The multi-purpose smartphone will be useful in the fight against the COVID-19 and will enable users to regularly test their own body temperature.
As the Government intensifies the fight against COVID-19, locally made smartphones with in-built sensors for testing body temperature are here.
The phones which are manufactured and assembled by SIMI Mobile Uganda in Namanve Industrial Park were launched by Evelyn Anite, the state minister for investment, recently.
The smartphone is one of the latest products by SIMI Mobile Uganda, a subsidiary of Engo Holdings Group Limited.
The phone has infrared temperature sensors integrated into the rear camera block, which can measure one's body temperature.
SIMI Mobile Uganda's executive director, David Beecham Okwere, says the phone has functions similar to those of a temperature gun used to detect fever as an early symptom of the coronavirus infection.
Okwere said a set of the phone costs sh380,000 on the open market and it uses the Google Play Store to update itself.
He said it would not require calibrating as is the case with temperature guns.
"The multi-purpose smartphone will be useful in the fight against the COVID-19 and will enable users to regularly test their own body temperature," Okwere explained.
The in-built sensors can read one's temperature on the surface without attaching it to the body.
Anite launched another product by the same company, a solar-powered feature phone with an in-built solar panel to enable self-charging.
It charges itself once placed under the sun and can serve as a power bank for other phones.
The phone locally known as ‘Kabiriti', also has social media applications and has a battery capacity of 4,000mAh, which according to Okwere, can last between one to two weeks.
Speaking after commissioning of the innovations, Anite said Uganda wants to reach middle-income status.
She thanked SIMI Mobile for their contribution in helping the Government meet its targets.
Anite said she was impressed by the solar-powered phones, which would be suitable for use in rural areas, where the Government wants to extend power to all.
Anite advised bodaboda riders who have been saying they cannot afford temperature guns to buy the smartphones which they will use for measuring temperature and communication.
She asked the manufacturer to work with the Uganda National Bureau of Standards to certify the gadgets to enable Ugandans use them.
Earlier on, the Information and Communication Technology ministers, Judith Nabakooba and Peter Ogwang (state minister) toured the factory and commended the investors, led by Tony Tan, the company manager, for their innovation and investment.
They said this would provide many Ugandans with employment. She said since the plant can produce 2,500 phones per day, there was hope that the price of phones on the Ugandan market would go down and enable more people to access them.
"As a ministry we have an agenda of enabling more Ugandans to have access to phones for communication and services like easy access to the market," she said, adding that Ugandans employed in the factory will be able to earn a living.
The plant, which was launched last year by President Yoweri Museveni employs over 300 workers. It is expected to recruit over 2,000 workers once production reaches full capacity.
The company, which was scheduled to invest sh55.6b to boost its production capacity to meet the current demand, has other products already on the local market.
Its main outlet is on Kampala Road. The company also produces mini laptops, radio calls (walkie-talkies), radios, among other products.
In May this year, Anite flagged off the first phone export, a consignment of 18,000 pieces of feature and smartphones to Morocco.