From landlines that required you to be at particular place and time to receive information, to pagers that transformed everyone into superstars and hanged on the waist for everyone to see, to the first mobile phone that was the 8th wonder of the world and weighed a ton, to the sleek smartphone we hold today. We sure have come a long way. Thanks to advanced technology, phones have evolved from just communication tools to a companion thanks to the million of mobile applications increasing access to information and content.
The first ever smartphone was launched in 1994 by IBM. There was no Appstore then but the phone came preloaded with several apps like Address Book, Calculator, Calendar, Mail, Notepad, and Sketch Pad. Other smartphones were produced later on but only had java games i.e the snake game, a calculator, and calendar under the Mobile App category.
In June 2007, Apple changed the game in the mobile industry. They released their first iPhone that came with pre-loaded default apps like Maps, Photos, Text and Weather. They then pushed the envelope further by opening a gateway for developers by introducing an iPhone software development kit for third-party companies. The Appstore went live in July 2008 featuring 500 apps on the day of the launch and received 10 million downloads in just 3 days. Google joined the scene later in 2012 and consolidated all of its content into a single marketplace – Google Play Store and life as we know it has never been the same again.
“Technology in Africa offers a blank canvas for the ambitious innovator,” – Eunice Baguma Ball, founder of the Africa Technology Business Network
Over the years, mobile applications have evolved to become one of the primary ways people communicate, shop, organize their lives, play, and even work. According to market researcher App Annie, the app economy could double in size to $101 billion by 2020. In Africa alone, the number of mobile internet subscribers grew to 300 million in 2015 and the number is expected to grow to 550 million subscribers by 2020. This is largely attributed to the increase of smartphone adoption and the use of mobile applications.
Mobile has emerged as the preferred platform to create, distribute and consume innovative digital solutions and services in Africa with South Africa ranking first in Africa in terms of app usage, with a third of its population using mobile applications, followed by 31% in Ghana, 28% in Nigeria, 19% in Kenya and 18% in Uganda. This transformation into a mobile-first continent has unlocked new opportunities for businesses, individuals, and society.
The rise of mobile technology and consumption has positively changed how different economic sectors do business in the continent. For instance, applications such as Wi-Pay and Chapeo (both developed by Gebeya) are providing innovative electronic payment and credit solutions with a click of a button which would traditionally take days if not weeks to achieve. It is evident that Mobile applications have increased efficiency and promoted inclusion in Africa.
Many local and global innovators and tech entrepreneurs continue to leverage on the expansion of advanced mobile infrastructure in the continent and the growing adoption of smart devices to deliver mobile-based solutions. As a result increased the demand and job opportunities for highly skilled mobile application engineers who can design, build and/or maintain mobile applications for either Apple’s iOS or Android platforms.
In order to fulfill this demand, Gebeya enables African businesses or employers to hire highly trained and certified IT professionals on-demand on our online developer workplace.