Low-end Tablets are the top sellers in East Africa

March 13, 2013

Few months ago, a friend of mine traveled to China on official business. Upon his return, there was a notable gadget in his collection and it was a Chinese made Tablet that resembled iPad. According to him, the price tag was $200. The android powered tab performance wowed me and left me pondering whether to buy it or not but my fate was sealed when the owner said he wont sell. When many of us think of low-end tablets, obscure brands from China, India or South Korea spring to mind. Most of the gadgets from those countries usually have no warranty or official distributor, making them unpopular and unreliable especially with techno savvy class in East Africa. However, the latest Chinese and Taiwanese hopes to change that trend in East African market if the latest announcements are anything to go by.

Most of the Tablets are packed with above average specifications for the low-end section. It will make buyers skip the big question whether is it worth the money or not but so far the Tablets sales indicates buyers don’t care. The most common are 7-inch tablets that have a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU, 512MB to 1GB RAM, 8 to 16GB internal memory expandable with a microSD card, a screen resolution of 1024×600 pixels and Wi-Fi connectivity. The price tag for most of them range from $200-$400 with booming sales reported in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. When I saw his Tablet I was not expecting much. I was not expecting it to be able to run hardcore graphics and intense apps although loading them may take a minute or two. Everyday apps Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, e-book reader, education and edutainment apps as well as surfing the web are a walk in the park and many users don’t experience any slowdown using them.

The tablets are quite easy to play around with using one hand. Most all the low end Tablets runs on Android and user feels pretty fluid to use. While using a sample Tablet, I could hardly see any slowdowns, except when doing a lot of multitasking, such as installing apps while playing games and surfing the net at the same time. Such Tablets batteries, under normal use easily survive the day without an extra charge. The tablet is extremely light at only 320g, making it very comfortable to hold. It’s so light that I forgot I was carrying it in my bag for a few days. There are some downsides, however. My friend Tablet screen is not very bright like iPad and the illumination is very uneven. The camera is, with all due respect, a joke compared even with my iPhone 5. On the plus side, automatically rotating the screen content worked perfectly although the tablet always needed a moment to make the adjustment. I think users in East Africa should decide which orientation they want beforehand.

The problem I had with another different type of low end Tablet was that the screen was pretty dim and had a narrow viewing angle and it’s not a device for three people sharing the view at the same time. In fact my fingerprints on the screen were quite noticeable after using it for a while and I’d recommend carrying a screen cleaning cloth with while using such a Tablet. As for the 0.3MP camera, it is simply not suitable for shooting pictures. Adequate image quality is out of the question because the pictures are very blurry. They may not be the fastest or best looking tablets on the market like iPad and Galaxy Tabs, but the low end Tablets from China, India, Taiwan and South Korea are very difficult to get with such a price point. The Asian manufacturers have fulfilled their promise by providing an affordable tablet for first-time users in the low Income regions like East Africa and there are ripping the benefits with good sales.

 

 

Contador Harrison