The US is known for its Apple devices and Asia has Samsung. Now Africa is grooming its very own smartphone icon dubbed VMK. The Congo-based startup firm founded by Verone Mankou has pioneered the first African-designed tablet and smartphone.
The company’s tablet, dubbed as the “Way-C”, which means “light of the stars” in the local Lingala dialect, is fitted with a 1.2 GHz processor and has 4GB of internal storage and 512MB of random access memory (RAM). It also features an Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread operating system (OS), Wi-Fi support, a USB port and a 4200mAh battery.
Meanwhile, the company’s smartphone known as “Elikia”, which means “hope”, runs on the Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread OS and has a 650 MHz processor. It also comes equipped with a 3.5” screen, USB connectivity, Bluetooth support, Wi-Fi, 123MB of internal memory, 512MB of RAM and a 1300mAh battery.
The Elikia smartphone costs US$170, while the Way-C tablet is priced at US$170.
According to 26-yr old Mankou, only Africans truly know what fellow Africans need. Just like Asia’s Samsung and the iconic iPhone maker Apple, VMK aims to become the best smartphone manufacturer on the continent.
Although the Elikia smartphone and the Way-C tablet are indeed African-designed, it’s still uncertain whether both devices are manufactured in Africa. Nonetheless, both devices are being sold by two giant telecom operators in Congo — Warid and Airtel.
Interestingly, Africa’s huge population and largely untapped market has attracted an influx of tech firms such as Apple, Huawei, RIM and Techno.