Dream Mobile is to launch its range of Africa-specific smartphones in South Africa this week, making high-end devices more affordable for African consumers.
The phone manufacturer has been developing high-end smartphone models to be retailed at attainable prices, filling the gap for a smart handset which is tailored for the African market – in both cost and offering terms.
“It’s ridiculous that people have to spend more [on electronics] in Africa than in the US, but make less money,” says Reza Handley-Namavar, founder of Dream Mobile, explaining the inspiration for the “affordable premium brand”.
“On the global market, smartphones contain a lot of ‘stuff’ because of the requirements of the global market. On the African market, you don’t really need a lot of the ‘stuff’. Removing extras can cut production costs by US$20 to US$25, which translates into more than a US$100 cut in retail prices.”
The Dream Mobile handsets have had a number of features removed – for example, rather than boast 4GB of internal memory, users can boost memory by inserting a micro-SD card, while the newest version of Bluetooth is replaced by an older version, thus preserving battery life and saving on production costs.
A number of Africa-specific features have been added instead. The smartphones feature data tracking apps, which allow users to break down how much they spend on calls, messages and data in a bid to lower costs. Similarly, a data-sharing feature allows users to share games and apps via Bluetooth.
The company has also provided a free messaging and calling app, which allows Dream Mobile users to connect at discounted rates.
Unique pieces of software boost Dream Mobile’s offering, with anti-theft software allowing users to remote control their handset, including enabling users to block the device, track it via GPS and capture an image of a thief via a front-facing camera.
While the market bears some serious rivals in the form of established manufacturers, Handley-Namavar believes there is a huge gap left by the unaddressed needs of the African market.
“It is very competitive market,” he says. “But, there is an incredible opportunity of unmet need, particularly in terms of developments for the African market.
“We are not trying to sell a phone. We are trying to create an ecosystem – pre-pay plans, games, apps – around the phone.”