By Tare Youdeowei
THE average Nigerian seeking to purchase a mobile phone does so for numerous reasons besides making calls and sending text messages. Being a clime where laptops or personal computers are not quite within arm’s reach, mobile phones serve dual functions for Nigerians. Battery life, durability, speed and memory capacity are topmost on the minds of consumers but money knocks all others off. Hence, the need for pocket friendly and customer satisfying smart phones.
In this light, Google is set to launch an affordable mobile device for the Nigerian market on September 2017, as announced by Chief Executive Officer, Google, Sundar Pitchai, during the Google for Nigeria event.
Produced by Japanese smart phone brand, Freetel, the ICE 2 smart phone will go on sale for N13,000 (about $40) and six distinct features are expected;
- Google Play Protect: The ICE 2 smart phone will be the first device equipped with Google Play Protect, a new security software which continuously works to keep one’s device, data and apps safe. It actively scans your device and is constantly improving to ensure you have the latest in mobile security so users can rest easy.
2.Android 7.0: The ICE 2 smart phone will run on Android 7.0, one of Google’s most recent Android operating system which boasts of a suite of impressive features including the ability to use two or more languages at a time, as well as the ability to switch between apps with a double tap, and run two apps side by side. In addition, the device will come pre-loaded with the latest Google apps. Vice President, Product Management at Google, Cesar Segunutpane disclosed that: “Android is the largest tech ecosystem in the world today. In nine years, it grew from one phone to 2billion smart phones across the world. The ICE 2 device comes with all Google apps and will start shipping in September.”
3.MTN apps-enabled: As disclosed by Google, the company is also working in partnership with MTN on the ICE 2 smart phone. While speaking at the Google for Nigeria event,Segunutpane highlighted the fact that Google has continued to work with partners and OEMs to develop devices for Africans, especially Nigerians, noting that the ICE2 is being rolled out in partnership with MTN. For prospective users of the device, the foregoing means access to some of the latest MTN apps and special data bundles.
4.Japanese Quality: Designed for the Nigerian market, the ICE 2 smart phone is one of the devices from the stable of Japanese brand, Freetel. Others include the ICE 2 Plus, ICE 3 LTE and Priori 4. Japanese products are generally associated with good quality – a factor that will go a long way to assuage some of the fears expressed by industry watchers over the low price point of the ICE 2 device while also bucking the trend of the influx of poor quality phones in the market.
- Furthermore, the device is Google GMS certified, which is a confirmation that it meets Google’s performance requirements and properly runs the Google apps.
6.Disruptive effect on smart phone market: The imminent launch of the affordable ICE 2 smart phone will ignite keen competition and cause a ripple effect that will potentially drive down prices in the market. Furthermore, the entry of the ICE 2 smart phone will encourage the influx of more quality-minded but price-sensitive manufacturers into the Nigerian market, all of which will translate to more investments, job opportunities and other benefits for Nigerians.
Nigeria, with its booming youth population remains one of Africa’s most attractive smart phone markets. However, the percentage of the population which owns a smart phone, while admittedly on the rise, has been hampered by the high price points of smart phones. With the entry of the ICE 2, Nigerians will have a relatively affordable and quality smart phone, a factor that will not only boost the country’s smart phone penetration rate but also encourage more people to make the transition from feature phones to smart phones.