A few weeks ago we wrote about Ixar Mobile. At the time we looked at the company’s presence in a very different field from what will look at today – a cellphone repair academy.
Yes, that same Ixar which offers cellphone repairs now offers a smart feature phone – the Pace X which has Kai OS. The nerds amongst you already know what Kai OS is but for the uninitiated Kai OS is a Linux based operating system that “brings the best of smartphones to affordable devices”. At least that’s what the developers claim.
Long story short, what this means is that phones that we commonly refer to as Kambudzi (basic phone) can run WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter if it has Kai OS.
Ixar is offering one such device – the Pace X and for US$35 you get a phone that supports all the apps listed above & more (Google Assistant & Google Maps), has WiFi support and is 3G enabled.
Founder of Ixar Mobile, Tinofara Mutovongi explained that their target was to sell a device that Zimbabweans can actually afford:
If we convert the salaries of many people in this country, they don’t earn US$90 or above (around the average price of a brand new smartphone). What we’re doing is providing the most affordable alternative to such a device – why spend such a fortune when you can get the same applications and same experience on a cheaper device?Tinofara Mutovongi
Without having tested the Pace X just as yet – it’s hard to say for sure whether or not these applications will perform similarly to smartphones. Ultimately though, Tinofara makes a valid point and Kai OS’s growing popularity in price-sensitive markets does seem to indicate that there is an appetite for such a device.
When you consider that people looking for a basic phone are already paying in the region of US$20-US$40 for basic feature-phones, one that has WhatsApp in the same price range is definitely more appealing.
Is Ixar manufacturing the phones?
Simply put no. They design the phones – decide what the phone will look like, the specs and functionality of the device and then the device is manufactured in China by a partner.
Ixar’s founder explained that they took this path because manufacturing costs associated with making the devices locally are something they simply can’t afford right now.
Buying the device
Ixar Mobile’s Pace X pre-order page has already gone up and if you pre-order the device it will start shipping around 15 July. Of course, if you’re hesitant to pre-order you can just wait until the device is on sale and your US$35 will get you one unit with colour options including red, blue, white and black.
Update: Ixar Mobile has mentioned that they will no longer be taking pre-orders for the Pace X.
Once the device is out and if the budget-permits we will get our hands on the Pace X and do a full-review.