Africans scramble to adapt to smartphones

Posted on January 9, 2013 03:56 pm

In the world we live today, there are desktop PCs, notebooks that are now facing extinction, smartphones, Tablets and other types of devices are either business centric or consumer-centric in nature. Among the business community in Africa, there are people who are increasingly using mobile devices in their daily operations to do transactions like payments and communication.The growing smartphone base in Africa combined with huge sales of media tablets like iPad and the popular Galaxy Tab is forcing a reassessment of best practices in IT to support the business community.This comes as no surprise to me that businessmen and women in Africa are dropping their comparatively bulky laptops for devices that are sleek and swift irrespective of their gender and age. In 2013, I anticipate that we shall see mobile technology seeping into business data and applications in most developed African economies like Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Egypt and Angola among others. When it comes to IT, mobile technology is often a challenge due to the sporadic shifts in the mobile industry. Such shifts have had significant implications in enterprise governance and management processes.

There has also been significant impact on the IT market in Africa especially in Kenya and South Africa since the vendors that once dominated the desktop markets like Dell, HP among others are being forced to deal with a more heterogeneous mobile market which is mainly dominated by working class and youths. Introduction of the iPad and other Tablet computing gadgets since 2010 have grown to become a prominent device category that has led to demise of Notebooks after two remaining manufacturers Acer and Asus announced recently that they will discontinues production.However, through thorough planning and the weighing of management options, IT industry in Africa can meet these challenges. Nowadays, mobile users in most urban areas in Africa have broad access to inexpensive yet powerful mobile consumer devices with strong capabilities to interact with enterprise systems that some people in developed world cannot get at the same price. Mid range smartphones especially Android retail between US$80 to US$300 while mid range Tablets goes between US$300 and US$500. Users of such products are more technically savvy than ever, and are more capable of working and using these devices in a business context. In Africa, research shows that users, on average, continue to utilize their mobile devices for more seamless experiences that allow them to manage their personal information, check e-mail, save contacts and utilize consumer and business applications which brings them the easy functionality of both personal and professional services. Such trend can only drive the growth and sales of the smartphones and Tablets in 2013.


Contador Harrison