Africa’s first homegrown smartphones to be built in 2017

5/2/2017 1:51:00 PM

Johannesburg-based Onyx Connect has signed a deal with Google allowing it to build affordable Android-based Smartphones for the African market. With the support of a €10.3 million investment by undisclosed investors, Onyx Connect plans to start production of €28 devices that include a camera and 1 gigabyte of memory in 2017.

The Android and Chrome software phone will be the first Smartphone that is actually produced on the African continent. Before, Onyx produced the Nexa Smartphone and the Onyx tablet by sourcing manufacturing, logistics and supply networks from China.

Onyx Connect acquired licenses to from Google to include Android and Chrome software on its own manufactured devices. The deal will help make South Africa a new exporter of locally produced consumer electronics, competing with countries such as China, Taiwan and Korea.

Quartz reports that the adoption of low-cost smartphones has nearly doubled over the last two years to 226 million devices. To boost adoption even more, South African telecom giants Vodacom and MTN have introduced their own ranges of budget smartphones below $50.

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