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First African-made tablet and smartphone come to the continent

As exciting as announcements from the likes of HTC, Samsung, Motorola et. al are, one group of African engineers believe it’s time to change the technology culture in the Atlantic continent. The name of the group is VMK, and it has claimed the rights to name its smartphone and tablet as the first African-grown devices made specifically for the African people.

The devices, the Way-C tablet and the Elikia smartphone, are supposed to exude African influence through their names. “Way-C” is said to stand for “the light of the stars,” while “Elikia” is said to mean “hope” in Lingala. It was important for VMK to brand the devices in such a way as it shows the African people that it’s possible for technology to grow in an otherwise technologically-stagnant atmosphere.

VMK, headed by 27-year-old Verone Mankou, can enjoy being the first true designer of smartphones and tablets in the country despite many African-based companies branding and selling devices there. That’s because these other companies haven’t really made anything but a name — the devices themselves are bought from third-party ODMs based in other parts of the world, and stamped with whatever name these other companies ask them to stamp on it. It’s the same reason why a tablet from Maylong might look exactly like a tablet from Unknown Company #3,421.

While VMK’s first offerings don’t offer cream-of-the-crop performance and style, the company says the number one goal was to provide affordability more than anything. An attractive price tag is especially important in a continent largely ravaged by poverty, and while even the big-name guys offer devices in the entry level price range VMK hopes the allure of being the hometown hero will help its cause.

VMK is too small to handle its own manufacturing, of course, so there is some degree of outsourcing that had to be done. The manufacturing is done in Asia, and if VMK had the capital it would undoubtedly bring those jobs over to Africa. We should see that happen with proper growth, but it’ll take strong backing from the natives of Lingala, and Africa as a whole, to help reach that noble goal.




  • Chimphappyhour

    Oooo! Does it come with the “Rich Nigerian Prince” Email App? :P

  • blest

    Quentyn, there’s going to be a bunch of retarded comments. I’d get the hammer ready.

    But imo. About time.

    • jak_341

      If we are worried about offensive comments, doesn’t the term ‘retarded comments’ fall under not P.C. either? No offense to you good sir, of course. The irony is strong here.

      • blest

        There’s about “0″ effs given about your comment.

        • guitarist5122

          apparently not if you took the time to come back and comment

          • blest

            Ooooh, you got me. +1!!!!!

          • blest

            And about means “around”… Glad you caught it.

  • remister

    Will it ask for your “bank account and sort code” everytime you need to unlock your Android device?

    • fredphoesh

      Racist and not funny.

      • guitarist5122

        hardly racist. more than one race makes up Africa

        • fredphoesh

          You seem to be able to spell, but in thinking you seem a bit slow… so let me explain. It matters not that there may be some white/Asian/etc people who also live in Africa. The point is that the man who makes these tablets is a black African man, and linking him to Nigerian cyber crime as a “joke” has zero to do with his geographic placement, and everything to do with his skin colour. You would know this if you knew the first thing about Nigerian crime.

          • Chimphappyhour

            Whites and Asians? That’s the best you could come up with for ethnic diversity in Africa? Time for you to stop writing and start thinking.

          • Disqus Sucks

            Actually it has everything to do with geography. He’s in Africa, Nigeria is in Africa, and therein spawns the joke. That you think it’s because of skin color means that you, in fact, are the racist.

          • Magnus100

            Shut up race peddler!. You must have learned at the feet of your shameless Masters – Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

          • fredphoesh

            Perfect! Now everyone can see exactly the kind of low life you are… A Hitler lover.

          • Emmanuel Reynoso

            Bro. Chill. If you didn’t know there’s white people in Africa too ;)

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Africans_of_European_ancestry

            Here, learn and edumacate yourself :)

      • Magnus100

        I’m African, and there’s nothing racist about “remister’s comment. So please stop being a freaking race peddler! Learn to take a joke and when the joke is not funny, you don’t always have to default to the “that’s racist” easy way out.

        • fredphoesh

          Eugene Terreblanche was “an African” too, but as am I… That means sweet f-all. The comments offended me and they are tasteless and racist. The defence of some of these comments is repugnant. Why would you defend comments that many find offensive?

  • deeznuts

    So Africa created a smartphone name, outsourced to China to build cheap product, stamp the African name on said cheap product, sell it out of Africa like it’s something original. Amazing, what a concept for 2013…

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      Well the difference is that the smartphone was designed in Africa by Africans, something that hasn’t really been done yet. The manufacturing is outsourced, but it’s still significant considering the current state of technology over there.

