Those of us who keenly follow happenings in the mobile tech industry know about Anker, the Chinese startup founded by a group of ex-Googlers that has risen to become a leading brand in the crowded USB portable charger market in the United States, the number one branded seller on Amazon and the third largest seller across all product categories on the world’s largest e-commerce platform.
Now, Anker, is keen on entering a market where its products have been mostly lacking so far, Africa. Anker products can only be found in a handful of African countries, Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Libya, South Africa and Zimbabwe, mostly through resellers who charge a premium fee for them, more than what one would pay if they got them off Amazon directly, an option that has never been easy for many.
Anker has put out a call for partners from the continent who will act as its distributors in the region.
According to Drew Addington, the company’s sales head for the Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa region, who spoke to us at the ongoing GITEX Technology Week in Dubai, the company already has a presence in 70 countries around the world and is keen on making its way to one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world, Africa.
Anker took the opportunity GITEX presented to introduce the most recent products in its Speed series to the MEA (Middle East and Africa) region. The products include the PowerDrive Speed 2, a car charger with 2 USB ports and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 tech, the PowerCore Speed 20000 QC, which, as the name insinuates, is a 20,000mAh powerhorse with 2 USB ports and Quick Charge 3.0, and, lastly, the PowerCore Speed 10000 QC which has half the capacity (10,000mAh), a single USB port and Quick Charge 3.0.
Support for Qualcomm’s accelerated charging technology, Quick Charge 3.0, is one of the various ways that Anker uses to differentiate itself from the competition by offering the same or better advantage of plugging most of the devices we use today on its portable charges just as we do to our usual wall adaptors. The others are PowerIQ, VoltageBoost and MultiProtect.
PowerIQ is its proprietary intelligent high-speed charging technology that detects a device’s make and model so that the portable charger can replicate the charging protocol of the device’s original charger so that accelerated charging takes place as per the device’s ability. VoltageBoost and MultiProtect complement PowerIQ by making sure that cable resistance does not stand in the way of accelerated charging while making sure the portable charger and the device being charged don’t unnecessarily warm up or blow up, respectively.
Anker, despite being well known for its portable USB chargers and battery cases, has diversified its product portfolio to include other mobile accessories like USB hubs, USB adaptors, car mounts, wireless fast chargers and even audio products under its SoundCore (speakers) and SoundBud (earbuds) product brands. There are even home appliances in its product lineup as I came to learn yesterday.
It is the company’s PowerLine+ microUSB cable and the PowerHouse 400 portable battery pack, however, that have me excited the most. The former is a USB cable that won’t break no matter what, something that the regular cables that ship in the box with our devices can’t guarantee (I still remember how my Galaxy Note 3’s white cable became an unsightly turtle neck after a year of use and I have seen how my iPhone friends have to deal with broken cables every now and then). In fact, Anker’s product team even had a setup on stage where you could go swing (yeah, swing) on the PowerLine+ cable. The latter is meant to guarantee uninterrupted power backup for several days on end while powering every consumer electronic you have with you. What can you do with 120,000mAh? Michael Fisher’s review sums it all up.
Since it is a common sight these days to see portable chargers everywhere you go, which one do you use?