Could This Be the New Smartphone Frontier?

It might not be a primary target for smartphone producers, but Africa’s market for smartphones is growing and expected to continue on that path. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales carries around a low-cost smartphone, powered by Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, that a friend purchased for him in Africa, and he sees it as a symbol that Africa is more ready than ever for a smart tech revolution.

Africa’s current phone breakdown has standard feature phones still dominating, with 62.7 percent of connections still over 2G, but subscriptions for 3G across the continent have reached 11 percent. In a region of the world where an overwhelming number of people don’t even have Internet or computers, an increase in the handheld Internet-capable computing devices known as smartphones could revolutionize online engagement.

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When as recently as 2000 a 64K internet modem in Kenya could cost as much as $3,600, previously $16,000 a month, it says a lot that over 300,000 3G-capable Huawei smartphones have sold in Kenya for only $50 each.

While smartphone makers were previously eying India as the next big market to hit, Africa has now drawn more attention, in what could be a grand opportunity for phone producers and for Africa’s emergence on the internet.

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