South Africa’s Vodacom launches low-cost smartphone

South African telecom Vodacom has announced the release of an affordable smartphone named Vodafone Smart II, intended to attract more customers into the smartphones bracket.

The Vodafone Smart II will allow more users to experience an Android-based smartphone as it brings all the applications supported by GingerBread Android OS 2.3.3. It will include features like Broadcom 21552, 832 MHz processor and 512 MB of RAM, high-speed 3G HSDPA and Wi-Fi connectivity and a 3.2 megapixel camera with white LED flash.

“Our focus is to bring affordable smartphones to the market at price points attractive to a large number of people who are not using smartphones today. The Vodafone Smart II will allow this new wave of customers access to a new world of applications and the mobile Internet,” Zunaid Dinath, Vodacom’s Chief Officer Sales and Distribution, said.

The release of the low-cost smartphone coincides with the recent report by ITU and UNESCO on the state of broadband in South Africa, which said that mobile broadband could be the platform for increasing the number of Internet subscribers in Africa, with twice as many mobile broadband subscriptions as fixed broadband connections in South Africa.

Low-cost smartphones such as the Vodacom Smart II could increase access to broadband Internet for those who may not otherwise has been able to afford it. Another recent survey suggested that South Africa has the most expensive mobile broadband in the continent.

Other low entry smartphones introduced in the African market include the Huawei family of the Ascend and IDEOS, which have been popular in Kenya.

“This affordable smartphone will be available at Vodacom World in Midrand and other participating outlets from October 7, 2012,” the company said. Expert reviewers have commented on the product as being a good phone for the designated price but not fast for viewing media.

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