South Africa's second-largest mobile operator, MTN, has launched an own-brand Android smartphone with dual SIM capabilities and a Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU.
The new phone, which is branded as a Steppa, is sold unlocked for pre-pay customers through local supermarkets and MTN stores for R499, making it one of the first true smartphones available for less than $50.
The Steppa is a white label Qualcomm reference design, featuring a 3.5-inch screen, 512MB of RAM, an FM radio and a 1,300mAh battery which is specced to last for up to 627 minutes of talk time. It also features Google Play integration, HSDPA, Bluetooth 3.0 and A-GPS.
The sub-$50 price tag, however, is a major milestone for MTN. The Steppa undercuts the cheapest of Nokia's popular Symbian-based Asha phones by around $30 while offering similar access to services such as WhatsApp and Facebook. BlackBerry Messenger support for Gingerbread is due sometime in the next month.