Huawei Ascend W1 is the lone Windows Phone 8 device from Huawei, announced on January right after CES. The Ascend W1 was to go into the market within the same quarter but that did not happen, atleast in the Kenyan Market.
Microsoft later in February announced it as Huawei 4Afrika with the idea to bundle it with an app store specifically for the Africa market. Microsoft had the intention of bringing 1 million smartphones to low end consumers, a thing that only stopped being an idea this week.
Today we can report that the Huawei Ascend W1 is now available and selling in Safaricom Shops in Kenya as from today. The device will retail at Kshs. 16,000 and will be branded 4Afrika. So far there is no word of a colourful launch of the device from either Safaricom or Huawei but you will be seeing marketing of the same in coming weeks. The Huawei Ascend W1 comes into the market at a point when Nokia’s Lumia 520, also in the same price domain has also gone into the market via official Nokia partners. We will watch how these two match out in the market.
Sophie Odupoy, Microsoft East Africa Marketing Manager says that developers in Egypt and South Africa had built 112 apps by launch in February and adds that they have since created some 400 apps. She adds that Microsoft is currently adding apps to the Windows Store every week to ensure an increasingly relevant app experience for Africans across the Continent. Microsoft is proud of the progress so far to deliver relevant and high quality apps for Africans. There is however just one application on the 4Afrika apps segment on the store.
According to Sophie, Microsoft is working with startups and developers in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tunisia, Ghana, Egypt and Nigeria on high impact applications in the priority “depth” domains education, health, eGov, SME services and agri-vet to deliver impactful applications to be introduced in the coming months.