SA-made smartphone on way

MINT Electronics‚ headed by former South African Revenue Service commissioner Oupa Magashula‚ is to launch the first smartphones and tablets to be designed and manufactured in South Africa.

This comes after the company – a subsidiary of Sekoko Holdings – bought a 75% stake in manufacturing company CZ Electronics. The launch is planned for next month.

CZ, in Boksburg, said it had invested about R10-million in research and development over the past two years‚ thus enabling it to manufacture smartphones and tablets.

The use of smartphones is increasing significantly‚ with a penetration rate of about 35% of the population.

A study by consulting firm Frost & Sullivan shows that the subscriber base for smartphones is likely to exceed 50% by 2017.

Mint said the introduction of affordable smartphones would improve growth and data use. Samsung‚ Apple and BlackBerry dominate the SA smartphone and tablet markets.

But Magashula was confident South Africans would embrace the Mint- branded products.

A study by Mint, he said, showed that the majority of people within the living standard measurement of 4 to 8 would switch to a South African made product if available.

"Our products will have unique features‚ content and will be priced below some existing high-end products." Magashula said. - Thabiso Mochiko