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

VMK Elikia Not First African Designed Smartphone

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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:

  1. The Pliris Blaze’s hardware design was done here in Nigeria.
  2. 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!


  1. Attempting to refute all misinformation and hype in the world would take too much energy.

    if it does not make a dent in my hide, I would just let it slide…

  2. I guess this could be a question of who makes more noise. The people behind VMK Elikia could have sold the lie to Mashable. I mean, they could have supplied them with a review device coupled with the idea that they are the first to come from Africa.

    Another one could be that they have the financial muscle to do extensive marketing that somehow caught the attention of the guys At Mashable. You know, for instance, Pliris Blaze is almost unknown in Computer Village at Ikeja and when your name or product is not popular in CV, it probably means you are not doing enough marketing. And well, another factor could be that of pricing. If you can’t compete with the established names like Samsung, Sony, HTC and LG in the pricing department, your product will find it difficult making a real dent.

  3. OK so pliris was first but tell me where can i (who does not live in Nigeria buy it?) In Europe you can but VMK’s elikia for 128 (without contract) euros and coming this fall we Canadians and Americans can buy it for 170 dollars. Not to mention that VMK has started their own app store.

    I dont think it really matters who first made a smartphone in Africa but who get’s their product to the international market in the hopes of rivaling the likes of samsung and apple? THAT matters.

  4. The Elikia is definitely not the first African smartphone…we have had the now defunct Anabel series based on the Windows Mobile OS. This mis-information is a result of strong marketing efforts on the part of the purveyors of the Elikia brand.

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