It is not every other day that we get to hear from a team of Kenyans designing a smartphone and actually making it available in the market. The Kenyan smartphone market is awash with smartphones and other mobile devices that even though they may have been designed and manufactured with the Kenyan user in mind, they are not necessarily indigenous by both conceptualization and design. A Kenyan company, Synergy Innovations Kenya Limited (SILK), is out to change that.
2016 is turning out to be an interesting year in the Kenyan mobile tech space both from the hardware and software side of things. For a start, there is no shortage of smartphones in the market. While in 2015 we witnessed the entry into this market by quite a number of smartphone brands, 2016 will be when such brands show exactly what they’ve got. One among those will be SILK Mobile, a Kenyan smartphone brand, which quietly entered the market last year.
Synergy Innovations’ Chief Operating Officer Michael Asola believes that they stand a chance. Their key strength is what they believe is their deep understanding of the Kenyan market and to that end, they are offering smartphones that have been developed locally. One such device, which we have in our possession, is the SILK Patriot 55, a 5.5-inch 4G smartphone running on Android 4.4 KitKat.
We’ve interacted with the device and it is not a bad first attempt though it definitely needs some refining, something we believe SILK will be keen on since the local smartphone market is quite competitive and users are not only after the best features on a phone but also very price sensitive.
Part of the focus of the device and any other smartphone that will be coming from SILK is providing locally relevant content. As such, a few applications are preloaded on the Patriot 55. One of them is Yielloh!, a social application. There are others for accessing news and the like but the number is minimal at the moment. Quite a lot more can be done not just to provide more locally relevant content but also to upgrade the user interface as a whole since it looks and feels dated.
SILK’s interest is not just in mobile devices themselves but also their accessories as well. To that end, they have several accessories including portable power chargers and some Beats-lookalike headsets and Bluetooth speakers.
SILK’s devices are designed in the country and manufactured in China.
Do you think SILK will be able to capture the imagination of the Kenyan market? Let us know in the comments and in our forums.