Tecno has launched a new range of Android powered smartphones in Kenya. This include the dual sim M3 and the D1, which are both powered by Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, Google's latest major Android version. At KSh 9,000 and KSh. 12,000 respectively, the two phones become the most affordable phones running a recent Android version.
Physical specifications of the M3 include a 1.0 gigahertz dual core MediaTek processor, high speed 3G, a 5 megapixel back-facing camera with flash and 512 MB of RAM. The phone also has FM radio, a 0.3 megapixel front facing camera, 4 gigabytes of internal storage( split into two), a memory card slot and a 3.5 inch touch display.
The D1 features similar specifications as the M3, but spots a 2.6 inch display in addition to a physical keyboard. The 4 GB internal storage is also not split into two.
Internal storage matters when it comes to applications. Phones with less than 200 megabytes of storage tend to bring usability issues as their storage is quickly filled up as soon as the user begins using the phone. The user can then not receive notifications from installed applications or download some applications, such as Twitter and WhatsApp that can only be installed in internal storage.
Up to now, almost all phones retailing under KSh. 10,000 have shipped with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, an almost 3 year old release.
Android Jelly Bean comes with a cleaner, neater interface. Additionally it groups notifications at the top of the screen, and allows one to expand notifications from one app, such as email notifications when more than one email notification is received. Notifications can also be swiped away. Other features are face unlock, a better camera application and access to the camera from the lock screen.
Additionally, some applications are not available in older versions of Android, while others have a better look and more functionality on Jelly Bean and newer Android versions.
Typically, Android device manufacturers do not update phone software, hence the phone maintains the Android version it was bought with. Exceptions are high end Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S2, Galaxy S3 and Galaxy S4.
Android 4.3 is the most recent version of Android, but is a minor release containing a few updates and error fixes over its preceding Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, comprises of Android versions 4.1, 4.2 and 4.3. The latter are improvements on 4.1, with 4.2 being the major version in this series and carrying more changes on the version it succeeds compared to 4.3.
Google names major Android releases after desserts, with the next major release, Android 4.4, named KitKat after the chocolate wafer. Jelly Bean is a form of candy.
Dennis Mbuvi has been writing at CIO East Africa Magazine and CIO.co.ke since May 2010. His key focus is the use of technology to solve day to day business challenges and product reviews. Mbuvi has been invited to speak at various IT, Telecom and Media events in the region. He was also a keynote speaker at the inaugural Joomla day in Kenya talking on possibilities of the Joomla Content Management System. Mbuvi holds a B.Sc in Computer Science degree from Kenyatta University. He is on Twitter as @denniskioko