Saheed Adepoju is co-founder (with Anibe Agamah) of Encipher group, the company behind Nigeria’s first tablet. The tablet has gained recognition locally and around the world. He shared his shared view about the product, e-payment and Nigerian internet market. He was a panelist at the recent MobiFest 2010 which we are a partner, and also at the last Barcamp Nigeria held in May.
WTN: Gist us about your “baby” Inye Tablet, what do you hope to achieve with it?
Saheed: Inye is a mobile internet device inspired by Encipher limited. It provides mobile internet capabilities, watching movies and also listening to music. Encipher aims to use the device to enhance our local heritage via the use of local contents.
WTN: How will your product impact the Nigerian tech market?
Saheed: We believe this will open avenues for creativity and a more surge in the acceptance of the android platform. We also see a different type of IT business model springing up within the industry similar to international standards.
WTN: How do you see competition from big international firms (Apple, Google, HP) that are also making tablets?
Saheed: Competition will always be available. We don’t see Encipher Inye as a competition but rather an alternative to existing brands. Most android tablets being churned out are based on Android 2.1 which is why we upgraded ours to Android 2.1.
WTN: Talking about apps market place how do you think Nigerian will be able to join the ecosystem with our e-payment challenge?
Saheed: One of the fundamental systems behind e-payment is trust. There are upcoming and trustworthy mobile payment systems coming up as well as the introduction of VISA and Mastercard, which are all international brands. With time, i believe the world will learn to accept the notion that our e-payment systems are reliable and trustworthy and integrate us into the popular payment platforms such as PayPal. Also with the current NIMC (National Identity Management commission) project underway, an identity system will further validate and solidify our stand.
In the interim, Mobile Payment licensees should also take this opportunity to connect with payment systems such as PayPal who can provide a bridge to the outer world. The licensees can work out a deal
and proposes a sharing formular with such platforms. Since it doesn’t support using actual debit cards(i.e. Mobile Payment licensees ), trust can be built with PayPal and allow them to become a mode of payment for such applications on the market place whilst we try to get our Mastercard & VISA onto the same platform.
WTN: Battle between Android and iOS who will win eventually and why?
Saheed: The battle isn’t really within only these 2 but also with Symbian, Meego, Blackberry OS & Windows 7. We need to understand that these platforms will only evolve as no company is in this business to lose money. I can state categorically that there would be no clear cut winner within these OS space just as there isn’t a clear cut winner amongst Apple OS, Windows, Ubuntu and any other Unix-based or Linux based systems. Every user would pick a platform because of what it provides them. With respect to Android, it breathes openness, flexibility and building different types of devices with it, for iOS it breathes Aesthetics while not compromising on stability and UI. I believe we will see all these platforms for many years to come, platforms will only evolve.
WTN: How much can we get the tablet when is ready for purchase?
Saheed: The tablets come in two variants: There is a $260 (4GB, 256MB RAM, 800Ghz) and there is a $355(16GB,512MB, 800Ghx, 1.3mp camera).
WTN: When will the product be widely available to the public?
Saheed: We intend to announce this after we unveil the product to the public via an unveiling event which will allow potential buyers use the devices first hand. We intend to make available the $260 version tablet for now.
WTN: What’s your perspective on Nigeria internet market?
Saheed: The Nigerian Internet market is an interesting market as lots of players are providing state of the art internet and broadband access unimaginable 10yrs ago. Thanks to the GSM and CDMA providers we are now seeing unprecedented internet speeds comparable to the western world.
WTN: Where you see Nigerian internet in the next couple of years?
Saheed: The Nigerian internet market will grow exponentially similar to the number of subscribers attributed to the telcos at this stage. Internet penetration will increase dramatically and also introduce a drop in prices.