July 16, 2012
When seeing a picture of a tape cassette and a pencil together, would this generation understand the connection between the two? The 80’s and 70’s, generation knows how a pen or pencil can connect with a tape cassette but it is difficult to say if this generation can be able to create that connectivity; pens and pencils can be used to rewind and fast forward a tape cassette.
Technologies have revolutionized and have reached the digital era. The technology era seems to take over the contemporary world. The revolution of technology is what the world is accepting and it seems to be an unavoidable phenomenon. There was a time when color TV was a phenomenon or a desktop computer was considered to be some kind of a miracle.
In Ethiopia, especially for the urban dwellers, it is common to embrace what the technology world has to offer.
Laptop has become a common thing and nowadays there are people who are getting accustomed to the new invention; tablet computers with different brands. Especially, the Apple iPad seem to be making their way in Addis. The fancy looking tablets are used for audio-visual media and web browsing and can give access to books, periodicals, movies, music, games and mobile apps which is attracting tech savvy Addis Ababans.
Back in the days, some considered Ethiopians as technology resistant where the first cinema house was called “the devils house.” But this generation seems to assimilate well with the exposure.
The idea of having a mobile computer, which is a little bit larger than smartphones, where some of them come with a digital pen, seems to be a unique thing for many.
Ruth Haile does not hide the fact that some people get astonished whenever she operates her iPad, like taking pictures and videos especially around public places like cafés.
“May be I am imagining things or I do not know but people seem to be surprised whenever I pull out my iPad,” Ruth says.
Her dad brought her the iPad a couple of months back and it is one of the things that she appreciates him for. The cafés, hotels and restaurants that have a WI-Fi Internet connection are good spots to see what kind of technology is out in the market.
One of the spots in town is Lime Tree Restaurant, a place where many foreigners sit and use the internet enjoying lemonade juice and some felafil (an Arabian cuisine).
Ruth and her three friends sometimes go to Lime Tree and since they are waiting for their high school national exam results moving from café to café appears to be a thing to do these days.
She usually uses her iPad 3 to take pictures, shoot videos and essentially use it for web browsing and since it is easy to carry it whenever she goes she seems to be enjoying what the digital world has to offers.
For the graphic designer-cum-filmmaker, Plupader Hadgu, having his iPad is like having the world at his finger tips. His sister bought him iPad 2 five months ago. He is one of the tech savvy individuals and knows a lot about the different tablets and their special features like the ones that can take a Sim card, the RAM, hard disk capacities and the screen sizes.
The 2010 released iPad is popular all over the world and like most countries the Ethiopian market is also favoring this particular brand. Having the capacity of 64 GB, Plupader says that he has more than tens thousands books and says that he owns his own library.
“What makes this amazing is that of you don’t not know the meaning of a particular word you don’t have to look for a dictionary; it just traces it,” Plupader says.
It is not only books; he makes use of various architectural designs and different drawings. As much as he can, he explores different applications, downloads applications and tries to see what is out there for him.
Apart from that, like Ruth, he takes pictures, shoots videos and also plays games. He does not design using his iPad rather he shows his different projects proposals to his clients using the gadget.
What excites him is the quality of the pictures when he shows the preview to his clients. For him it is one of the things which make life easier and as long as he has his iPad everything is well. He listens to music when he walks, takes pictures, shoots footages for his film and reads a book. When he finds places with wireless internet connection he downloads what he wants.
Wolde Debebe (not his real name), who came back to Ethiopia nine months ago, uses iPad 1 that does not have a camera.
However, he says that one of the drawbacks of the iPad is since all places do not have wireless internet it might be inconvenient.
He says that the iPads without a Sim cards are like big iPhones but the other tablets have an outlet for USB or EVDO and that makes it suitable for Ethiopia. He has witnessed how iPads are gaining popularity here but when comparing it to other countries there is a long way to go. Apart from that what he observed is how smartphones are getting very popular in Ethiopia.
One of stores that focus on selling Apple products, which is located around Atlas International Hotel provides iPad 2 and 3 with different specifications. Amanuel Aberha, the owner and the manager of the store says that the trend of buying iPads is seen as a luxury. As their record shows, they sell from three up to four iPads per month. He says that some of the reasons why these iPads are not popular is because of the restrictions the iOS has which requires original software that only people who have an Apple store account get access to.
iPad 1 which does not have a camera has become obsolete so it is only the two types of iPads that are being sold. According to Amanuel, the iPad 2 fits well for the Ethiopian market which is compatible with 3G sim cards but the iPad 3 needs a 4G sim card which does not exist in this country. In this shop the price of iPad 3 ranges from 16,000-22,000 birr with different capacities and a 16 GB iPad 2 is 14,000 birr.
“Getting a Mac Book Pro, an iPhone and an iPad at the same time from my shop costs up to 100,000 birr which is not affordable by many Ethiopians,” he concludes.