Disproving commonly held misconceptions about mobile technology in Africa, mobile social network 2go has achieved over 2 million monthly active users on its Android app in just over a year. Head of product at 2go Peter Lockhart says the milestone reached by 2go for Android, which was launched mid-2013, is yet again positive proof that the African smartphone marketplace is not only viable, but thriving.
According to Lockhart 80% of African users own a feature phone and building for these devices will still be important in emerging markets for several years to come. But Lockhart explains that the landscape is changing largely due to the introduction of low-end smartphones powered by Google’s Android operating system.
“Though nowhere near an iPhone in terms of capacity, these low-end smartphones – sometimes retailing for less than US$50 – have radically changed the marketplace. This is why when we decided to launch a 2go smartphone app we decided to develop for Android,” says Lockhart.
Lockhart adds that the app’s success is due to 2go being cognizant of the realities of developing for the African marketplace.
“Our understanding of the market – price sensitive users, expensive mobile data, low bandwidth networks and a fragmented Android base – means that 2go is purpose-built for emerging markets. Our technology and ability to build technology that addresses these realities has been key to 2go for Android’s success.”
2go is a mobile messenger and social network with over 50 million registered users and 10 million monthly active users across Africa, sending over six billion messages per month.
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