Verone Mankou, the Congolese enterpreneur whose African company VMK has designed and engineered the first African smartphone and tablet which are manufactured in China. The VMK devices run Google’s Android OS.
The African population can buy the VMK smartphone for $ 170 and the VMK tablet for $ 300.
“Only Africans can know what Africa needs. Apple is huge in US, Samsung is huge in Asia, and we want VMK to be huge in Africa.” But VMK already faces a huge competition from RIM (Research In Motion), the producer of Blackberry.The Blackberry has a significant presence in the continent despite it’s global sales are down. And also Nokia and Facebook are working together to capture the emerging market.
The name of the device is Way-C, which means “the light of stars” in the local Lingala language.
- Connectivity : Wifi, Bluetooth.
- Internal Storage : 4 GB.
- Camera : Both rear and forward facing.
- Screen Size : 3.5 inches(8.9 centimeters)
This device will be available in Congo and 10 other West African countries as well as Belgium, France and India. But the increasing desire among Africans to support homegrown product is increasing so it is likely that VMK can be successful in Africa.
Some companies were criticized for making their products offshore and then selling them in Africa with different name. Although the VMK’s website has stressed with statement, “We are somewhat offended by the disregard of those who persist in denying of those who persist in denying the authentication of our products, despite evidence. Most of those critics are either Afro-pessimistic (the one’s who say “nothing good can come from Africa”), or just (future) competitors.”
Seems like the Africa also want to join the technology war, but it will have to work hard to come up to the level of Apple, Samsung, Nokia or BlackBerry. Will VMK touch heights or it is just another failed attempt ?