Hii simu #ifikiewazazi

If that heading doesn’t ring a bell then you may just want to move on to the next article you’ve queued up for reading either from this site or elsewhere. Or you may just read on to find out what it is all about.

You see, over the last few days, Kenyan Twitter has exploded with screen grabs and videos lifted off other social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and even the odd Facebook, showing lots of young people, probably in their teens, doing all manner of lewd things. Steamy photo shoots that encompassed suggestive poses, sex tapes… basically everything that Kenya’s moral policeman, my uncle at the Kenya Film and Classification Board (KFCB), Ezekiel Mutua, would go thermonuclear on. The kind of things that your typical hypocritical (probably add church-going) Kenyan parents don’t want to imagine their calm as puppies young sons and daughters ever engage in.

A lot has been said about the whole affair and I need not dwell on it but one thing has come out very clear: technology at the hands of the young ones, particularly those that are yet to be of legal age, can be dangerous. Yet it’s increasingly becoming the norm, rather than the exception, to see 13-year-olds, 15-year-olds, basically your average urban teen, flaunting gadgets that some of us might need to work for months, and forgo a few lunches and dates while at it, to be able to buy. While we can sit down and shame the kids and blame new-age parents and all, like those behind #ifikiewazazi (let this reach their parents) wanted, there’s something else we can also do going forward: point these parents that want to buy their kids phones to ease communication to a new device made specifically for that: the Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro (2018).

This year’s edition of Samsung’s entry-level Galaxy J2 Pro, a phone whose past editions have been on sale in the Kenyan market alongside others from the extended Galaxy J2 series and J family, arrives without what some of us consider a basic need these days: access to the internet. The Galaxy J2 Pro, apparently, lacks 3G and Wi-Fi radios, effectively making it a dud when it comes to being able to access the information superhighway. There’s an LTE modem but it exists to facilitate every other thing but internet access. Ordinarily, that’s a bad bad thing, in an era when even devices that could only send SMS when I was in lower primary school are coming back with access to the internet but look at it this way: Samsung is targeting students and, generally, the young ones. The kind of people whose lives can be ruined or complicated by what they do on the internet just like we have witnessed in the country over the last week.

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Features of the device include a 5-inch qHD (540 x 960 pixels) Super AMOLED display, a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 processor clocked at 1.4GHz, a pair of 8 and 5-megapixel cameras at the back and on the front, 1.5GB memory and 16GB onboard storage (expandable via a microSD card), a 2600 mAh removable battery and good old Android 7.1, Nougat.

According to Samsung, users of the “internet-less” Galaxy J2 Pro (2018) will be able to exchange it for more superior devices like those in its Galaxy A, S and Note series when they come of age (i.e. turned 18 years) through a trade-in program.

All of that sounds cool but here’s the catch: Kenyan parents may just have to find something else that will work for them in the meantime until we figure out whether Samsung will be considering introducing the device here. For now, only those who are in Samsung’s native Korea get the chance to shield their young ones from the addiction that is the internet. They are lucky.

Knowing how lowly-priced devices in the Galaxy J2 family have been in the country in the past, this would probably be a hit with urban parents as well as others who just want a digital detox without resorting to expensive alternatives like carrying around a separate camera alongside the common feature phones that many step back to as part of the “avoid your smartphone” diet. Samsung is even pitching it for the senior citizens, you know, old people who are really old, not the hypocritical, pretentious and judgemental bunch that is coffin Twitter and their two imaginary grey hairs.

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There’s a high chance that the Galaxy J2 Pro (2018) will show up outside Korea but with the necessary radios in place to allow users to get on the internet. We’ll have to wait and see how that pans out, though.

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Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at] androidkenya.com