By Patrick Githinji
While retail shelves for high-end 3G (third-generation) phones have been getting crowded lately, prices have generally remained high.
But the launch on Tuesday of an Android powered smart phone (phones that are virtually mini-computers) by Huawei and Safaricom may just change the dynamics of the market.
Priced at around Sh30,000, the phone is a powerful and serious competitor to Appleâs iPhone 3G and Research in Motionâs BlackBerry, which have ruled the roost for the last two years.
Prices for top-end BlackBerry and iPhone models have kept them out of reach for most of the middle class, but Huaweiâs Android is within their grasp
Android is an operating system for mobile devices such as cellular phones, tablet computers and netbooks integrated with Google services. Speaking at the event the Huawei Chief Operating Officer Radoslaw Kedzia said the phone would be on sale at Safaricom shops across the country.
Another plus for the phone is that unlike BlackBerry, which attracts a monthly fee of Sh2000, the Android will have no monthly premium fees, said Kedzia.
It has a bigger screen than the iPhone and is much faster with a more powerful camera.
In terms of picture quality, only the iPhone 4G, which is yet to be launched locally, beats it.
The phone has been custom-designed and built buy Huawei for Safaricom, but the Chinese firm said it was ready to do the same for other mobile phone service providers