Smartphones made in Kenya

Smartphones Made in Kenya

In October 2023, Kenya through President William Ruto, launched the Neon brand of locally assembled smartphones. The 4G-enabled Neon 5-inch and the 6.5-inch are dubbed “Smarta” and “Ultra” respectively.

They were developed through a joint venture between Safaricom, Jamii Telecommunications (Faiba), and Chinese firm Shenzhen TeleOne Technology. East Africa Device Assembly Kenya Limited (EADAK) is tasked with the assembly of the devices. EADAK, based in Athi River, is Kenya’s first-ever mobile assembly plant.

Smartphones Made in Kenya
President Ruto with Safaricom Head of Ventures and EADAK Project Lead, Karanja Gichiri during EADAK official launch in October 2023

The production is a part of the Kenya Kwanza government’s digital literacy program, which has so far trained over three hundred thousand people. The partnership aims to scale up 4G network penetration, driving up connectivity and mobile data usage as well as support the government’s digitalization agenda. These devices will help achieve the government’s agenda.

High-Quality Smartphones

“The launch of EADAK reaffirms our belief in the power of connectivity to transform lives and drive economic progress. This partnership underscores our relentless pursuit to expand access to 4G and empower Kenyans through affordable, high quality smartphones, create job opportunities and grow our economy,” said Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer during the official launch.

Speaking at a conference at Aga Khan in April, ICT Cabinet Secretary, Eliud Owalo, said Kenyans have bought over 260, 000 of the government-backed smartphones since the first batch was released in October of 2023. This represents 80% of the total consignment.

The Neon Smarta is not high-end, it’s designed for people trying to get their hands on their first smartphones. They are entry-level devices with faster access to 4G connectivity, mobile internet, stable live streams, and clearer video calls.

Neon Smarta Specs

  • Screen: 5″ inches
  • Memory: 2GB RAM, 32GB ROM
  • Dual SIM
  • Colour: Black

Neon Ray Ultra Specs

  • Screen: 6.5″ inches
  • Network: 2G/3G/4G
  • 60 Hz IPS LCD
  • 480p display
  • 3750 mAh non-removable battery
  • Dual camera: back 8MP & 2MP, selfie camera 5MP. 

The devices are available countrywide at dealer stores, Faiba and Safaricom outlets, and their Masoko online platform. The device’s retail price is KES 7,500 for Neon Smarta and 8, 900 for Neon Ray Ultra, $10 above its earlier proposed price.

Safaricom’s Head of Ventures Karanja Gichiri, EADAK Project Lead, blamed the “higher” prices on the new taxes on mobile phones. The taxes were introduced in the Finance Act, of 2023, pushing the price up 40%.