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Google’s Android Market comes to Kenya

Over the weekend I did a blog post here about the low-cost but reasonably high-end Huawei IDEOS Android smartphone that had been announced this past week in Europe. The big news in this respect was that the IDEOS is expected to launch globally at a price between US$ 100.00 to US$ 200.00 (i.e. Kes. 8,000.00 to Kes. 16,000.00) without an operator contract, making it particularly suited for Africa.

In an interesting turnof events, my blog post was spot on as the front page of the Business Daily this morning carried a story by Kui Kinyanjui confirming that the IDEOS would be coming to Kenya at an expected retail price of Kes. 8,000.00. This was further confirmed today at Google’s G-Kenya event that started today in Nairobi at Strathmore University via an official announcement from Google representatives.

However, even though the thought of an Android smartphone at only Kes. 8,000.00, which is even less than a good number of feature phones in the marketplace today, the bigger announcement of the day was that Google was launching their hugely successful Android Market in Kenya as well. Kenya is only the second country in Africa to get Android Market after South Africa.

Android Market is an online apps store developed by Google for Android devices (not just handsets but everything else that may run on Android such as tablets and notebooks). The Android Market is accessed via a mobile app called that is typically pre-installed on Android devices. It enables users to browse, select and download mobile apps for their Android devices.

The most significant thing about Android Market for Kenya is that it enables third-party developers to publish apps that can be either free or for sale. In terms of monetizing apps, the way it works is that app developers get to keep 70% of the app value when sold in the store and the balance of 30% is usually shared between the mobile networks as well as payment processors (in Kenya, in addition to premium billing, this could also be done via mobile money services such as Safaricom’s M-Pesa, Zain’s Zap or YU’s YUcash).

As of August 2010, the Android Market has over 100,000 apps published and to-date and they have collectively been downloaded over 1 billion times to-date. At this juncture, apps are being published to Android Market at a rate of over 10,000 per month. Currently, Android mobile handsets are the fastest growing segment of smartphones globally and they have already eclipsed Apple’s iPhone in terms of the rate of adoption.

However, Nokia at this time is leading in Kenya with its OVI app store which already features several locally developed apps from Kenya. In addition, Samsung is also in the process of developing local apps in Kenya for its Bada platform. The good news is that app developers in Kenya now have more platforms on which they can publish and monetize their apps as well as reach not only local markets but also global markets.

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15 Comments

  1. Nelson Sakwa
    September 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm — Reply

    it cant get any better in the mobile phone scene. Nokia better watch out for the Android army lest they loose the developer mindshare to them.

    Now its time i save some chums in order to enjoy the sweetness that is froyo

  2. Kaz
    September 6, 2010 at 3:25 pm — Reply

    Also I hope we can pay for apps directly using normal pre paid credit, directly on our post paid bills, or using mPesa, as credit card uptake is not high enough to allow most Kenyans to use the normal Google Checkout method.

  3. September 8, 2010 at 3:41 am — Reply

    Paypal in Africa: Kenya users can now receive money…

    The big P of e-commerce, now offers more service to residents of Kenya. Paypal users in Kenya can now receive money via PayPal, and withdraw same to a US bank account if they have one. Though users in Kenya cannot yet withdraw to a local bank account, …

  4. Africaiko
    September 9, 2010 at 7:47 am — Reply

    Just launched today, Kenya News for Android is now public one the Android Martket Place and will be getting more improvements over the coming iterations. Feel free and enjoy Kenya news on your Android device and read it where ever you go. Note it requires internet access (unlimited preferred)

    Africaiko

  5. Kevin
    September 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm — Reply

    how can i get the market application

  6. Kaz
    September 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm — Reply

    When is it actually launched for Kenya? I still can’t access paid market apps legitimately.

    • November 26, 2010 at 1:58 am — Reply

      Me neither… what gives?

  7. September 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm — Reply

    Am quite impressed with this new development. Anyone with ideas on how one can pay the required 25$ registration fee without using credit card ? Preferably an MPesa payment option.

  8. September 28, 2010 at 5:35 am — Reply

    Quick look at the Safaricom website – the Huawei Android is retailing at Kshs 27,000

    http://www.safaricom.com/live/web/categorydetail.php?CategoryID=49&ParentCategoryID=0

    What happened to that 8K story??

    • September 28, 2010 at 11:25 pm — Reply

      @ogwella the model that is supposed to be inexpensive is the IDEOS. I now have more or less reliable info that it will be actually retailing at around Kes. 12,000.00 and not Kes. 8,000.00 as previously blogged. Right now its being tested before being launched in Kenya.

  9. Eric
    November 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm — Reply

    I’ve been using a HTC Desire phone over the last few months and am really happy to see that paid apps are now featuring on the Android Market. Sad that I cannot pay via Google checkout. Anybody have an idea how we can pay? Some of the apps are awesome and I would like to purchase them.

    PS: watch out for Android gingerbread soon. Froyo came and went!

    • November 26, 2010 at 1:56 am — Reply

      It’s all about custom ROMs, dawg. Stock Froyo don’t got nothin’ on the community-tweaked Froyos! Also, watch out for Cyanogen… vanilla android. Pure Linux and Android bliss!

      But yeah… I’m excited for Gingerbread too. Galaxy S!

  10. Julius
    January 26, 2011 at 3:07 am — Reply

    Boss, your write-up been of assistance this morning as i was making a decision on this phone, Safcom doing it at 8,500 KES.Thank you for the info. God bless

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