Obama-themed budget handsets on sale in Africa

“Thousands” of the Obama decorated Mi devices sold in Kenya

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By  George Bevir Published  January 28, 2009

A Hong Kong-based handset manufacturer has enlisted America’s 44th president to help boost sales of its devices in Africa.

Mi’s 205-F Obama handset, which is being sold in Kenya for $30, features the recently elected president’s campaign slogan, “Yes We Can” and “Obama” emblazoned on the back of the device.

So far, Mi’s global sales director Alpesh Patel says that the manufacturer has sold “thousands” of the device in Obama’s ancestral home.

“As Kenya is our biggest market to date we wanted to create a phone that will be cherished for a long time so what better than a Mi Obama phone, instead of the usual T-shirts, key rings and mugs?” Patel said.

Obama’s love affair with his BlackBerry has been well documented but his reaction to the budget handset bearing his name is not known.

Patel says so far there has been no response from the White House, but he plans to send the new president some samples of the handsets.

“I am sure he will be more than happy with the result – hopefully he will invite us to the White House!”

“We can relate to Obama’s journey in that we are the underdog in the mobile device field and a clear challenge lies ahead for us,” Patel said. “Our tagline: ‘The World Is Yours’ resonates with ‘Yes You Can’, as it is motivational, inspirational and aspirational.”

The device is only available in Kenya at the moment, but Patel says that it may be offered for sale online, and if there is enough demand in the US.

Mi, which produces low-cost handsets for emerging markets in Africa, launched its first range of devices in April last year.

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