More low-cost smartphones will be available in 2015, Microsoft predicted on Thursday.
In an interview with our correspondent, it said the consistent introduction of its smartphones in Nigeria in the last one year was aimed at making the prediction a reality.
In a similar development, the Alliance for Affordable Internet said that the increase in the availability of low-cost smartphones in 2015 would go beyond Nigeria, to the entire Africa and Asia.
The A4AI said while the competition to get cheaper smartphones to the market would grow and allow millions of new customers in Nigeria to access the Internet on their mobiles, it also expected the National Broadband Plans across emerging markets would become more comprehensive and focus on lowering costs.
Microsoft recently announced the release of its cheapest ever smartphone, the Nokia 215, and Mozilla is continuing to expand its line of Firefox OS phones — these products are currently priced as low as $30.
The company, which bought off Nokia in 2014, also announced, this week, the availability of Lumia 535 dual Sim 3G smartphone in Nigeria.
The General Manager, Microsoft Mobile Devices and Services, Joseph Umunakwe, said, “Nigerians are inspired everyday and want to turn that inspiration into reality and ultimately business opportunities. Our Lumia smartphones, which are very affordable, will give them the power and tools to make this happen, and more will come in 2015.
“We are committed to delivering the power of everyday mobile technology to everyone through our devices and services such as OneDrive, Outlook, Skype, Bing, Outlook, and Xbox Live which power them. The new Microsoft Lumia 535 dual SIM sets the benchmark in bringing the best of the Windows at a very pocket-friendly price point to consumers in Nigeria.”
However, the A4AI said in a statement, “We expect more governments to encourage the purchase of smartphones by cutting taxes on mobile devices.”
It also predicted that in 2015, “innovations and technology will be developed to connect the unconnected.”
It said innovators, start-ups and corporations would develop more technologies in 2015 to expand affordable access to the Internet.
Globally, attention is also expected to be focused on consumer and digital rights.
A4AI said, “It is our hope that Internet affordability and accessibility remain key principles in the movement to promote human rights and openness in broadband policies and their implementation.”
The alliance said net neutrality debate would spread globally and there would be expansion of zero-rated services, which could extend access, but it added that debate on consequences would heat up.