Nigeria's low-cost tablet computer

Nigeria's Saheed Adepoju is a young man with
big dreams. He is the inventor of the Inye, a
tablet computer designed for the African
According to the 29-year-old entrepreneur, his
machine's key selling point is its price - $350 (£225)
opposed to around $700 for an iPad.
He believes that, because of this, there is a big
market for it in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa,
particularly amongst students.
He is also hoping to sell his tablet - which runs on
the Google Android operating system - to the
Nigerian government and plans to have at least one
computer in each local government area.
"The Inye is a mobile internet device. It gives you
access to the internet; it allows you to play media
files and watch movies. What we have is an 8-inch
device, a device that is half-way between a laptop
and a mobile phone," he told the BBC's series
African Dream.
"You have the standard software applications that
come pre-installed and then you have the ones that
we are working with various local developers to
bundle on," he added.
Among those local apps there is one designed to
raise awareness about HIV and others related to
water and sanitation.
"We work with local developers that have expertise
in particular areas so that we don't end up doing so
much work and we just have a collaborative way of
doing things together," he said.
'Word of mouth'
Mr Adepoju has a background in software
development and is a Sun-certified Java
After doing a first degree in maths and computer
science in Nigeria, he completed another one in
advanced computing by research at Bournemouth
University, in the United Kingdom.
Upon graduation in 2009, he returned to his home
country and started working for a consulting firm.
"Within eight months I got fired, primarily because
of differences in approach to doing business. In the
middle of all this, the Apple iPad launched, back in
January of 2010, which inspired us to actually look
to build such [a] product within the African
marketplace," the entrepreneur told the BBC
Africa's Chris Ewokor.
He said that, with that goal in mind, he borrowed
money from friends and family, raising a total of
about $60,000.

According to him, all of that went on the devices
and the logistics - there was no budget for
marketing, so early advertising was "word of
mouth" on social media.
The first 100 units of the Inye, which means One in
Nigeria's Igala language, were built in China and,
after receiving feedback from its users, a second
version was launched in May 2011.
Encipher Group, the company he cofounded with
web developer Anibe Agamah, also offers
customised IT services and products, including
cloud computing, which are mostly based on open
technology to keep costs down.
Raising capital
According to Mr Adepoju, the company and the apps
it develops are focused on preserving local culture
through technology and making products which are
specific to the local market.
Another product that the firm has been working on
is Encipher TV, a box where people can watch
African television, plays and films.
However, he says that it has not been easy to raise
capital in order to develop the business faster.
"Here venture capital (VC) is still in its infancy and
most VC firms wound want to invest in tried and
trusted companies that have gained some form of
traction," he said.
"We face the challenge of getting people to listen to
the various propositions. We've been to a number of
private investors and also to the government," he
Not surprisingly, his immediate plan is to "try and
raise capital from whatever sources we can get -
locally, internationally or privately - and to try and
still to push the brand forward as much as we can".
Will his tablet computer succeed in such a
competitive environment? Only time will tell but Mr
Adepoju and his colleagues are adamant that it will,
not only in Nigeria but also in other African marketsh

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