    • DrCarpy

      The engineering was African….or is only significant when the slave labor at foxconn is by Americans (Apple)? By the way, real intelligent with the black people stealing stuff with the where’s my droid….cause no one white has ever stolen on planet earth! The monkey references as well, classic! Ask how many Black folks believe in evolution small number. White people created evolution. So wouldn’t that make them a monkeys descendant cause that’s what they claim.

    • Michael Thompson

      Read articles much?…or at all?

    • Magnus100

      How is this different than what Apple in America does? Oh sorry Apple inflates the prices and gouges the iSheep!

  • tom-e

    Preloaded with Pirates and Traders!

  • tom-e

    Pre-loaded with “where’s my Droid”!

  • TBN27

    That’s really great that it they were able to create something for them by them. Hopefully soon they will be able to manufacture them on Africa amd then evolve to sell them in the rest of the world.

  • Large4us

    This is good news as it provides a guiding light that the country and the continent needs. Let’s hope that they can assist and contribute as mankind, across the planet, continues to try to allow properity for people

    • RavenFox

      Lol wtf is this? This will go quite deep so I’ll leave it be.

    • remnem

      i dont think dubai needs more light lol

  • Large4us

    I hope the “DODOs” showing stupidity are not US citizens. Cause it they are, they are an embarrassment to us all.

    • Chimphappyhour

      Welcome to the US! Don’t think some of the comments aren’t deserved? Take it up with the Nigerian scammers.

      • Chimphappyhour

        Stupid? Me? Hardly. Quite well educated, traveled (heck, I’ve even lived outside of the Americas) and internationally connected. I get to hear all the fun and funny stuff people around the world say and believe about the Americas. I don’t go off half-cocked when I hear them. Because I understand where others get their perceptions about Americans. (And yeah, I do mean all Ameicans)

        Don’t like fat jokes about people in the US or about us shooting up our schools? Well, not their fault. We need to do a better job of taking care of our problems here. Africans don’t like the perception of being a continent full of scammers, pirates, lawlessness and dictators? Well then, I suggest they do something about it.

        While there have been a few good steps in the right direction in Afirca, anyone who watches the news can tell you there are many more in the wrong direction. (Take your pick, US news outlets? BBC? Al-Jazeera? I peruse them all.) And it won’t get better. Anyone who understands the really, really big picture knows it will get worse.

        So get down off your high horse. It’s a joke. Laugh. That’s about all you can do about it.

        • fredphoesh

          Ok, so by your logic, women who get raped should take a look at how they dress, right? What rubbish. And for your information, it IS getting better, for example, there is some black guy in the Congo who has produced the first African tablet and phone… so obviously things are NOT staying the same, despite people like you who would rather be cynical and smart arsed.

          • Chimphappyhour

            Hardly. Your argument is extremely illogical and ill conceived. And thank you for showing you can’t read.

            Like I said, yes, there have been a few steps in the right direction but as anyone who reads the world news outlets can tell you, not anywhere near enough. Add to that, even the most basic of looking into the future can see hard times coming for all.

          • Magnus100

            You must feel really small on the inside. You need help with your self esteem if these jokes evoke such reactions.

  • Ryan

    Classy.

  • Ahhk

    Lots of ignorant people here……

    • RavenFox

      yup

  • fredphoesh

    @quentyn:disqus, Fantastic news, really inspiring, I hope it is successful!
    BTW, Africa is NOT a country! There is no mention here of the country. I found out that his company is based in Brazzaville, Congo.

    • remnem

      maybe its Central African Republic

  • Jordan Caviness

    I beleieve everyone deserves a piece of the pie, welcome VMK to the market…looking forward to seeing how your company grows…if RIM in Canada of all places can do it, Why not Africa!

  • mickgalt

    So Africa is a country now?

  • RavenFox

    It begins…

  • http://www.facebook.com/fernandobuzi Fernando Buzi

    I’m African and I had no idea what those words meant nor do I know where Lingala is (I understand it’s both a place and a language – which I obviously don’t speak). So, would you please be kind to us and update your article to include the name of the Country and other relevant data? And I’d also say that there is no such thing as an African Phone, but only African Manufacturers/Assemblers. It’s, to me, like calling Samsung or the S3 Asian, instead of Korean. The Danger of a Single Story, is a TED Talk I’d recommend.

    • Magnus100

      Thanks! A lot of people are as ignorant as a door knob when it comes to “Africa”. They talk about the continent as if it’s a country (or maybe just a small village in the middle of nowhere) and ignorantly assume everyone speaks the same language and that the culture is exactly the same.

  • tom-e

    Fred, defense is not spelled with a C. You’re an idiot and should be castrated. Despite your pedophilia desires, I am not 12… and you’re gay.

  • http://www.gamefans.com/ Jeremy Davis

    You know what I really like? Source links.

  • tim

    Africa is NOT a country.