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Spark, the ideal name for TECNO’s sortie into Africa

Premier smartphone brand TECNO Mobile, owned by Transsion Holdings, has already established a strong presence in the ultra-competitive Africa market, and according to its research, it beat off dominant force Samsung for the number of devices sold in the fourth quarter of 2020 – despite a 6.7% year-on-year fall in Africa’s smartphone shipments in 2020 due to COVID-19.

TECNO Mobile and itel Mobile have doubled their cumulative market share in the second quarter of 2021.

The brands point to a report from Counterpoint Technology Market Research’s Market Pulse service which shows the TRANSSION Holdings-owned brands grew from 16% to 32% in the second quarter with a strong push on the lower-priced segment in Africa.

Not surprising … if one uses a TECNO device it is clear why the neatly packaged, straightforward but powerful smartphone is gaining traction.

No one left behind

And that is because it doesn’t want to leave anyone out – especially young, tech-savvy but price-conscious consumers across Africa.

Clearly the message from TECNO is that you don’t have to be a techie to actually enjoy the product, it is especially designed for the emerging, fast-growth market.

But it remains a competitive market. Smartphone shipments into Africa grew 13.2% year-on-year in Q2 2021 to total 22.8 million devices, according to recent insight by the International Data Corporation (IDC).

The firm's Worldwide Quarterly Global Mobile Phone Tracker shows that feature phone shipments increased 11.8% over the same period to total 26.7 million units. With 54.0% share in Q2 2021, feature phones continue to account for the majority of the African mobile phone market due to their relative affordability and durability.

Senior research analyst at IDC Arnold Ponela said, "After a year of unprecedented market conditions, Africa’s smartphone market is showing signs of recovery from the economic damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The region's largest smartphone markets each contributed to the overall growth in Q2 2021, with Nigeria (+36.7%), Egypt (+24.6%), and South Africa (+10.5%) all recording strong year-on-year increases in shipments."

The fact is that TECNO has been in the Africa market for a long time and has managed to strengthen its position.

It attributes the strength of its brand to sales networks in fragmented semi-urban and rural areas, which it says larger competitors typically overlooked.

The commercial relationships TECNO cultivates tend to be long-term, resulting in goodwill from local partners and customers.

According to Q2 2021 figures, TECNO is mainly dominant in Sub-Saharan African countries, including Ghana (24%), Kenya (20%) and Nigeria (24%).

It’s just got that Spark

It would be fair to say that in addition to price, the look and feel of smartphone devices ranks right up there when it comes to decision making among consumers.

The Spark 7 Pro is sleek and sophisticated in appearance, and boasts the dynamic 48MP Clear Triple Camera and new Helio G80 chipset, the Spark 7 Pro is touted as a device that “delivers a captivating cinematic experience” through a bigger and better 6.6-inch edge-to-edge display, complete with Super Night Mode.

And the specs deliver… it’s refreshing to see that it was is marketed is actually what one experiences!

Its 5000m Ah battery retains phone power for an incredible 14 days without recharging, making those days of frustration over dark screens, a thing of the past for the go-getter who is burning the midnight oil or frequent traveller who needs to stay connected.

Stephen Ha, General Manager of TECNO Mobile, says the company is highly focused on what younger generations want from their smartphones.

“We aim to provide them the best of contemporary technology in artistic designs and elegant taste. The TECNO Spark 7 series reflects our promise to Gen Z and tertiary students by offering advanced technology such as bigger and better displays and 48MP Clear Triple Cameras to bring an immersive cinema experience to their fingertips. With the Spark 7 Pro, you can connect to the world around you faster than ever before.”

The Spark 7 Pro’s 6.6-inch clear screen has a 90Hz refresh rate, which helps tremendously with navigation, and one doesn’t struggle in being able to access and manipulate multiple applications.

It is equipped with SoC Helio G80, an all-new 2.0GHz, Octa-core processor and dedicated 950MHz graphics unit, which means it benchmarks at twice the speed of the previous generation.

The effect is that animations are smoother, apps load quicker and photos are sharper.

Other features packed into the competitively-priced smartphone include:

Bluetooth Audio Share 2.0: With Bluetooth Audio Share 2.0, users can spread their love of music to even more people. Get the party started whenever, wherever and let friends and family join in;

3 variants 128+4GB/64+6GB/64+4GB, and 5000mAh battery: The Spark 7 Pro offers long-lasting storage and power which guarantees more storage space for photographs, limits freezing, lagging and prompts about storage capacity almost being reached. The 5000mAh battery retains phone power for 14 days without any recharging.

Built-on Android 11, HiOS7.5: This offers a rich and fun experience with an extensive and immersive collection of features such as the Custom Timing Dark Theme, Chat Bubbles, Video Assistant, App Twin and more.

HiOS 7.5’s Chat Bubbles help to minimise skipping apps and closing apps to respond to a message. It means users can keep relevant chat notifications at the forefront in bubbles that float on the screen. These can easily be tapped to read and respond to apps without users having to leave the current page.

“Positive momentum from the end of 2020 has been maintained throughout the first half of the year, with the best Q1 and Q2 on record,” the company added.

Both TECNO and itel have pitched handsets they say recognise the value of smartphone and camera technology ecosystems, and the importance of marrying the two as the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in smartphones grows.

Counterpoint predicts that the new features and innovations powered by AI are expected to play a more critical role for smartphone makers in differentiating their products.

TECNO Spark 7 Pro retails at between R1999 and R3499.

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