The $200 Nexus 7 Google Tablet is a Game-Changer for ICT Adoption in Africa

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On Wednesday, Google announced the specs and price point for its 7 . Engadget reports that for $200 the Nexus 7 has a 7-inch 1280 x 800 IPS LCD to show off 4.1 Jelly Bean. It also has a NVIDIA Tegra 3 T30L quad-core running at 1.2GHz with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage and 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. Or as says:

You’re looking at a $199 tablet with a quad-core processor, a high-quality display, and the latest version of Android. How can you ignore that? Despite Google’s lack of marketing reach, this is by far the best value for the money in Android tablets.

And that Nexus 7 value for money is going to turn on ICT adoption in Africa.

Previously, there hasn’t been a quality tablet at such a low cost. Yes, there are cheaper tablets, but they’re just cheap Chinese or Indian knock-offs. The Nexus 7 is quality at a low cost. Now, I can see classrooms lit up buy tablet-empowered teachers. Not children mind you – $200 per child is still too expensive. I see nurses using tablets in health clinics. And I see a Cambrian Explosion of Android apps.

Get ready for Android app overload

Android is already the most popular app development platform in the developing world, mainly because Android devices are more popular than iOS devices among consumers. Now supercharge it with millions of new users who can now afford a high-quality tablet and you will see a mad rush to develop local Android apps that cater to specific African markets.

A Kiswahili language app for children, a traffic tracker for Lagos, a crop pest database in Xhosa, and that’s just a few ideas that will now be attempted where before they were only dreams.

To add to what Kachwanya said, Africans should be developing for Android, not USSD, SMS, or feature phones, and by doing so, we’ll soon see Apps4D, smartphone application development as ICT4D.

Say goodbye to African hardware OEMs

While an apps avalanche is the good news, TechLoy rightly points out the downside to a $200 quality Android tablet – the decimation of nascent African tablet OEMs:

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, how does a budget tablet OEM begin to compete with [the $200 Nexus 7]?

VMK’s tablet costs about $300. Encipher’s Inye 2 isn’t likely to cost less. At just under $200 dollars, a Google backed tablet might not only prove irresistible to budget conscious users, but also wipe out whatever market there was for VMK, Encipher et al. If I was any of these companies, I would be considering a significant pivot right now

Like my point above, Techloy says OEMs should drop the hardware and join what will be a scrum of software developers rushing into the custom solutions market. Education, businesses, enterprise, and government buyers will need tablet applications adapted to the local context. And with over 1 million Android activations a day now, there are plenty of opporunites to be the next Zenga.


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