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How the ‘Game of Phones’ in Zambia has evolved

You’re probably reading this on some fancy touch screen device that took you a while to get used to, switching things up from that brick you used to hold that could not crack despite intense pressure placed on it. Think Nokia 3310.

How have the smartphones we see now evolved in the past years?

We had telephones in almost all homes in mostly urban areas, mostly because a lot of our parents might have worked in offices that required communication from home and were privy to such benefits, but what’s changed? Landlines are rarely seen in homes and more in work places. If you didn’t own a landline, there were public payphones in town centres. I’m guilty for making reverse calls…

Almost everyone in Zambia has a phone of sorts now, whether a g’onga (replica) or of the really high end range. The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority put this number at about every 7 in 10 people owning a mobile phone in Zambia as of last year. We expect to see a rise.

Just a few years ago we were accustomed to small yellow screens with black font, and now in 2015 we see all sorts of colour, fonts, and display options. We moved from playing the old Snake Xenzia to any game you can think of, having been adapted to the latest phones in application stores.

We moved from knowing a few brands like Nokia, Motorola, Bosch (OMG!), Sony Ericsson, to having to research for the best phones available from other brands like Apple, Samsung, LG, BlackBerry, OnePlus, Huawei, who are all taking a pedestal in the game of phones lately.

We no longer have to deal with annoying polyphonic ringtones, you can choose that favorite tacky twerk song you like to be your ringtone.

Don’t get me started on camera quality! Looking back at some of my old pictures on social media made me throw up a little in my mouth. All that blur! You would have been lucky to get a phone with a camera back then. Those were pricey but lately you can find a low-budget phone with a not-so-bad camera anywhere.

Software was simple, no need for updates. If you were updating anything on your phone, it would be the entire phone itself! Now we have all these software and applications all because phones got smarter.

There have been changes in design, as phones get smaller, thinner and more metallic for some. There is no clear winner amongst the brands that make it to Zambia as they all have a market share for both low-budget and high-end phones.

We’ve seen phablets and tablets come in too.

We have more choices now with smartphones. We can use them with other devices. We can resell them without having to inform the police or write a long report to our mobile operator. We can track it easily if lost or stolen using free applications installed on the phone and accessible on other devices.

We now have to move with chargers or power banks because batteries get used up faster than before, thanks to internet access.

There are so many changes, but is change always good?

Some argue that phones have become a distraction from the real world especially with the increased engagement that social media and messengers have brought, others defend the change saying it has made the world more productive.

How has the ‘Game of Phones’ changed for you?


Tech Blogger & Marketer.