Global mobile carrier, Orange, has just launched the world’s cheapest smartphone. By doing so, they have opened up countless potential opportunities for low-income individuals and their families.

The new device is called Klif and runs on Mozilla’s Firefox 2.0 mobile operating system. Retail has been set at $34, or the equivalent exchange rate in countries where American dollars are not used. Features of Klif include a two megapixel camera, Firefox web browser, an FM radio and full Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth integration.

While smartphones are readily available to Africa’s upper and middle classes, those in lower income brackets are typically unable to afford the devices, let alone the sky-high data plans required to run them. Klif includes a data, text and voice plan, and can be run immediately after activation.

Klif marks a key milestone in the greater tech revolution already occurring across Africa. The device allows for thousands to afford Internet access, and increased connectivity has been shown to increase economic income and output. It also allows for thousands to now contact friends and family in a moment’s notice.

With smartphones and certain apps, farmers can check the weather, nurses and doctors can receive patient updates and students can supplement their learning. As Orange expands its network, even more people will be able to reap the benefits of increased data access.

Orange has released Klif in 13 countries across Africa and the Middle East, with the hopes to enter more markets in the near future.

Executive Vice President of Connected Objects and Partnerships for Orange, Yves Maitre, said of Klif, “By scooping up all the costs into one, incredibly priced digital offer, we hope that critical access to the mobile internet and all the opportunities that that opens up, will be within reach of many more people.”

With Klif and increased mobile access in general, developing countries have more potential to catch up with the top nations of the world.

Joe Kitaj

Sources: CNET, It News Africa
Photo: Wired

The Little Sun Charge, a solar­-powered phone charger, is finding success on Kickstarter. The project was launched as a part of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4All), originated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, which aims to ensure global access to modern energy services by 2030.

The Little Sun Charge is powered entirely by solar power and charges phones in less than five hours. Other conventional solar-powered phone chargers require between eight and twenty hours to charge a phone. The device is barely larger than a smartphone and uses a USB port, so it can power other electronic devices as well.

While marketed on Kickstarter for travelers, hikers, campers and freelancers, Little Sun Charge has particular relevance for those who live off-grid. With this device, phone ownership is a greater possibility, as those individuals could have a means to power their phone. Currently, 1.1 billion people live without access to electricity.

The project was initiated by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson and Danish entrepreneur and engineer Frederic Ottesen.

The Kickstarter project has a fundraising goal of 50,000 Euros by the end of September; it is currently at 40,000 Euros and is expected to meet its goal. Proceeds from the project go towards support solar power initiatives in Africa and the SE4All Initiative.

Little Sun Charge is the second Little Sun project; the first was an LED lamp. 200,000 of these Little Sun LED lamps have been distributed in Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan and the United states in addition to 10 African countries, including Zimbabwe, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Both devices aim to support sustainable energy initiatives in Africa, especially solar entrepreneurship.

The charger is expected to be released in March 2016 at a retail price of 120 Euros. ­

– Priscilla McCelvey

Sources: Climate Action Programme, Wired,
Photo: api.ning