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Kenyan smartphone seeks to shake up market

By Standard Reporter | November 17th 2015 at 08:24:07 GMT +0300

A Kenyan company has come up with a new handset that promises top level performance at a fraction of the price of models currently in the market. Synergy Innovations, which developed its SILK Patriot phone model, promises that its offering will give users unparalleled performance at an affordable cost. SILK stands for Synergy Innovations Kenya Limited.

“We designed it ourselves and put so much work into it,” says Michael Asola, the company’s chief operations officer. “We wanted a phone that filled a niche in the market and with the SILK Patriot I believe we achieved this. The phone is targeting the mid-market range and will spot a 5.5 inch screen and 8 megapixel camera,” Mr Asola said.

The phone’s operating software is based on Google’s Android KitKat platform and it comes pre-installed with the company’s applications. “Our phones will come with applications that are custom-made for this market. We have an agreement with a local online news portal to have their app on our phone, we also have a social networking application called Yielloh that will be preinstalled.” Mr Asola said.

He also says that their phones are based on a ‘slide and lock’ technology. The device does not have any soldering in it.
Components are connected by strips. “So if you have a problem with your camera for instance you can easily disconnect it and stick another one in and without much need to reach for a solder. Assembling and even repairing the phone becomes very easy and quick,” Mr Asola explained.

The decision to use ‘slide and lock’ technology was reached due to the company’s decision to eventually migrate the assembling of the phone to Kenya. Synergy Innovations Kenya Limited is based in Nairobi with its phones designed in Kenya but assembled in China.

The company started in 2012 as a distributor of mobile phone products. “We wanted the intellectual ownership of the components in our phones rather than just distribute other’s. We started by using computer aided design to fashion several different ideas of what a phone should look like. We then hired a mould designer to create the contours of the phone. We got the American semiconductor company Qualcomm to supply us with chips,” Mr Asola said.

“It took more than a year to design the phone. Then we had to identify a factory that could assemble it. We went to ShenZhen, China which serves as factory to the world to get an assembly plant. We then subjected the final product to heat and drop testing before deciding that it was ready for the market.” The phone will be available for purchase through their website and various online stores.

Synergy Innovations Google’s Android KitKat
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