By Toneo T Rutsito
All along i would have thought Microsoft will only consolidate its position in the mobile phone industry with seriously coordinating with its erstwhile partner Nokia, but it seems they have gone a step further in their campaign and probably looking East too.
According to IT Web Africa, The Global software maker Microsoft and Chinese telecommunications equipment company Huawei are today launching a Windows Phone 8 smartphone targeted at the African market.
The ‘low-cost’ device, dubbed Huawei 4Afrika, is to be unveiled at events in Johannesburg, Abidjan, Lagos, Nairobi and Cairo today.
Meanwhile, the device, which comes preloaded with selected applications ‘designed for Africa’, is planned to available at launch in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Angola and Côte d’Ivoire.
The launch forms part of Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative, a programme planned at getting ‘millions’ of Windows Phone-based smart devices in the hands of young Africans.
The Huawei phone will be targeted at university students, developers and first-time smartphone users, Microsoft says in a statement published on its website.
Upskilling, providing faster internet, support for SMEs and an AppFactory
The 4Afrika Initiative further plans to bring a million African small and medium-sized enterprises online, train 100 000 skills, and help an additional 100 000 recent graduates develop “employability skills”.
75% of graduates trained are planned to be placed in jobs by Microsoft.
And the software giant has announced a pilot project with internet service provider Indigo Telecom to deliver ‘low-cost, high-speed’ wireless broadband in Kenya.
The plan involves the use of solar-powered base stations and television white-spaces spectrum.
A similar spectrum project could be unveiled in the rest of East Africa and Southern Africa in coming months, says Microsoft.
“These pilots will be used to encourage other African countries to accelerate legislation that will allow this TV white-space technology to deliver on the promise of universal access for Africa,” Microsoft says in a statement.
In addtion, Microsoft is to launch its ‘SME Online Hub’, which will first be available in South Africa and Morocco on the continent.
Free Microsoft products and services are to become available to small and medium enterprises on the continent via this hub. Microsoft says it further plans to offer free domain registration for a year. Tools to help build websites are also set to become available for free from Microsoft.
To cap it off, the software giant is to also launch its ‘AppFactory’, which lets the public submit requests for Africa-relevant Windows Phone and Windows applications. These requests will be put to a public vote and the most popular ideas will be assigned development resources.
Centres for this cause are to be unveiled in South Africa and Egypt.