Smartphones need more speed
Cape Town - Impediments to smartphone adoption in South Africa need to be addressed in order to give consumers a better experience in using the devices, Samsung has said.
"There're a couple of things that drive smartphone adoption: The first is the competition that exists between the manufacturers.
"The good thing for the consumer is that as OEMs [Original Equipment Manufacturers] try and out-innovate each other, what then happens is that the price of the devices start coming down," Samsung spokesperson Paulo Ferreira told News24.
He said that a decline in prices would make more smartphones accessible to the majority of users in SA.
This should result in behavioural changes in the way people access information and communicate.
However, he warned that delays in the implementation of high-speed wireless connections could lay a big role in limiting the adoption of smartphones as consumers would not be able to extract full value from the devices.
"Availability of high-speed connectivity is an important" factor in making smartphone adoption universal, he said.
Mobile operators in SA are heading toward the LTE standard, but roll-out is slow and may require government assistance or intervention.
Ferreira said that current connectivity was good, but that Samsung products were capable of utilising higher speed connections than was currently available.
"In South Africa we already have HSPA+ as a connectivity which the operators provide. So the experience for the consumers is a good one when they're streaming content from the web, but it could be better when you compare it with 4G.
"We're looking forward to working with the operators to ensure that as they make those fast networks available; we're right up there leading in terms of the connectivity technology which our products can offer," he said.
Samsung said that it was ready to launch products from its global market in SA when the networks to support them became available.
"We have those products right now - in other markets - it's a question of the networks being available and being ready in South Africa, and we will obviously follow the networks with our products," said Ferreira.
According to him, smartphones added more value because of the applications and content available.
"Applications and content is another value proposition which needs to be in place. When the application markets reach a point where those applications which are available at a global level actually become meaningful to the South African citizen as well, that's when the device also transforms itself into an even more valuable type of device."
Samsung also hinted that it is looking to BlackBerry producer Reseach In Motion's strategy to drive adoption of its devices.
RIM offers an unlimited internet package with BlackBerry smartphones. This has resulted in huge growth in developing markets where consumers are price sensitive.
"Nothing to announce at this stage, but Samsung's very interested in having this conversation with the operators because the operators also want to look at how they can offer a stronger value proposition around smartphones which run the Android operating system.
"I think it's in everybody's best interest that data prices come down; that the consumer benefits from this," Ferreira said.
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