Most iconic smartphones in SA

The most important gadget in anyone’s arsenal, whether geek or not, is arguably the smartphone.

It can be a status symbol, fashion statement, and banner of allegiance all rolled into one convenient, expensive package.

Though debatable (passionately so, in many cases) Apple and its iPhone are often credited for making smartphones the hot products they are today.

In many ways the iPhone has become a symbol of the consumer smartphone revolution, and many South African cellular executives see it as an icon.

Newly appointed Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig and Mike Fairon, head of products and services at MTN SA, chose the iPhone as the most iconic smartphone in SA.

iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4

Current Vodacom CEO Pieter Uys picked the iPhone 4, with Knott-Craig agreeing that the iPhone 4 series was particularly iconic and that so far, he found the iPhone 4S to be excellent.

Fairon said that the Apple iPhone is “the embodiment and epitome of the smartphone philosophy.”

Virgin Mobile acknowledged that internationally the iPhone is the most iconic device, with 8ta senior managing executive Amith Maharaj saying that it and the higher-end BlackBerry devices are the ones that most consumers aspire to.

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Chief sales officer at Virgin Mobile, Mike Sidwell, said that the BlackBerry 8520 is the most iconic smartphone in South Africa. “A dominant market leader which has really caught on with cost conscious South Africans,” Sidwell said.

Maharaj agreed that the BlackBerry 8520 is the smartphone for everyone, but said that the Nokia Communicator is where it all started.

Vodacom’s Jannie van Zyl also looked to the early days of smartphones for his pick of the most iconic device. Van Zyl selected two devices as local smartphone icons.

The first is the iMate, rebranded versions of HTC devices sold outside territories where the O2 mobile network operated. The company operated until September 2009 when it went out of business after HTC cut ties with O2 and iMate.

Van Zyl’s second pick was the old Compaq iPaq. Though the device didn’t come with many wireless connectivity options, you could get a Wi-Fi card and GSM sleeve for it, effectively making it an early smartphone.

iPaq with GSM sleeve and iMate smartphone
iPaq with GSM sleeve and iMate smartphone

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Most iconic smartphones in SA