also like to know what apps they're actually using, rather than "here's what may happen, thanks to the awesome power of open source that couldn't possibly happen with any other platform because they're all evil evil evil!" (Seriously, does the author really believe an app to help farmers sell their stuff couldn't have been developed on iOS or Windows or Blackberry? Come on!)

I suspect those people who own these cheap phones are using them like everyone else in the world - texting their friends incessantly, taking pictures of their sandwiches, being annoying on buses, and so on. But that's not a particularly compelling narrative.

Re:Bad article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116306)

I think you're missing the entire point. iPhone isn't relevant at all because it's not $80. Neither is the BB for partially the same reason (but also because RIM phones suck ass, especially for development).

Re:Bad article (1)

eparker05 (1738842) | about 2 years ago | (#37116558)

Aside from the much lower price of the phone compared to Apple and RIM products, there is the issue of the plan. If people in the developing world could afford the all-you-can-eat plans like we can in the US and Europe, then price would not be an issue because they would just get phones 'on contract'

The majority of phones sold in these situations are on pay-per-use plans. They get a good deal per megabyte and they use way less. Given the low cost of the plan, the upfront cost of the phone can be a major deterrent.

I'm sorry if mr '93 escort wagon' doesn't like articles with a positive outlook on android, but what the author of this article covers is indisputably a result of an open ecosystem like Android. Notice I said open ecosystem, not open-source ecosystem; what really matters is that manufacturers have easy access to the OS at a low price. This is what Android is great at.

Re:Bad article (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about 2 years ago | (#37116318)

I'm on my way out the door - but google something along the lines of "developing world mobile coverage". Cell phones have been a huge boon to the developing world and are making a huge difference in improving people's lives. It's really an exciting thing to watch. I think it's also a big driver in why we'll see mobile access of the web eclipse pc usage.

Re:Bad article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116410)

Those on $2 does not use android phones. But a lot the 60% with more than $2 does.

Re:Bad article (2)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | about 2 years ago | (#37116416)

Maybe you should try to ask them or people who work with them what they do with their smartphones. If they have even 2G internet connectivity, it's not like they'd be able to, oh, I don't know, find markets for their goods, or send messages to family members and colleagues that, say, they have a customer for something that's back at home or such. What do you do with your basic electronic communications?

BTW, if 40% of Kenyans earn less than $2 a day, 60% are making more. And while I'm suspicious of trickle-down, I think that the ability of that 60% to be more effective and productive will probably help the other 40%, too.

Also, how much do you think cell service costs to deliver?

Re:Bad article (1)

nzac (1822298) | about 2 years ago | (#37116452)

(Seriously, does the author really believe an app to help farmers sell their stuff couldn't have been developed on iOS or Windows or Blackberry? Come on!)

It could be done but i suspect it would have more difficult.
Apple would not have liked it it it would hurt the iPhone image and banned it wanting 30 percent commission on sales. Who can feel exclusive owning a phone that poor people in Kenya can afford.
They probably didn't do it in C++ but native development could overcome the poor specs on the phone.

If the government and china subsided the phone towers, limit coverage and they are still on standard 3g and allowing it to be operate a marginal loss then you can start to charge less. 350k is only 1 percent of the population.

Re:Bad article (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | about 2 years ago | (#37116460)

>>I'd have been interested in learning how these people making less than $2/day are paying for cell service, for one thing.

They're not. Probably. Though it hasn't stopped some idiots on here claiming Google is evil for taking away these poor peoples' water and food.

There's 10 million people with cell phones in Kenya. While this sort of takes away from the breathless "Android is the new Gods Must Be Crazy" theme of the article, there's actually a large telecommunications industry in Kenya.

Re:Bad article (2)

theolein (316044) | about 2 years ago | (#37116494)

You're an ignorant cunt, but at least you're a slashdot faithful who didn't bother to RTFA. Of course they could develop apps for iOS in Africa, and in fact they do, but an iPhone costs a fuck of a lot more than a cheap Chinese Android device does. Developing for Android is also free.

As for how they pay for their phones, do a bit of reading. Google it.

Doctorow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116272)

Read FTW. Seriously.

