In South Africa and most sub-saharan countries, mobile phone penetration has surpassed the 100% penetration mark, and unsurprisingly, this figure is still growing exponentially. The market however is still dominated by feature phones. On one end of the spectrum, there is a niche group of sophisticated smartphone users and on the other, a large group of feature phone users. In the middle lies a large unexplored market characterised by the need for feature phone simplicity and yet with smartphone-like features. To address this gap, Vodacom recently released it’s own branded mobile phone with both feature phone like features as well as smartphone capabilities .
The device is named “Smart Kicka”. It has all the features one would expect any regular smartphone on the market to have. The smark Kicka runs the latest version of Android 4.4.3 (KitKat), with 2gigs of internal space, with an option for an expandable sd-card slot, a camera, 3g connectivity, entertainment (Music player, FM radio), Social networking apps etc…
What I also found included with the phone in the box is an online learning voucher worth R10000 (approx. USD 880 ). I haven’t used it myself, but we plan to donate it to anyone who really needs it.
Above and beyond, what makes the smart Kicka remarkable is its simplicity and its competitive pricing. On prepraid, the smart kicka costs just R550 (approx. USD 50). It may also appeal to business customers because it has a touchscreen-Qwerty keyboard, 3G connectivity and an interchangeable battery. But it will also appeal to minimalist consumers, especially given its pricing and simplistic user-experience. The device is very light weight, ultra-portable, the operating system is fine-tuned to run smoothly on the device.