Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

Nyaradzo logo

Will the Ubuntu phone catch on in Zimbabwe?

ubutu-edgeWe have all heard the talk of how all or most our computing is going to shift to smartphones and tablets by the year so and so. The truth is I am still to encounter anyone who is willing to give up their traditional device, Desktop PC or Laptop, for any of these so called modern platforms. Some of the reasons are a result of completely irrational intransigence but one of the most common reasons given is that a great deal number of tasks are still difficult to perform on a tablet or smartphone. Examples  of such tasks are Word Processing, Graphic designing, Website designing, Video editing etc. For all these problems Ubuntu Phone might just offer a compromise.

It has been a while since the Ubuntu Phone was announced earlier this year and its creators were quite careful to inform consumers that it might be a while until they could buy the phone. This week Canonical, the guys behind the Phone and Ubuntu, launched what will be the biggest and most ambitious campaign on the crowdsourcing site Indiegogo to raise money to start production. The target is to raise $32 million and they have already breached the $3.5 million mark with 29 days remaining. It is telling however that Canonical’s founder chose this route instead of funding the project himself, it might be that Canonical is using the exercise to gauge the market’s interest as well. So far it appears people are very interested.

The Smartphone and tablets market is pretty saturated at the moment but I believe Ubuntu have a card up in their sleeve that might prove to be the dealmaker here in Zimbabwe. The Ace is their docking feature, when the phone is docked it turns into a full blown PC which can be connected to a monitor or TV and run native desktop apps. This will enable people to do some of those PC oriented tasks mentioned before such as Word Processing with increased ease. In a country where money is hard to come by it might be worthwhile to combine your phone and computer into one device. There is even great news for those of us who have developed quite a bond with Android, the proposed design for the Ubuntu Edge phone has the ability to boot into Android when required.

Although a prototype is still yet to be realised Canonical has been offering the Ubuntu for Android for those folks with high end Android Phones. This enables the phones to be turned into PCs. The required specifications  kind of limited the access to the feature however and perhaps the Ubuntu Phone will change that.

Whether or not the Ubuntu Phone will catch up here in Zimbabwe when it is released still remains to be seen. In the meantime you can use your current Android device to test the touted feature and give us some feedback. You can also visit the Indiegogo page and contribute to the Ubuntu Edge Phone’s campaign.

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

16 thoughts on “Will the Ubuntu phone catch on in Zimbabwe?

  1. the docking functionality is a great innovation that might just make desktop pc’s obsolete in mature markets. not also forgeting the other dark horse in the mobile os market – Firefox OS, the future looks interesting especially with Firefox take on mobile apps

  2. In ZIm, this phone will have to scale the following hurdles:
    a) Price. This is a high end device and with the current spending patterns in Zim, this will exclude this device from mass adoption
    b)There a very few geeks who get under the hood. The attraction of this phone is to tinker with linux, not to do office/biz applications. Zim has a very small population of software gurus who love to code at that level. Most of us want to get business apps that pay. Thus we go .NET.
    c)Phones are user drive. Linux has failed as a user os, i.e. on the desktop. It thrives on the server side coz server os are geek driven. Phones are not.
    d)Timing. If it comes in the last half of 2014, my guess is that win 8.1 phones would have made progress, especially on the biz side. Dislodging Win, Android and others will take something special, not just hardware spects.

    1. There a very few geeks who get under the hood. The attraction of this phone is to tinker with linux, not to do office/biz applications. Zim has a very small population of software gurus who love to code at that level. Most of us want to get business apps that pay. Thus we go .NET

      .Net desktop applications are still a thing? It might be that I don’t hang around in non-.Net circles, but I think PHP/MySQL devs outnumber .Net devs by at least 5-to-1 (even in Zim).

      I know anecdotes are not data, but the majority of apps that are being developed by people I know are not desktop apps, but web applications. Hell, even banks use browser-based applications. Considering the go-to stack for web applications is PHP/MySQL, I’d say the ubuntu phone in Docked mode might be a killer (all your apps are on http://localhost, data backed to MySQL db & exportable)

      1. You wrong on the .NET being out numbered. TechZim did a survey on languages used and respondents included PhP if I am correct. .NET cam tops.

        1. I do not recall such an article (on – not the answers subdomain). Google can’t find the article using the obvious keywords. In light of my incompetence at googling stuff, could you kindly provide the link to the survey?

          1. Don’t have the link. Just ask the techzim guys, Ithink Soul is the one who polled languages. If he can’t remember then you just have to take my word for that. There are many situations in life where on non life and death situations you have to trust human beings. We are not yet past that I hope.

