Microsoft and Huawei partner to sell low-cost Windows smartphone in Africa

6 Feb 2013

4Afrika Windows Phone 8. Image via Huawei

Microsoft is teaming up with Chinese telecoms technology giant Huawei to launch a new low-cost Windows phone that has been designed specifically for use in Africa.

The device, called the Huawei 4Afrika, has been launched as part of Microsoft’s new 4Afrika initiative in which it plans to bring out a range of smart devices for the African continent to help boost mobile accessibility.

Microsoft is aiming to get a stronger hold on the growing smartphone market in Africa.

Via the 4Afrika initiative, Microsoft has set itself the task of introducing tens of millions of smart devices to young people in Africa, as well as helping 1m African SMEs get online.

“We believe there has never been a better time to invest in Africa and that access to technology – particularly cloud services and smart devices – can and will serve as a great accelerator for African competitiveness,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, in a statement.

The Huawei 4Afrika Windows Phone 8 will initially be available in Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa later this month.

It will come in blue, red, black, and white. According to a report in The New York Times, the phone will cost US$150.

The phone will come preloaded with select applications designed for Africa and will connect to a customised store featuring apps, including those built by African developers.

The handset is a customised version of the Huawei Ascend W1, which was launched at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The smartphone is 10.15 mm thick and features a 4-inch touchscreen with Zero-Gap Touch technology.

According to Huawei, the phone features power-saving technology to provide up to 420 hours of standby time and up to 560 minutes of talk time on 3G.

The phone includes a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera and VGA front camera.

“We will be bringing leading technology within reach for more people in Africa, thereby giving them access to a world of new opportunities,” said Peter Hu, managing director of Huawei for Eastern and Southern Africa. 

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic