I have often said that a tablet made for Nigeria should incorporate 3G. My opinion was that a Wi-Fi only tablet won’t be a big hit in Nigeria and I had my reasons for saying that. I will let you in on my reasons in a moment.
There are quite a number of people I have spoken with offline that do not know that Nigerian branded tablets are available. What is responsible for this? I was interacting with the co-founder of Vantium Nigeria Ltd earlier today and he told me that most of the people on the street do not know about the existence of these tablets.
Vantium isn’t the only company that is building a tablet for Nigeria. I got a tip from a reliable source that Vantium may be getting ready to make a phone designed for Nigeria available to the Nigerian market. People will be wondering what I mean by made in Nigeria. Apple designs its phone in the US but they are made by Foxcome in china. Many of the parts; including chips, screen and battery are made by different companies. What Apple makes is the OS and the design of the phone. Apple doesn’t make the phone in its entirety.
When I speak of a made in Nigeria phone or tablet, I am not refering to phone made 100% in Nigeria from ground up. The design and the modelling of the OS may be made by the Nigerian company, but they will source for the parts and also get it built from a company out of Nigeria.
Encipher is another Nigerian company that is building a Nigerian tablet. Although I am yet to spot one or try one myself, Giga Om, a foreign blog profiled them and CNN also wrote about them. I wonder why it is so difficult for me to see a product that has this kind of wide publicity. Recently, Encipher made an announcement that people can now make order for the Inye 2 at $250. I spoke with Saheed adepoju, co-founder of Encipher, makers of Inye tablet. He told me that they have sold 100 unit of the Encipher Inye 1. If you want to have a feel of the Inye-2, they are currently taking pre-orders. Saheed made it clear to me that they have started getting interests.
Why will a typical Nigeria look at a Nigerian phone or tablet?
Let me share with you the reasoning of some of those making these Nigerian phones and tablets. Saheed believes that they have certain edge over the likes of Google, Amazon and Android. He told me that within Africa, we do not enjoy last mile connection hence Inye-2 has the capabilities of 3G which the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire doesn’t have. He further shared with me that they have been innovating and building new product to take advantage of the growing tech trends and also adding partners which resonate with their mission of preserving and expressing cultures using technology. This would include partners working on local languages, music, movies, Cultural plays etc.