Inexpensive smartphones are enabling mobile subscribers to access the internet at unprecedented levels across the African continent. However, it’s a challenge to keep mobile devices powered up, especially when access to electricity is often expensive, and unreliable. It is estimated that as many as 600 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity, with the electrification rate as low as 14.2% in rural areas. Solar energy can be an economically and environmentally competitive option that can contribute significantly to this scenario.
Today, Dotsavvy is delighted to launch its breakthrough innovation – JuaSimu – the world’s first solar-powered smartphone, made in Kenya. Dotsavvy’s research and development team has been working in stealth for almost 3 years developing a smartphone that is uniquely suited for Africa where access to reliable and affordable electricity can be challenging. JuaSimu is unique in that it has been designed from the bottom up to be a smartphone that relies solely on solar power.
The JuaSimu screen is an integrated solar panel that charges the battery whenever its exposed to the sun. The JuaSimu does not come with any charging cables or adaptors since it works directly from solar energy which is abundant for most of the year in Africa. Dotsavvy closely with Tesla Motors to develop a unique battery for the JuaSimu that can last longer and requires shorter charging cycles to achieve a full day of operating capacity. This battery technology is so cutting edge that Dotsavvy has patented the same.
Valentine Mghoi, User Experience Lead at Dotsavvy says, “JuaSimu is a massive breakthrough in terms of what a modern smartphone should be for African consumers taking into consideration our unique market conditions. JuaSimu is a mid-range Android smartphone and yet it packs amazing features in a cost-effective and high performance package. The seamless and refined user experience from the hardware to the software makes it look and work like most great smartphones, except JuaSimu is a one of a kind in that it only works using solar energy”.
Kenneth Ikiara, General Manager at Dotsavvy, says, “For almost 15 years the focus at Dotsavvy has been in digital solutions that enhance business performance. JuaSimu is our first foray in a consumer hardware offering which was a completely new experience for us compared to what we normally do. We had to work with global partners like Google and Tesla Motors to bring it to life. We are delighted to have made JuaSimu a reality after three years of hard work by our team”.
JuaSimu will be available from today the 1st April 2017 at all major supermarkets and mobile phone dealerships at an introductory launch price of Kes. 10,000.00 only. In addition, the first 1,000 buyers of JuaSimu smartphones will get a chance to win an all-expenses paid holiday to South Africa if they buy one by the end of August 2017. JuaSimu will also be available beyond Kenya from the 1st July 2017 in markets like Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.