Kenyan-designed smartphone hits the market

Friday April 1 2016

Synergy Innovations' Michael Asola, the brains behind Kenyan-made smartphone dubbed Silk Patriot. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI

Synergy Innovations' Michael Asola, the brains behind Kenyan-made smartphone dubbed Silk Patriot. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI 

By MBUGUA NGUNJIRI

A Kenyan telecommunications firm is determined to crack the lucrative and highly competitive mobile phone market with its invention dubbed Silk Patriot.

“We want to offer our clients a high quality smartphone, which is at par with the best there is in the market,” said Michael Asola, the brains behind the phone.

Silk Patriot is designed in Kenya by Synergy Innovations Ltd but is currently being assembled in China.

“We have acquired land along the Thika Superhighway, next to Safaricom’s M-Pesa Academy, where we are planning to set up our assembly plant, which will in turn mean more jobs for Kenyans,” said Asola.

For starters, Silk uses a Qualcom processor, the same system being used by top-of-the-range phones globally such as the Samsung J7, Lenovo and HTC.

Most people looking to buy phones, he explained, are on the lookout for affordability.

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“You may buy that phone cheaply but it will eventually cost you more, what with the need for constant repairs,” he added.

The five and half-inch touch screen Silk Patriot is currently selling at Ksh25,000 ($250). Apart from having a longer battery life, the phone comes with 4GB internal memory expandable to 32 GB and 1GB RAM. It has an 8MP back camera and well as a 2MP front camera.

The firm has outlets in high end malls, in Nairobi, like Garden City along the Thika Superhighway.

At the moment, Asola and his team are targeting corporates, to move the phone.

“We are already in talks with Safaricom here in Kenya, MTN and Airtel in Uganda, Tigo in Tanzania, so that Silk can be sold through their outlets,” he said.

“We also plan to enter the SADC market through Vodafone South Africa, as well as the South Sudan market.”

Before setting up Synergy Innovations, he worked with international telecommunications companies like Personal Communications Devices in New York, Cellon Communications Technology in China and Antel Communications in New York.

Synergy Innovations plans to diversify its products to include smart TVs, home theatres, in vehicle entertainment, smart refrigeration, desktop computers, laptops as well as air conditioners.

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