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In partnership with KaiOS Technologies and UNISOC, Orange has rolled out a USD 20 voice recognition-enabled handset tailored for African mobile users – Sanza.
According to the announcement, by April this year, Malian, Burkinabe and Ivorian Orange customers will be able to access a new breed of phones with smart features powered by KaiOS, an operating system synonymous with KaiOS Technologies.
Baptized as Sanza, the device will be rolled out in 16 African countries and the Middle East and will be commercialized with a unique offer that starts from USD 20. While this price depends on the currency of countries, the new device will help customers in optimizing their budgets.
With the help of Google Assistant, the Sanza device will break the barriers of language and illiteracy, as users will be able to access info and apps on the device with no or minimal fuss, thanks to the voice recognition feature which does not require them to strike at the keypads.
It has been confirmed from a variety of sources that the Google Assistant built in on the device can comprehend a multiplicity of French and English accents, while the company promises to add more languages later in the year. For now, Sanza’s on-screen menu is available in Arabic, Swahili, Portuguese, English and of course, French – some of the most popular languages in Africa.
The fresh-from-the-stables device will enable users to access social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other functions such as Google Search and Google Maps. It will also be able to access Orange Money, the flagship mobile-based funds transfer and financial services offer. Still Under Orange’s auspices, My Orange – an application that will help users monitor their mobile consumption among other things – will be included on the device.
According to Orange Middle East and Africa CEO Alioune Ndiaye, Sanza is foolproof of Orange’s position as a key player in Africa’s digital inclusion, as well as the Middle East’s. “With its access to the internet, voice control and attractive price tag, there is the conviction that the 3G device which will soon support 4G, is a powerful lever to develop access to the internet for all of Africa”.
Orange DRC CEO Gerard Lokossou, who says that the smartphone penetration rate in the Democratic Republic of Congo is quite low, believes that: “The established mobile payment services via Orange Money, the 4G+ launch in 2018 and Orange’s engagement to extend 3G coverage to the entire DRC are significant to the increment of smartphone penetration rate in the country”. According to him, the subsequent commercialization of the Sanza phone at a very competitive price is a demonstration of Orange’s strategy to democratize internet access in the DRC.
KaiOS Technology CEO Sebastien Codeville, said: “Our mission is to help close the digital divide by bringing mobile connectivity to the billions of people without internet in emerging markets, as well as providing those in established markets with an alternative to smartphones. The Sanza by Orange marks an important milestone in fulfilling this mission, as its bound to be successful in Africa with its attractive price point, great features, and the strong presence of Orange in the region.”
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