So we are starting a throwback series where we look at the most iconic smartphones over time. We will be featuring a smartphone from the past and bring out nostalgia as well as interesting things about each. Your suggestions on what to feature are welcome as well, to start us of is the Huawei Ideos U8150.
The Huawei Ideos was the phone that I can proudly say brought Android to Kenya. Before the ideos, the idea of owning a smartphone was left to the elite. Launched back in September 2010, the Huawei Ideos U8150 made headlines due to its affordable price which was Ksh. 8,000.
Huawei introduced the Ideos into the Kenyan market in January of 2011 in partnership with Safaricom and the phone was an immediate hit. The media advertisements surrounding the launch of this device was overwhelming. I can still remember radio presenters trying to explain the concept of Android and how it is beneficial because it has so many apps.
Anyway, the Huawei Ideos U8150 came with a 2.8-inch QVGA (240*320) TFT display, Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 clocked at 528MHz, 512MB internal storage expandable via MicroSD up to 32GB and a 256MB RAM. It ran on Android 2.2 Froyo, featured a 3.15MP camera and was powered by a 1200mAh battery.
Speaking of camera, there was no flash, no auto-focus, the quality was not that great and it did not feature a selfie camera but who cared? We weren’t that narcissistic back then.
If you are surprised by those specs, believe me you the Huawei Ideos U8150 was a legendary device. I especially liked the idea of live wallpapers, playing 3D games (remember fruit ninja and angry birds?) and the back cover could be replaced with others of different colors – I used to switch with my friends after a while just to keep the look fresh.
The design of the Ideos was also something to brag about. It was quite thick but that didn’t matter at that time. Below the display, you had capacitive navigation buttons, four of them btw – back button, menu button, home button and a search button to easily access Google.
Below that, there are more buttons. A call and hang up button and a round navigation pad that one could use to navigate through the UI if you didn’t feel like touching the screen. The Ideos U8150 also came with a 3.5mm headphone jack and a multi-color notification light.
The Huawei Ideos U8150 was such a huge success that the company introduced the Ideos Y100 to replace it in 2012 with the hope of replicating the success of the U8150. The Y100 shared a lot with the original Ideos aside from a slimmer design, a slightly better 3.2MP camera and an updated version of Android, Gingerbread 2.3.6.
I owned both devices and the excitement I felt back then, has not been matched yet – that is how iconic the Huawei Ideos brand was.