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Durban - Remember when cellphone batteries used to last almost a week without a charge? That was before they morphed into power-hungry mini computers that also happened to be cameras, web browsers and media players.
But what if you could have all that newfangled stuff, combined with a battery life reminiscent of, and perhaps even better than, your Nokia brick of nearly 20 years ago?
That’s the tantalising promise offered by the release of Mi-Fone’s Mi3000, which the company describes as “Africa’s first smart feature phone” with an astonishing claimed battery standby time of 60 days.
You may not have heard of Mi-Fone, which describes itself as “the first African mobile Devices brand”, but its phones, largely Chinese-made clones of better known brands, are proving pretty popular, thanks to their winning combination of low prices, surprisingly good quality and a range of features usually only found in devices twice the price.
Established in April 2008, the company has already sold over 1.3 million units and is shipping to 12 African countries including: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, DRC, and Mauritius.
Their new baby, the Mi 3000, may just be their most popular yet. It boasts a “candy bar” design with a 2.8-inch Touch screen and a physical keypad. Like all other Mi-Fone handsets, the Mi3000 also comes with Mi-Apps with some free content that can be downloaded, and Opera Mini as default browser.
Other features include a phone directory of up to 1 000 contacts, 1Gb of on-board flash memory, 256 Mb RAM, a 2 mega-pixel camera and dual SIM, an increasingly popular feature frowned on by the cellular networks which allows you to insert two SIM cards to take advantage of the best airtime or data rates from two networks (some phone makers are even bringing out quad SIM phones).
Then there’s the piece de resistance, a battery standby time of up to 60 days. Mi-Fone CEO Alpesh Patel said battery life was one of the greatest challenges facing phone makers, particularly in Africa where power isn’t always readily available. He was confident the Mi3000 would give his company a significant edge against its competitors.
“We all need to communicate, and having a handset that keeps us communicating addresses a crucial need among our customers,” said Patel.
“A lot of consumers are using their device to access the internet and applications which quickly drains battery life. The Mi3000 addresses these concerns in a cost effective manner.”
Of course, that two-month standby time refers to how long the battery should last if you don’t make a single call, send an SMS or snap a picture. It still seems mind-bogglingly long, though, and I’d be keen to test it out.
The more sensible measure is talk time, which comes in at a more realistic, but still hugely impressive 15 hours, again a claim I look forward to testing. Watch this space.
They haven’t announced the price yet, but if their previous models are anything to go by, it should be as old-fashioned as its battery life. - Sunday Tribune