Huawei splits its bet between Windows Phone and Android in Africa

Huawei has unveiled pricing and availability for the 4Afrika Windows Phone device, a handset running on one of the two smartphone platforms the company thinks will dominate the continent's smartphone market.

Huawei is aiming to launch its new Windows Phone 4Afrika at a retail price of under $200, it has confirmed.

The device, which will only be sold in African countries, forms part of a major push onto the African tech market from Microsoft through its 4Afrika Initiative.

The Chinese telecoms device and equipment manufacturer plans to launch the Windows Phone 4Afrika in Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Angola, Morocco and South Africa towards the end of Q1. Final pricing has yet to be confirmed, but will be sub-$200, according to Liza de Wet, marketing director for Huawei Device in the eastern and southern Africa region.

4Afrika phone
The 4Afrika phone, launched on Monday, will run Windows Phone. Image: Microsoft

Huawei has seen its Android devices taking off in Africa, especially in Kenya where the vendor claims to hold a 45-percent share of the smartphone market with the $80 Huawei Ideos .

But the company has decided to expand its choice of smartphones to include the new Windows Phone device because it believes that Android and Windows Phone will be the two biggest smartphone operating systems in Africa in the years to come, De Wet said on Tuesday.

The Windows Phone 4Afrika will be targeted at middle to high-income users, particularly those aged 18 to 35 , says De Wet. This suggests that it will not initially be aimed at the lower end of the smartphone market where Huawei has targeted the Ideos and similar devices and where the vendor competes fiercely with feature phones and low-end smartphones from the likes of Nokia, Samsung, and ZTE.  

The Huawei 4Afrika is a customised version of the Huawei Ascend W1 and features a four-inch IPS LCD 480 x 800 touchscreen with Zero-Gap Touch technology. It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8230 dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and Adreno 305 GPU. The device also features a store carrying a range of applications and content created by Africans for Africans.

Huawei, number three in the global smartphone market according to analysts IDC, is targeting southern and eastern Africa as a major source of its growth for the next three years. It expects revenue growth on the continent to outpace other regions during this time as smartphone penetration ramps up across Africa.

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