South Africa’s first smartphone maker, Mara Phones, will launch three new smartphones this year.
These will be in addition to the two smartphones that Mara Phones’ factory currently produces – the Mara X and the Mara Z.
Speaking with MyBroadband, Mara Phones Head of Growth Sylvester Taku said that Mara Phones plans to launch the following three new smartphone models this year:
- Mara Z1
- Mara X1
- Mara S
“We have already started with teaser campaigns and expression of interest call to action across our digital platforms,” said Taku.
The Mara Z1 offers the best performance of the three new smartphones, boasting a 16MP + 8MP + 2MP triple-lens rear camera system, a 6.517-inch HD+ display, 4GB RAM, and 64GB storage.
The Mara X1 offers a 13MP + 2MP + 2MP triple lens rear camera system, a 6.1-inch HD+ display, 3GB RAM, and 32GB storage.
The Mara S is evidently designed as an entry-level smartphone, offering 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, and a 4.95-inch FWVGA+ display.
Taku said that more information regarding these smartphones will be shared by Mara Phones in the near future.
He also noted that Mara Phones is in the process of opening its first Mara Experience Store through a franchisee in Maponya Mall.
“Mara Experience Stores will give all potential customers an opportunity to experience the look and feel of our devices and interact with Mara Phones technical specialists to understand the different models and get technical support,” said Taku.
COVID-19 pandemic brings difficulties
Taku acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic brought several new challenges to Mara Phones’ business.
“As a fairly new entrant in the smartphone sector, COVID-19 interruptions have had a significant and unfavourable impact on our operations,” said Taku.
He noted that when the country went into lockdown on 26 March, Mara Phones had to cease production at its Durban factory to abide by government regulations.
Taku also noted that sales of Mara Phones were impacted considerably because various partners’ stores were closed for business, and online transactions could not be fulfilled due to courier companies being non-operational.
However, despite these challenges, Taku confirmed that Mara Phones has been able to retain its full complement of staff and its factory is now fully operational.
“The lockdown impacted and exacerbated the issue of unemployment in the country and now more than ever, South Africans, the corporate sector and government are more sensitive towards job creation,” said Taku.
“There is a call to support local and proudly South African products to stimulate the economy. With the only smartphone manufacturing factory in the country, the support of all South Africans is crucial in ensuring sustainable job creation.”
Mara Phones partners with the Department of Health
Taku told MyBroadband that during the COVID-19 pandemic Mara Phones donated 500 smartphones to the Department of Health to assist with efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Alongside this donation, Mara Phones ran a campaign which encouraged other businesses and individuals to pledge and donate smartphones to the department.
“We have also developed health solutions which will make our devices effective tools for community health care initiatives undertaken by government and we look forward to solidifying our relationship and collaborating with the Ministry of Health to bring these tools to community health workers across the country,” said Taku.
He added that Mara Phones did not only help COVID-19 efforts in South Africa; it also provided assistance to other governments such as when it donated personal protective equipment (PPE) in Rwanda and Nigeria.
Photos of the new Mara Phones smartphones are below.