The new year is here and OEMs are ready to bring in new flagships, mid-range, and entry-level smartphones. Transsion Holding brands; Infinix, Tecno and Itel dominate the African market with a huge fan base in Nigeria.
Last year saw Oppo and Xiaomi entries into the Nigerian market posing a threat to the likes of Infinix and Tecno. We can call the radical changes in the design of their (Infinix and Tecno) phones a response to what Oppo and Xiaomi have to offer. Umidigi is still somehow far off and HMD Global’s Nokia is still in the mix.
Having used, tested and recommended some of these OEM’s devices (except Oppo), here are my observations and what I feel they should improve on.
Tecno, Infinix, and Itel.
I started using Tecno in the days of Tecno D2, then I switched to M3, P5, L5 and the likes. Also, my first Infinix gadget was the Infinix Hot 4 Lite, and since then I have used about two other series with the current one in my possession being the Hot 7 Pro.
I was a huge fan and Transsion devices were always my first choice till I learned about phone specifications (especially hardware specifications) and I began to avoid them.
Recently though we have seen a decline in 1GB RAM variants of their devices that comes with 1.3GHz quad-core processors (shudders) and that is a very much welcomed development.
Dear Transsion, I think it is time you bring back the Android One program (used in Infinix Note 5) or at least feed us with OS updates and Upgrades. Part of the main reason I dislike Infinix and Tecno Products is knowing I will be stuck with one OS until I am done with the gadget.
The Infinix Hot 7 pro is such a nice device but it is a shame it won’t get an Android 10 upgrade. OS upgrade for at least one version will not low down sale, rather, it will help convert those who have stayed off your products just because the OS cant be upgraded.
Just imagine what sales will be like when the Tecno Pouvior 3 Plus with its 6000mAh battery 4GB/64GB memory options and The Camon series, The Infinix S series and Hot series having guaranteed OS upgrades to at least the next version of Android.
For Itel though, their market has been limited by their bulky design and below acceptable specifications. I have used the Itel P51 and knows how heavy it is. In fact, it is the most disliked device in my locality.
The S15 redesign has really helped a lot to show that the phone is catching up to trend. The Itel S15 Pro would have been my recommended device for early smartphone users if the battery was bumped up. Besides, it was prettier than most other devices within its price range.
At this point though, even if you guys choose to abandon the Itel brand, Just Give us OS upgrades on Infinix and Tecno, we deserve it.
HMD Global’s Nokia already has a potential market in Nigeria (talk about the days of 3310 Canoe soap and 1110 rock with me) but not many people are convinced about using their latest smartphone products. I wouldn’t blame them though.
First of all there is the lack of adequate publicity. From Robinson Plaza, Warri to Akpodiete Junction in Ughelli (Delta State) to Oba Market Benin City, you hardly find any shop with Nokia banners. This is one thing that should be fixed.
Another issue is the lack of replaceable parts in the market. This is one of the reasons Tanssion Holdings dominates in Nigeria. Most people buy smartphones with the hope that they can easily get parts to fix their gadgets when it is broken.
But the greatest trouble will be missing features. The removal of the front LED flash in most devices will only make more people avoid your products (Nigerians love selfie cameras with flash even though they rarely snap at night). That screen flash is not enough. You can learn from the Tecno Camon 12 LED positions.
Also, I wouldn’t patronize a company that deems it fit to remove the Fingerprint sensors (Nokia C1 and 2.3) off its smartphones priced around $100-$150. Yeah, I am not a fan of Face ID. Oh, and the 3000mAh – 3500mAh batteries just don’t cut it anymore.
On the bright side though, I am grateful that I will be getting the planned Android 10 upgrade on my Nokia 3.1 Plus. From Android 8.1 to Android 9 and now expecting Android 10, sweet.
The issue is, if Transsion picks up this OS update thingy, then its bye-bye to your market share in Nigeria.
When I saw Umidigi’s deal with Jumia about a year ago, I was ecstatic. Then the A3 series was still in Vogue and a few months later, the A5 came into play. Running to Jumia store and seeing the huge price difference was sad.
As a fan, seeing devices that will never make it to Nigeria hurts. I mean, insane specifications for a much lower price than what Transsion brands are offering. I was ready to use their devices and see for myself.
Till date, Jumia only lists Umidigi’s smartphones after about a year of release (the F1 only made it into their catalog recently) and at a much higher price. The alternative to Jumia is Aliexpress, money is hard to come by and no one is willing to wait 30 days plus for a smartphone. DHL is not cheap either.
If Umidigi is really serious about the Nigerian market, then it wouldn’t hurt to try and sell directly without fully depending on Jumia. The F1, A5 pro and Power 3 would have already become the best sellers in Nigeria given their crazy specifications and price range. At the time of their release, there were few worthy rivals.
Can you please come already? Also, bring smartphone parts along.
Redmi’s entrance into Nigeria was celebrated and highly welcomed. It gave brands like Tecno and Infinix a good reason to upgrade their devices. Redmi’s devices are great amongst others but the problem is still little publicity outside Lagos.
My only regret after getting the Nokia 3.1 plus device was seeing the Redmi 7 at a local store. I mean who wouldn’t be sad to miss out on the MIUI skin, gestures, and other cool specifications. A little increase in publicity in the South-South geopolitical zone will definitely see an increase in sales. Running an advert on Supersports and Zeeworld will surely make surely cover that. Nigerians don’t miss football matches or telenovelas for anything.
I really want to see this brand succeed, it makes it easier to have options when shopping for a smartphone.
Oppo’s came with a bang and were serious about business. Their partnership with the just concluded Big Brother Nigeria and some sports talk shows gave them a platform to advertise their phones. I was impressed.
If anything I would have loved to see some Realme devices too. Part of Transsion’s dominance is due to having a smartphone for almost every reasonable price range in Nigeria.
While most of the population may feel Oppo is a bit over priced (can’t blame us, the minimum wage has not been effected), its Realme offshoot should easily be affordable within the country.
You know what, just bring in the Realme brand. There is enough room for everyone.
I really do hope more brands will see a potential market in Nigeria as we have a large youth population. Due to power issues in the country, the battery specifications are as important as hardware specifications and camera.
The quick availability of spare parts in local markets also affects the choice of most users in this country. Since brands like Redmi, Nokia, Oppo and the rest already have the OS upgrades figured out, a little more publicity and making these repair centers/materials available might increase their share in the market.