Following the lead of co-founder Bill Gates Microsoft is taking more interest in Africa, announcing its 4Afrika Initiative with a stated aim of improving the continent’s global competitiveness. There are several plans under way as a part of the project, with one of the first being a new Windows Phone 8 device from Microsoft and Huawei. Pictured above, the Huawei 4Afrika phone is a specially tailored version of the existing Ascend W1 meant as an affordable option (no price announced yet) for first time smartphone buyers that also comes preloaded with apps created by African developers for African consumers, and a subsection of the existing Windows Phone Store that will continue to focus on “locally-relevant” apps and content. It will be available in blue, red, black and white when it launches later this month in Angola, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, and South Africa.
Another part of the push is a pilot project Microsoft is working on with the Kenyan government and Indigo Telecom which combines solar powered base stations using TV white space technology to offer affordable wireless internet access. Meant to bring broadband to places that currently lack even electricity, the deployment is called Mawingu, connecting a healthcare clinic and several schools in its initial test. After several years of pushing the tech, which takes advantage of unused TV broadcast spectrum, Microsoft hopes to convince other nations to make the legal/regulatory changes to start using it as well. There’s a press release after the break with more details, as well as a video and more information available beyond the source links.
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Microsoft launches 4Afrika initiative with Huawei W1 variant, TV white space broadband project