Intel Corporation is planning to intensify its engagement in Africa by investing in local start-ups to encourage development of local applications and software. Intel’s Christian Morales, Vice President General Manager, EMEA said the impressive growth of the internet economy in Africa is the major reason for Intel’s deeper involvement in locally developed software and applications.
“We are making very strategic Intel investment capital in start-ups with three, four years of experience that need a world-wide footprint. We will be making minority investment into them because we see the potential in local applications and software in Kenya and other countries in Africa,” revealed Morales at the Mobile World Congress, where Intel unveiled two new micro-processors.
The two new microprocessors – the duo-core 64 bit Atom and the quad-core mobile Atom – promise to enhance mobile user experience in speed, performance and energy consumption. Intel is banking on its technology capacity that will allow deeper integration across different devices and software to grow its market share in the mobile space.
In addition to the investment intention, Intel has been engaging local developers through the Intel Developer Zone Program where local software and app developers get free tools and support through training to develop applications on Intel architecture.
Morales added that the launch of Intel’s Yolo smart phone in Nairobi last year has encouraged the world’s biggest chip manufacturer to invest more in Africa, saying users should expect more devices in this category in the course of the year.
“The (Yolo) smart phone was the best value proposition at that price point. On top of that, we added security and local applications. Our aim is to keep introducing new technology at a cheaper cost with better performance and battery life.”
The involvement of Intel in software and applications is interesting considering the manufacturer is predominantly known for PC microprocessors but it is an indication of the growing significance of mobile devices buoyed by innovative apps.
“A lot of internet users in Africa first connect to the internet through their mobile phones so it’s important for Intel to get involved in helping more people get connected…from ensuring we have competitive, effective hardware to locally relevant applications and software. This is what is driving the internet growth in Africa,” explained Morales.
Morales added that Intel will be making a major announcement in the gaming ecosystem promising it will be the ‘formula one of gaming’ in the coming months.