Is there a Future for the Nigerian Mobile Industry?

WOULD NIGERIANS LET THE LIKES OF KOSMOS MOBILE AND OBI PHONE PHASE OUT IPHONE?

I am currently saving up to buy an iPhone so I'm sure not if it is appropriate to write this article, Anyway, stick with me. Smartphones have come a long way since the advent of the iPhone in 2007 with healthy contenders like Samsung, google and HTC; they still wear the smartphone crown. 

The question now is, would Nigerians who have what I like to call an adopted habit of patronizing foreign products to be tagged as "cool" and all social media "#goals", give  the indigenous mobile industry a chance to defeat the iPhone or at least even patronize them? I'd say no! Why? Due to a constant behavioural pattern exhibited. 

Truth is after the #buynigeriatogrownigeria movement was launched, Nigerians are still always quick to show off their foreign buys on social media because they have been brainwashed to think it makes one cool. We are not here to dispute the fact that Apple products are super awesome and for now has the best phone camera, but if we do not patronize Nigerian made phones, we cannot first of all ascertain the performance and this would also discourage producers to further develop the prototypes. 

KOSMOS MOBILE

CHRIS OMBEH, CEO OF KOSMOS INNOVATION INTERNATIONAL

CHRIS OMBEH, CEO OF KOSMOS INNOVATION INTERNATIONAL

I have always been fascinated by mobile phone technology, for me, this is an opportunity to play an active part in its evolution.

Hardware and design

The Kosmos Mobile has all the makings of a mid to high range device targeted at emerging markets. At 7.2mm, in width a 5.5 inch FHD 1080p display and a Dual SIM (LTE) capability, a 3GB RAM, 32GB internal memory (expandable) makes the phone promising; it also offers an octa-core processor, all powered by a 2600 mAh non-removable battery, a 13MP camera powered by Sony and a finger print sensor.

THE POWER BUTTON AND VOLUME CONTROL ON THE RIGHT, | techpointng

THE POWER BUTTON AND VOLUME CONTROL ON THE RIGHT, | techpointng

HEADPHONE JACK AT THE TOP | techpoint.ng

HEADPHONE JACK AT THE TOP | techpoint.ng

SIMCARD TRAY ON THE LEFT | techpoint.ng

SIMCARD TRAY ON THE LEFT | techpoint.ng

With a battery of 2600 mAh and an average life of four hours, according to techpoint.ng

The Kosmos Mobile (unnamed model 2) is a pretty decent phone all round, that you easily forget it’s still in the prototype phase. My verdict is that, despite some UX and design flaws, it holds a lot of promise.

With a planned public release for 2017, there’s ample time to make all the necessary tweaks. All that’s left now is the funding to make mass production a reality. Up to this stage, Kosmos Mobile has been fully bootstrapped. But Chris tells me Kosmos  Mobile is currently on the lookout for investors. So far, they’ve managed to garner interest from a Nigerian investor who might be willing to invest seed funding into the parent company, i.e Kosmos Innovation International

The plan is to launch 3 models in 2017 — this one I reviewed, which will cater to the high end at 70k and 2 other models priced 26k and 45k.

Chris’ long term plan is to have Kosmos Mobile “become the top mobile phone product in Nigerian and around Africa”. From all indications, he is in for the long haul. Having never really been in paid employment for a single day in his life, Chris left the UK, following completion of his first degree in Business Information, for Malaysia. There he co-founded two companies before moving back to Nigeria to found Kosmos Innovation Limited.

“I have always had ideas which I would love to share with the world”, Chris says, “and the only way to do that is having the freedom which entrepreneurship brings.”

With such huge ambitions for Kosmos Mobile, one can only patiently wait to observe how they deliver in 2017.


OBI PHONES

It’s been more than 30 years since John Sculley became the CEO of Apple, where he presided over some of the company’s biggest hits — and the controversial ouster of its co-founder, Steve Jobs. Sculley was forced out of the company in 1993 after a series of missteps, but he never left the world of tech. Sculley’s latest venture is Obi Worldphone, a new mobile device manufacturer attempting to take advantage of the billion people expected to upgrade over the next three years from low-end "starter" smartphones to more full-featured models. Obi released five smartphones made with off-the-shelf parts in the United Arab Emirates last year as a kind of test, and the company says it has already climbed to 5 percent market share there.

The phones were designed by Ammunition, the high-powered San Francisco design firm whose previous credits include the original designs for Beats headphones. Robert Brunner, a partner at Ammunition who previously collaborated with Sculley on devices including Apple’s PowerBook and Newton PDA, led the effort.

Obi will distinguish itself from competitors with eye-catching design details and better components than its target customers are used to. "Our differentiation is no-compromise, beautiful design,"

What is unique about Obi Worldphones is the role that Robert and his team play. We said, the only way we’ll go into this business is if we’re convinced we can build products with no compromise. They have to not just look cool, but be perfect in terms of fit and finish. They have to not just look cool, but be perfect in terms of fit and finish.
OBI PHONE 2.jpg

Both phones run a slightly modified version of Android Lollipop the company calls Lifespeed. At this point, there’s not much to Lifespeed — it’s essentially a custom lock screen with some original background wallpaper. But it will evolve over time, Obi says. Sculley says the design makes no compromises despite its low price. The SF1 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, 2GB or 3GB of RAM, and 16 or 32 GB of internal storage, expandable up to an additional 64GB with a micro SD card. (The higher-end model costs 78,372 Naira) The back-facing camera has a 13-megapixel camera with automatic focus, powered by Sony’s IMX214 Exmor sensor, and allows for geotagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, panoramas, and 1080p video at 30 fps. The front camera has a 5-megapixel camera and LED flash. The SF1 also features Dolby Audio with 7.1 channels of high-fidelity sound, along with dual microphones for noise cancellation. The battery is a more than respectable 3,000 milliamps.

Despite the promises made by smartphones as regards performance in their advertisements,hard truth is for example a 13mp HTC phone will not do nearly as well as an 8MP apple phone; so i can't even blame consumers and this clear cut higher performance by apple phones reflects in sales as apple owns nearly 92% of profits made in smartphone business while HTC barely has 2%. So the question is, how can other smartphone users win the hearts of their consumers in Nigeria? We have four simple ways we think they can

// Battery Life- it is no deep knowledge the sad situation of power supply in Nigeria, so a longer battery life would be a great selling point.

// Price & Functionality- Well, maybe not for you, but it is hard for people especially in these times of recession, so if you are going to make someone cough out money for a phone at least make it worth it terms of functionality relating to quality enjoyed during user experience.

// Camera- We know it will be expensive to fit in a high quality camera, but don't have consumers walking around with a 13MP camera that barely lives up to the hype.

// Operating System & Updates- Most people hardly get the chance to update their phones till they get a new one for a new experience; so when they get the phone, it's only right that a team is constantly working to better their user experience with cinstant updates.