Africa’s First Smartphone Unveiled in Republic of Congo

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VMK Smartphones Tablets photo

VMK’s Elikia smartphone

AFRICANGLOBE - VMK, the Brazzaville-based startup that unveiled an Android-based tablet last September has released a prototype of its upcoming smartphone.

Verone Mankou, 25, the designer of the first African touch screen phone, on Thursday unveiled his latest product, which is the very first of its kind to be designed in Africa.

The smartphone which was christened “elikia”, meaning “hope” in the local Lingala language, will have a 3.5 inch touch screen, a memory of 512 MB and a 650 Mhz processor. It’s internal memory of 256 MB is expandable to 32 GB. Besides its GPS, the elikia smartphone has a camera of 5 mega pixels.

The design of the elikia smartphone took Verone Mankou close to a year with an investment of about 120,000 U.S. dollars.

The device which was assembled in China, will be sold under the brand VMK in the second half of the month of October in France, Cote d’Ivoire and the Republic of Congo, at a cost of about 160 dollars.

“We decided to assemble the smartphone in China because as you all know, it’s difficult to find a company with the necessary materials and capacity to do the work here. So just like most companies in the world, we decided to keep China as our factory not only because of a better quality there, but also because of the lower production cost which enables us to sell the phone at an affordable price,” Mankou explained.

The device will offer limitless Internet connectivity through the Wifi and its Bluetooth applications, while its Hotspot Wifi will enable its users to share Internet connection with other users.

“We wanted to place on the market a quality smartphone, with the same capacities as the others, while ensuring that it’s a product which is accessible to all,” Mankou declared.

Verone Mankou formed the VMK company in 2009. With a capital of 250 million Fcfa, the company is specialized in the designing of mobile technology products.