I have nothing against the VMK Elikia or the Congo where it originates from. Absolutely nothing. But facts are sacred. I am not a great fan of hype over facts, so when I read marketing stuff that describes the VMK Elikia as the first African designed smartphone, I immediately find something else to do. Simple and short: that is a flat out lie. To set the records straight, PlirisMobile’s Blaze was designed here in Nigeria – which the last time I checked is in Africa – and has been in the market since 2010. That’s over two years ago. Here is the original Blaze:
I took the time to have a discussion with Gbenro Ogundipe of Abuja=based Pliris Mobile just to firm up my facts before publishing, and he confirmed the following:
- The Pliris Blaze’s hardware design was done here in Nigeria.
- The software engineering was done here in Nigeria too. That includes the ROM and custom apps built into it.
Pliris custom apps for Android include: Pliris Texty and Yoruba keyboard. PlirisMobile has also recently entered into an agreement with Swiftkey to incorporate their keyboard as default in the new range of Pliris smartphones.
An upgrade to the Blaze has already been launched and has been in the market for many months. That is the Blaze+, pictured below:
Both smartphones have been reviewed here on MOBILITY.
Kindly notify Mashable and others who are carrying this news that they are wrong. The Elikia is certainly NOT the first African designed smartphone. Unless someone else shows up facts that there was one before 2010, that honour goes to the Pliris Blaze. Proudly Nigerian too!
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.