Safaricom, Huawei upgrade the IDEOS to the Y100 Dennis Mbuvi
Huawei has finally announced the launch of the long awaited replacement to its well performing Huawei IDEOS U8150 handset. The IDEOS 8150 has been Safaricom’s flagship handset and has sold more than 100,000 pieces according to Safaricom estimates. Nzioka Waita, Safaricom’s Head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs had earlier this year announced that they would launch an improved IDEOS handset this year.
The new handset, the IDEOS Y100 (Huawei U8185) will retail at Ksh 8,500, the same price point its predecessor was introduced at.
The revamped phone features a sleeker design than its predecessor, though its 2 millimetres wider, 2 mm longer but thinner by 3.5 mm. The number of physical buttons on the Y100 have been reduced to one, just the navigation pad, doing away with the “call” and “end” buttons. Soft keys include “back”, “menu” and “search”.
Improvements in the hardware include a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 processor, with a 60 per cent improvement in processor speed form 528 Megahertz to 800 Megahertz. The same 3.2 megapixel camera has been retained, which still lacks autofocus, a feature missing from the original camera that makes it incompatible with applications that automatically adjust the camera, such as to scan a barcode or image.
Other features including screen size and resolution and battery capacity remain unchanged, though Huawei has implemented power saving features at the request of Safaricom.
The phone will also feature fast booting, a vast improvement over its predecessor notorious for taking long to boot. The phone also includes a feature known as “all backup, though it is not clear what features its provides.
The Y100 will also feature a 2 GB memory card for Safaricom customers. Other Safaricom features include a slightly tweaked user interface and bundled apps/shortcuts including WhatsApp, a shortcut to the Safaricom portal, KCB Mobile (Bank), 2go, MyDays and FunnyJokes.
The phone sees the Android version ramped up a single version to 2.3. While the IDEOS U8150 can run Android 2.3 under some circumstances, Huawei has not released an update. Android 2.3 has a cleaner look than 2.2 and majorly supports copy/paste and a cursor within typed text.
Other Android 2.3 improvements include support for more video decoders and majorly the support for Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) solutions including Skype and Google Talk.
Huawei claims the phone also supports Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) meaning it might also see an upgrade to 4.0, which is the latest Android version.
Several manufacturers have recently launched devices targeted at taking over the IDEOS run away success.
Samsung has launched the Galaxy Pocket that has comparable features save for 3 GB internal memory, faster bluetooth capabilities and a slightly longer lasting battery. The Galaxy Pocket though is costlier at Ksh 10,000.
Huawei is also launching a high end smartphone in Kenya, the Huawei Honor.