The world is changing, and we are not keeping up.

Hans

I bought a Huawei phone just recently (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116276)

It isn't too bad at all. It's the Huawei Sonic, the GSM version of the CDMA Huawei Ascend II available in the US. A steal at $180 considering its capabilities (it's about on-par with an iPhone 3GS).

Africans are idiots. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116672)

Why can't Africans design and build THEIR OWN technology?

Anybody?

Did I hear a whisper about 'IQ'?

Re:Africans are idiots. (2)

NickDB (1289180) | about 2 years ago | (#37116718)

We do you fucktard, just not in telecommunications because we have more important things to worry about.

Re:Africans are idiots. (3, Insightful)

damienl451 (841528) | about 2 years ago | (#37116858)

Well, they tried when people were peddling import substitution. Then they realized that it was costing a whole lot of money, that what was being made was of poorer quality and more expensive than what was available abroad. And the whole world eventually learned good economics and saw that it was not a good idea to try to manufacture everything at home. So, now, people in Africa are quite happy to buy what the Chinese sell them and actually put their resources to good use. Which means that they typically don't try to create their own technology.

Neither do the Chinese by the way. Most of the heavy lifting in still done in other countries (primarily USA and Europe). The Chinese still by and large take existing designs and build them to order, assemble things that were manufactured elsewhere, and make shoddy copies that are touted as great innovations for nationalistic purposes (the Loongson CPU for instance).

To be fair they're trying to move up the value chain. They've been spending a lot on R&D, but we'll have to see how that translates into results that can be profitably put on the market. But they're still very far from the technological frontier. They're having a good run with catch-up growth and it's smart to prepare for the future but, for now, China's comparative advantage will still be manufacturing for the foreseeable future. I'm skeptical that China's current political environment can sustain the kind of dynamics that are very useful to get innovation. Somehow it doesn't seem very conducive to innovation to have to worry about what the Thought Police thinks you're up to, to have to deal with bureaucrats and a very top-down style of economic policy, not to be able to freely communicate with others (including foreigners) or move about your own country, etc.

IDIOS = Pocket WiFi S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116696)

I have one of these, but it was sold to me as a mobile router, not a phone. I have never made or received a phone call on it, except for testing that it actually can make calls. (I have an iPhone...) It works pretty well as a router for the internet company I bought it from (eMobile), but the battery life is pretty crappy. I did find that you can buy extended batteries for them online, which I will probably do one of these days...

Next up -- Revolution ! (2)

martijnd (148684) | about 2 years ago | (#37116704)

An example of horrific Kenyan police abuse is captured on video and quickly spreads through a young population with internet enabled phones.

Youth violently riot -- demanding better opportunities for themselves.

Army moves in -- thousands die. President is toppled.

Likely scenario?

Re:Next up -- Revolution ! (1)

xnpu (963139) | about 2 years ago | (#37116768)

Maybe, but it would be a fluke. Kenya is not on the "5 years, 7 countries" list of the US.

Important hotcakes status update (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116786)

I was unaware not only that hotcakes sell in Kenya, but that they sell well there.
Thanks for the important information.

Ignorant bastards (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#37116990)

I am Kenyan and am actually updating this using a Netbook tethered to an IDEOS.
Most of the people commenting here are apparently very ignorant.
1) Most people are not as poor as Western media always make us to be. They only show poor people in sad situation but obviously as a growing country there is a growing Middle income who are the target of cheaper affordable smartphone.
2) $2 is quite a sum(actually = Ksh 200). The living cost are not as high as in US or Europe so stop making comparisons using your worldview as a yardstick.
3) IDEOS is brilliant idea.

BTW the iphone cost Ksh 100,000 ($1000), Galaxy S ksh 36000 ($370)
These phone are only available to the rich.

With a summary like that... (1)

lxs (131946) | about 2 years ago | (#37117038)

...you don't even have to RTFA to realize that it's not a news item but a press release.

The smartphone is the exemplar of a truly liberating device, and thanks to Android and Huawei, it has the potential to reach virtually untapped markets.

At least disguise the PR language to make it look like real journalism guys!

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