The Role Cheaper Tablets Can Play in Nigeria and Africa

Tablets and Smartphones use to be appealing to geeks only. The appeal for smartphones has grown. It is so useful that it is being used by a wide range of people, not just the geeks. It is used in enterprise and by consumers.

Apple came and changes the way Smartphone’s are made and the way they are used. Since the invention of iPhone, the Smartphone world has never remained the same. That isn’t all. They also came with the tablet, iPad. The iPad has grown in popularity and has seen some huge adoption. So many businesses have even been formed around it—the applications developed for iPads.

There are some companies that have decided that they won’t allow Apple eat the entire Apple alone. Samsung, Motorola, Blackberry, Amazon, to just mention a few, have all joined the race and are making tablets too.

The Apple table, iPad is very pricy. It comes at N100,000 and above, depending on the edition you are buying and the configuration. Coughing out N100,000 for such product is limited to a few people. How do we then benefit from the Tablet revolution?

Some of the benefits that are coming from the tablet can be seen in e-commerce, entertainmet, games, news publishing, education, book publishing and more. When you take a look at it, you will see that there are so many jobs and businesses that have leveraged on the tablet revolution and created new forms of business. The tablet has created an ecosystem of businesses that now exist around it.

Besides the iPad, we have the likes of Amazon, with the Kindle Fire that is powered by Android. Samsung has its Range of Galaxy tabs, ASUS created the ASUS Transformer [and Transformer Prime], Motorola has the Motorola Zoom, and Blackberry has the Playbook and some others. None of these companies sell Tablets below $200, except Amazon, that retail at $199. [N31,500]

Mobile technology is changing a lot of things. There’s mobile money, agriculture powered mobile solution, and medics using tablets and Smartphone. Imagine a situation that students are provided with access to tablets that connects easily to the internet. Does that not open the door to endless possibilities? They will have access to the web and some of the lasts features in mobile technology.

WISE Touch from South Africa

In South Africa [SA], a company is working on a low cost tablet that will be heavy on local contents. The tablet is called WISE Touch powered by Android 2.3. With the WISE Touch, you get the regular stuff you get on Android, and then there is stuff that is tailored to the SA people. This includes the WISE shopping mall, WISE business Park and WISE educational centre. The 7″ Wi-Fi goes for less than R1,500 = N28,500, the  7″ 3G goes for less than R2,500 = N47,500 [The localised apps are pre-loaded for free]

This is cool in that they can begin to help more SA to form the habit of consuming contents on the web via the tablet. This was exactly how it was when the iPad first launched; it wasn’t very popular until much later. My exact point is; when and if these products do gain traction, they will form a new habit of consuming contents on those tablets that are of course affordable.

With the likes of the WISE mall, WISE Park and WISE Education, there will be a new business environment for people to create a business in this ecosystem. Getting a cheaper and abundant WI-FI access will be another factor. Tablets will become a family commodity, the same way the TV has been for years. Children will be dragging for tablets the way we use to drag for remote control when I was a kid.


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