Nokia still controls over 90% of the market share of low-end phones; the mulika mwizis. If you need to buy a phone for a (aged) relative living in the rural area, you’d buy a Nokia. In fact, your first phone was probably a Nokia. Nowadays, I don’t see cheap Motorolas very much. I think Nokia and Samsung are the only ones releasing low-end phones into the market. Let’s not forget counterfeit subquality Chinese phones.. with the CCK directive to eliminate these phones from the market, the next alternative for cheap quality phones is Nokia. If your phone gets stolen and before you get enough money to buy your next phone, you’d probably buy a mulika mwizi.
The phones are called a mulika-mwizi because they have a torch.. which you can use to locate candles on the days of frequent power outages.
Nokia 1200.. an example of a mulika mwizi
If you are reading this blog, you are probably among the earliest adopters of technology so the buzzword ‘smartphone’ is all you look for. However, majority of the Kenyan population, mostly in the rural areas, have no idea what a smartphone is and don’t want to know. (Or they may want to know.. who wants to do research? Any i-Hub researcher reading this? What do people in Kenya rural know about smartphones and are they interested?)
Battery Life & Camera(sometimes) & Ease of Use
Again with access to electricity in rural areas still a challenge, Nokia phones have a reputation for long battery life. I don’t know how long it will take for Kenya to have a widely distributed, reliable supply of electricity but in the meantime, a phone that has a long battery life is still an asset.
Even in the cities and major towns, power outages are still an issue.
Generally speaking, Nokia cameras are better in comparison to other phones.. like Huawei Ideos for instance. I hear the N8 with its 8MP camera is awesome. (Been told it’s actually 12MP. I know digital cameras with less resolution)
Nokia phones have the easiest interface to use. Perhaps because we are already used to them since most of our introductory phones were Nokias.
There are a number of Nokia shops in town where you can take your phone for repair if it has issues. Nokia also established a VIP customer care center where I hear you are served coffee and snacks as you wait to be served. Nokia is the only phone company whose marketing manager I know personally, the lovely Dorothy Ooko. Even the general manager Kenneth Oyolla is friendly and professional.
If my Samsung developed issues, I wouldn’t know where to go… maybe the shops are around and I just haven’t Googled for them.
P.S. If you are wondering what Nokia did for the hunger crisis.. they gave a total of 26M towards the effort. They just didn’t shout about it to the rooftops.
Support of Local Developers
Nokia recently trained a number of young developers to make apps for its ovi store. They gave them an allowance during the training, and provided all the support they needed.
In addition, Nokia has been providing free marketing for apps by local developers. You wake up one morning to find your app on the billboard, how awesome is that? If you’re a developer that is. Among the billboards I’ve seen is the apps for Around Me (for places around you), Tell a Secret (duh, for telling secrets) and CDF Monitor App.
Okay, so everyone is talking Android. Every smartphone being released into the market is running on android, except the iPhone of course.
Nokia will be moving to Windows Phone OS. In a sea of android, a Win Phone will be the unique one. You will stand out. Unfortunately, this is the only advantage I can see. I can’t speak much about the Win Phone OS except it is restrictive… something android is not.
Perhaps Nokia can release a series of touch-phones in the $100-$200 range.. smartphones that will give Huawei and Samsung android phones a run for their money.
We wait with bated breath.