            1. The first thing High School science taught me is to never trust human senses, so sorry – we were never ‘there’ in order to get past it. I like seeing numbers: sample size, methods and all that hocus-pocus. Even a declaration saying “it was an informal poll” so that I know how seriously I can take the information (just as I qualified that my conjecture is based on my limited social circles).

              5:1 is an extreme position, I’ll admit, but I’m yet to find a poll that suggests that .Net is more popular than PHP. FWIW, using .Net over PHP in Zim outside formal work projects doesn’t make sense to me (i.e. I’m talking about the ‘startup’ crowd that TechZim seems to favour). Where are you going to deploy your project? There are absolutely more web-hosting companies that can host PHP application than can host .Net applications, for less money.

              1. We obviously see the world through different views. In mine I trust first until I have reasons not to trust. I respect your view on both languages and trust. As for figures on languages, like I said try Soul from Techzim. I am sure he is likely to remember the informal poll he did (and the result). If he does not, then I think you can decide whether I misled you or not. I also think 5:1 is not extreme. It is likely to be simply wrong ( based on a)the informal survey results fro techzim b)the CV’s I get in my consulting projects where I place programmers in Zim and Bots c) the training from tertiary institution in the region – am currently involved in implementing ASAS, one of the leading University administration ERPs in the world and certainly in South Africa, thus I do interact with those that churn out graduates software developers and indications are there is very little PHP there.)

              2. Sorry Tapiwa I forgot to reply on where I am going to deploy my application. Am likely to use SA based Amazon clouding resources. Though the app is web based, it is targeting decision makers. The theme of the app is to coach executives on how to make their investments in ICT contribute towards improving shareholder value, You might be aware that in Africa, windows still holds sway in the enterprise desktop. I will be working with executives to leverage that statistic (and a lot of other interesting ones) as they provide leadership in enterprise computing. You might be interested to know that last week I was in an office with one geek, one business development manager and one CEO. The CEO instructed the Biz dev manager to get quotes on Samsung Tabs and android phones since he wanted to develop a BYOD policy. I convinced both to go on Surface/Nokia Lumia since they were pursuing a business strategy not a FMCG based on lots of consumer users. This is one of the reasons why I promote Win. It pays me moderately and keeps decision makers happy.

              3. sheish dude – it’s not an e-peen measuring contest. I get it: you’ve got .Net geek cred, no need to hit me over the head with it, repeatedly. I too have an important-slash-special job.

                There’s enough room for Microsoft & non-Microsoft tech, I am a believer in the right tool for the right job, but I stay away from jobs that necessitate Microsoft software, for ideological reasons. I was in the Microsoft camp back in the VB6 and early .Net days, and consciously decided to change platforms (to FOSS languages really, first, to Java, then to Perl, Php and Python)

                (ideology) is the reason why I use, and promote Free (libre) software. I’m happy with what it pays me, and it keeps the decision makers (especially when it comes to annual licensing fees of $0.00)

                P/S: have you noticed that Amazon charges 30-50% more for Windows EC2 compared to Linux instances?

  3. We eerily seem to be on diametric opposites on everything: like a comic book hero & his nemesis. I disagree with almost every position you take. Let’s agree to disagree and save on keystrokes.

    P/S: I contribute plenty. I was a fervent Firefox 3 evangelist in the days leading up to the official release. My efforts yielded at least 15 installs among my college-mates & possibly many others. I have multiple projects on Github (not actively maintained, but they are out there for anyone who might want them). However, in my value system, all of this is not as important as my contribution to mindshare. I will not use my brain, or allow my brain to be used in ways that benefit, encourage or otherwise condone Microsoft’s hegemony. This means declining jobs, choosing non-MS software/solutions & spreading the word. This is my way of boycotting Microsoft for the heinous way they behaved in the past. I’m not a “Linux geek”, I’m a conscientious objector- this is enough to be proud of. Tell me – is there any pride in being a mercenary?

    1. I suppose you also object to Microsoft’s social responsibility programme, especially on Aids/HIV (see There might be an open source proponent with an equal, or even better programme, but I know them not! As for their hegemony and distroying employment, I think you do not appreciate the amount of jobs created by microsoft, directly through their distributor/channel network and indirectly through the lives they save with their social responsibility programmes.. As a guy who claims he wants to see figures, I pose the question how many jobs has Microsoft destroyed.

      And you are the open source geek I respect, since you contribute back to the society. On that we agree. I don’t believe in saving keystrokes for the sake of it. If you comment on my contribution, I will always comment back as long as there is something to say, On that maybe we differ.

  4. the price $6xx is not bad since this phone is far better than iphone or s4

    but am sure in less than 2 years we’ll see new ubuntu converged phones for like $400 or less.

Comments are closed.