Africa has long been looked at as the next frontier for the smartphone in the mobile sector. Indeed, the continent’s adoption of internet-connected devices has grown steadily over the last several years. And while it is always difficult to categorize an entire continent, it is safe to say that the general growth of smartphone usage in Africa is on its way up. (The International Data Corporation reported earlier this year that in Africa as a whole, the number of smartphones sold in Q3 2014 was up 300% year on year.) So, as the continent moves from the feature phone to the smartphone, software and hardware manufacturers plan their next moves.
Opera Mediaworks released its State of Mobile Advertising report this week, and the figures show that Android is driving much of the mobile internet adoption growth in Africa. Users are tending to connect to the internet using mobile devices over PCs for many reasons including cost and ease-of-use, but Google’s operating system seems to be snagging the lion’s share of page views.
The report states:
Android users, who now comprise almost 30% of the total mobile population, use the mobile web twice as much as feature-phone users. As Android phones get into the hands of more of the African population, mobile internet use is bound to increase. The strongest sub-markets for both page views and data consumption are Southern (South Africa and Namibia), Middle (Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo) and Northern Africa (Sudan and Egypt), with the latter region approaching global averages in both categories.
But it is important to note that feature phones are still the more popular device across the continent. The report notes that Africans remain more likely to use a non-smartphone compared to other continents’ populations, but smartphones, specifically Android ones, are definitely a growing part of the mobile landscape.
Indeed, smartphone makers are looking at the entire African continent to get in on the next generation of phone sales. Creating lower-cost devices and targeting certain markets is on the agenda for Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, and other equipment manufacturers. And reports last August noted that China-based phone maker AMGOO was preparing to launch a $30 smartphone in Africa. Africa will be a market to watch and see if Android continues its upward streak of driving the rest of the smartphone scene, or if manufacturers will push other operating systems.