Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Kebede Semu, 38, manager of a private company and satisfied owner of an iPhone 5 for the past two years, regularly uses the calendar, entertainment and game applications on his phone. Of increasing importance are local (Ethiopian) applications, such as Ethio Type, Amharic Bible, EtCal and Amh Keyboard, which he uses often.
In the past few years, the demand for smart phones in Ethiopia has increased; likewise, the demand for applications, which can be delivered through smart phones and other devices to provide local information and services. Dawit Adane, owner of Dave Mobile Service Center, who was in the mobile business for 12 years, said the coming of smart phones and the expansion of internet access has increased the demand for mobile applications, one of the most popular being the Amharic keyboard. Applications can be installed by customers for between 50 and 100 Br, depending on the number of applications installed, said Dawit.
Mobile applications are applications developed for small handheld devices, such as mobile phones, smart phones, PDA (Personal Digital Assistance) and so on. There are two categories of mobile applications, web-based and native applications. Web-based application can be accessed using the internet, while native applications is a program that has been developed for use on a particular platform or device while offline, stated Zelalem Fantahun, administrator of e-learning in Adama University.
Nebyou Yirga is one of the earliest mobile application developers. In 2009 he designed the first Amharic text keyboard for Nokia phones. He said that at the time there was no widespread usage of internet for people to download the application, so the application used to be disseminated via Bluetooth. But nowadays, there are different application stores, where developers can upload their products to make them available to their customers, such as Google Play, Get Jar and Palm Play, according to Nebyou. He recently developed football applications for the World Cup and the African Cup, which had an overall download of 350.
Read more at: Addis Fortune