According to frontline Nigeria developer, Emeka Okoye, I hate poor people. Yes; I am quoting him, and I have his tweet favourited as proof. Here:
Why don’t you like to talk about innovations in chinko phones? Do you hate poor people?cc: @mister_mobility
— Emeka Azuka Okoye (@EmekaOkoye) November 30, 2012
You see, he is Chairman of the Chinko Phone Users Association of Nigeria, a yet to be registered entity that has a powerful spread across the country. The membership of the association is probably more powerful than any of us truly thinks because of the lack of statistics in these parts.
What Is a Chinko Phone?
Emeka says that “Chinko phones has no definition but when you see their hardware or OS you will know them”. That is a hilarious definition. Let me attempt to put some form to that definition. Chinko phones are made-in-China phones that address the bottom of the economic pyramid in Nigeria. They are dirt cheap and this reflects in both the hardware and the software. The hardware often have odd designs. You just KNOW that this is not Nokia or Samsung. But when you switch on a Chinko phone, the audio that greets you confirms further the identitiy of the device you are holding. Loud, un-refined, high-pitched, ear-jarring audio. You cannot miss that. But once the phone is fully booted, the user interface and OS completes the verification process. This is unmistakably a Chinko phone.
Sadly, while a number of Chinko phones carry their own name brands, some others are often passed off as other brands. we call those clones. Remember the fake Samsung Galxay i9300 I reviewed recently? Chinko to the bones.
Innovations from Chinko?
But as basic as Chinko phones are, they have not been without their innovations. DualSIM functionality, anyone? First seen on Chinko phones. Terrestrial TV – that is real TV, not some dumb TV service that requires an internet connection or DVBH standard, ensuring that you never get to use it. First seen on Chinko phones. And Emeka Okoye further nailed it when he offered that with Chinko phones now having 4-SIM capability, who needs number portability?
Emeka also thinks that much more is coming from Chinko land. The next generation of Chinko phones will have wiper to clean the screen after it rains, he said. Awesome! I want one of those.
Chinko Is Here To Stay
Those of us who drool over the next Galaxy or Lumia flagship can go ahead, but with a population of over 150 million people, most of whom earn below $1 a day, Chinko phones are here to stay. How else can someone who does not have N90,000 to splurge on the real Samsung Galaxy S III, get his fix with just N10,000, without the dual-SIM Chinko Galxay I9300?
We are already seeing name brands like Tecno offering sub N15,000 Android powered smartphones. What happens when the Chinko guys start putting a proper OS like Android in their phones? Smartphones for N5,000? Trust me on this one: that is when the smartphone revolution would truly begin, and it is going to be nasty.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.