Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Android Cellphones Communications Technology

$80 Android Phone Sells Like Hotcakes In Kenya 205

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-quite-as-tasty dept.
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

$80 Android Phone Sells Like Hotcakes In Kenya

Comments Filter:
  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @02:33AM (#37116074) Homepage Journal

    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 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @02:36AM (#37116090) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      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.

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @02:36AM (#37116096) Homepage

    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?

    • 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.
      • by tepples (727027)

        You need a Google account for Google services (market, gmail etc) but can set one up from the phone.

        But doesn't one need another, already working mobile phone to verify a Gmail account [google.com]? Or do the Google apps for Android handle that?

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          SMS works before the google services are setup. This is only needed if you use two factor anyway. You can use the phone without any google services if you really wanted.

    • by dwater (72834)

      > 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

      • by Compaqt (1758360)

        > 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

        • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @03:15AM (#37116270) Homepage Journal

          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.

          • 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

        • by dwater (72834)

          > 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

        • by technomom (444378)
          You can upload your contacts if you want but you do not have to. You can also link to other email accounts for your contacts as well. But yes, the best and smoothest experience is through you Google account.
        • by Sarten-X (1102295)

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

          Do you have firsthand knowledge of this? When I volunteered in Ghana (which is more well-developed than Kenya, but not by much), most mid-size villages of about 500 or more people had Internet access. No, it wasn't spectacularly fast or reliable, but for $0.75 you could spend an hour online. Anyone with enough income to spend $80 on a phone can likely also afford to go online for long enough to set up whatever they need.

          Then there's the mobile network itself. Ghana's cellular coverage was more widespread th

          • by Compaqt (1758360)

            No offense meant, bro.

            It's good that the villages in Kenya are getting on the Internet. I wasn't playing into the stereotype of Africa being totally uncivilized, but rather recognizing the problems of less-developed countries.

            And wondering whether Google requires sending/receiving a flurry of packets every time you so much as look at your phone.

          • I don't see where he said Kenya was "some remote uncivilized wilderness". He just said it wasn't Korea, to which he was correct, since it's neither anything like North Korea (virtually no connectivity) or South Korea (unparalleled connectivity). The US isn't like South Korea, either.
      • 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.

        • by dwater (72834)

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

          • by DrXym (126579)

            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.

            • by dwater (72834)

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

              • by DrXym (126579)
                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.

            • by Compaqt (1758360)

              What about Cyanogen and the homebrew crowd? Do they have a solution for this?

              I mean, phones had contact applications (they even synced with your computer) before Google wanted you to enter your info into the Borg.

              Even cheap Nokias have/had POP email without forcing you into a particular company's mail system.

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          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.

      • by drolli (522659)

        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.

        • by dwater (72834)

          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?

      • 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

        • by dwater (72834)

          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 appli

          • 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 w

            • by dwater (72834)

              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 mo

      • by julesh (229690)

        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?

        • by dwater (72834)

          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 :/

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          You can still sync your contacts with activesync and i think carddav servers too.

    • 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

      • by Compaqt (1758360)

        >As for initializing the phone, what's that?

        Well, Apple makes you have a iTunes account before you can start using your iPhone, right?

    • by wvmarle (1070040)
      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.
    • 1. Do you require a Google account in order to use/initialize your Android phone?

      As a user in the US, I can only speak about the Original Droid (which is the only phone I don't mind factory resetting to see what happens).

      To initialize the phone, no. To use the phone, no. To use Google Maps, no (although, I still get the message login failed, the message is not intrusive in the least, and I can still use Google Maps).

      To use the Market, yes (although, I can still install apps through the web if I tick a check-box in the settings).

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

      So Kenyans would be able to use the phone, yes, but would t

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

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

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

    • Hotcakes like chapati or hotcakes like mandazi? On every street corner. Hotcakes like pancakes, not so much.
  • 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?

  • by martijnd (148684) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @04:52AM (#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?

    • by xnpu (963139)

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

  • Ignorant bastards (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @06:02AM (#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.

    • by vranash (594439)
      As an American with the U8150(Orig Ideos) I just wanted to congratulate you on a smart purchase :) And regarding your prices for the iPhone and Galaxy S: The same is true here. We just also have a class of 'wanna-bes' who live in lower class housing accomodations here because they'd rather pretend they're rich than actually put in the time and investment to save up and become so. (While I agree not everyone gets the socio-economic opportunities to, the people I'm referring to were primary born middle-clas
  • ...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!

  • "truly liberating" my a...., does it come with a built-in 419 app?
    (someone had to say it ...)
  • Do they have high cost 2 year data + voice lock ins? where to get out of them you have to pay like $200-$400 for the phone.

  • Nice Picture (Score:5, Informative)

    by scdeimos (632778) on Wednesday August 17, 2011 @08:49AM (#37117970)
    I wish the media would stop (badly) Photoshopping images. The headline image of the girl holding an IDEOS originally had her holding a snowpea pod: http://img.wylio.com/flickr/130022/380/5367321226 [wylio.com]
  • In Zimbabwe it's only 3 million dollars!

    On a side note, huawei has several inexpensive android phones. My kids each have a huawei ascend that I paid $99USD for, and MetroPCS sells a huawei M835 for $79usd. Both are "no contract" prices.

    Sure, the ascend are slower than my droid2 global since they only run at 600Mhz; but they're definitely usable. I'd call them a bargain at those prices.

<< WAIT >>

Working...