Huawei launches Windows smartphone exclusive to Africa

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The Chinese manufacturer has partnered with Microsoft to launch a customised Ascend W1, to be available in southern Africa initially

Huawei has unveiled a bespoke Windows smartphone exclusively available in Africa.

The launch is part of Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative, which includes plans to develop cheap wireless broadband in the Rift Valley in Kenya and help local people in South Africa and Egypt develop Windows apps.

The handset – which can be left on stand-by for up to 420 hours between charges – is a customised Huawei Ascend W1, unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month.

The manufacturer became the world’s third largest smartphone vendor in the last quarter of 2012, behind Apple and Samsung.

Microsoft Windows Phone director of Middle East and Africa Gustavo Fuchs said the product will first be made available in Southern Africa, adding the objective of the scheme was to increase smartphone penetration in the continent.

“Affordability is important but without the right local content we believe a lot of users will not see the benefit in the change from a basic feature phone to a smartphone,” said Fuchs.

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