PMB entrepreneurs launch new smartphone

2017-03-15 06:02
PHOTO: nokuthula khanyileBehind the development of the first smartphone from KwaZulu-Natal, Lifa Bekwa (left) and Lwazi Ndlela.

PHOTO: nokuthula khanyileBehind the development of the first smartphone from KwaZulu-Natal, Lifa Bekwa (left) and Lwazi Ndlela.

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TWO Pietermaritzburg entrepreneurs are set to take the telecommunications industry by storm as they gear up for the launch of their first innovative smartphone this month.

Lifa Bekwa (27) from Imbali and Lwazi Ndlela (26) from Chasevalley own Flip Page Communications, a company behind the design and development of the first smartphone from KwaZulu-Natal.

Their market entry device, called Emerge, was manufactured in China and is expected to be available to consumers in April.

Speaking to the Maritzburg Echo the pioneering duo said they met in 2012 through a mutual friend.

“We had both created music streaming services before we met and when we were introduced we realised we could do more together than as opponents and teamed up to start the company,” said Ndlela.

Bekwa said the company develops integrated hardware, software services and provides a platform for seamless access to information, including email, voice and internet-based applications and browsing.

“When you use a phone your experience is as good as the software. Building our own product meant being able to accommodate all the features other smart phones do not have. We wanted to meld together functions of our ideal smartphone, that is where the idea came from. We did enough research on how to assemble the phone and then created the software,”said Bekwa.

Ndlela said their product was created with the South African consumer in mind. “It is a feature-rich device that will compete among your biggest brands like Apple. People will see that we have one of the best products on the market. We are giving them a big enough screen to browse the internet and read documents, but also the battery-saving feature will come in handy during load shedding,” said Ndlela.

Superficially, he said the Emerge is a slim, tall, and light aluminium rectangle that stirs up comparison with other smartphones on the market.

Other exciting features on the phone include semi-authentic 3D Touch short-cuts, force touch wallpapers and a fingerprint reader on its Home key.

“Beyond creating the phone, we wanted to inspire other youth from the city and show them that nothing was unobtainable if they put their minds to it, we want to encourage them to push boundaries and not be limited by their environment. Everyone always tries to find a reason why they can’t do it and we hope our story changes that narrative.”

Despite not having funding Bekwa and Ndlela said they put a 100% into the project and it became a reality.

“We work with exceptional people from all over the world who bring in their expertise to make our products the best so it can be easily marketable.”

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