Microsoft and Huawei bring the smartphone battle to Africa

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There are over 1 billion people in Africa. And Microsoft wants to sell them all Windows Phones.

Teaming up with Huawei, Microsoft is introducing the Huawei 4Afrika, a $150 device that will enter a mobile phone market largely dominated by crummy feature phones.

A tweaked version of the Huawei Ascend, the phone has a four-inch screen, 4GB storage, and a dual-core processor. It also comes in four colors —  blue, red, black, and white.

The phone’s introduction is a part of Microsoft’s larger Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, which essentially is about making more Africans daily Internet users. A big part of that effort is the smartphone, which more Africans can use to get online without the need for established wired infrastructure.

The move also has a business angle, of course. By expanding the Windows Phone footprint in Africa, Microsoft and its hardware partners will have more people to sell their devices and software to.

“We believe there has never been a better time to invest in Africa and that access to technology — particularly cloud services and smart devices — can and will serve as a great accelerator for African competitiveness,” Microsoft International president Jean-Philippe Courtois said in a statement today.

The Huawei 4Afrika should hit Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa by the end of this month.

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