The sales of smartphones are now outstripping sales of feature phones and this means that South Africa is fast heading towards smartphone saturation point, setting the scene for exciting new ways for people to work and live. This is according to Craige Fleischer, director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “Smartphone penetration has passed the one-third mark in South Africa to top anywhere from 37% – 45%. Once everyone uses a smartphone, the country’s mobile digital environment will be fully inclusive and consumers will have access to revolutionary ways to do business, transact, connect and be entertained,” Fleischer says.
The GSMA’s mobile economy report states that Sub-Saharan Africa will add 400 million new smartphone connections by 2020, with this growing mobile broadband ecosystem. This is a major driver of economic progress and welfare. As per the report, the near ubiquity of high-speed broadband access and high levels of smartphone ownership in future will be the foundation of the new digital ecosystem.
Fleischer points out that a fully smartphone-enabled South Africa will present fresh opportunities for large business to innovate, for new small businesses to flourish and for government to deliver public services and engage with citizens. Marketers will be able to communicate directly with consumers in two-way conversations that make life simpler and more convenient for the man in the street. “Innovation will thrive as app developers and disruptive new business models emerge to take advantage of smartphone features like GPS, advanced stills and video cameras, near field communications (NFC) payment and sharing ability, wearables integration and smart home integration. The Android ecosystem, as the dominant smartphone operating system worldwide, will lead innovation in the smartphone arena.”
It is expected that for many South Africans, the smartphone will become the primary – and possibly the only – access and computing tool in years to come. Smartphones will be used to manage practically every aspect of everyone’s life. Consumers must therefore invest in their mobile technology with the same care they once used to select laptops or desktop computers. In order to benefit from the emerging smartphone economy, consumers want their devices to deliver truly smart functionality and are not just smart in name,” Fleischer cautions.
As the primary computing device of millions, smartphones need to deliver on key features such as reliability, lengthy battery life, high power processing, excellent graphics, seamless access, intuitive user interface and support for a broad range of business and entertainment tools.
Having long since predicted the smart mobile ecosystem changing the way people live, work and play; Samsung has invested heavily in R&D to bring to market pioneering smart devices that support ever-changing innovation in the mobile economy. The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, for example, are capable of high speed processing, full mobile enterprise and high definition multimedia support and are 4G+ ready. “At Samsung, we are rethinking what a phone can do and going first to market with world-leading mobile technologies, to ensure that Samsung smartphone users are positioned to benefit from whatever innovation the mobile ecosystem throws at them,” concludes Fleischer.