Two former Wits university students, are set to launch South Africa’s first locally manufactured smartphone in August this year.
The T-Touch smartphone was conceptualised by former Witsies Karabo Masenyadiloana and Thulani Khoza through Khoza’s company Thules Telecoms.
Apart from its industry-standard functions such as calling, texting and browsing the internet amongst other things, the T-Touch smartphone also comes with a unique security software system to protect it from hackers. “We’ve invested a lot in developing the cybersecurity and making sure that it is competitive worldwide and not just within the South African borders,” said Masenyadiloana, a BA graduate.
The T-Touch smartphone is based on the Samsung smartphone and the company aims to cater to a wide range of the market. The smartphone runs on Google’s Android operating system but according to Masenyadiloana, will also have an “iOS feel”.
The duo hope to encourage the use of locally produced apps. “Our concentration has been that it’s an African brand, it needs African backing, so it needs African developers,” said Masenyadiloana.
The smartphone has already received about 50 000 pre-orders from Ghana alone and some from Mexico.
Thules Telecoms has plans to build two manufacturing plants through which they would provide about 2500 direct jobs.
Masenyadiloana said they are hoping to reverse the trend in the technology industry where Africans are consumers and importers rather than producers.
“We live in an era where Africans are called consumers and it’s painful when you look at a lot of the inventions that were conceptualised by African minds going oversees to get them recognised prior to applying the trade down this side,” he said.