First African smartwatch to be assembled at VMK factory

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The first smartwatch made in Africa – the crossover model Omate Racer x VMK limited edition – will be assembled at the new VMK factory in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

Disrupt Africa reported last month Congolese mobile device startup VMK is top open an assembly plant in Congo, with its devices until now having been manufactured in China.

The company also announced it had opened its first store in Ivory Coast, with plans to be present in five West African countries by year-end, and would be rolling out its second tablet offering in March.

It has now announced a partnership with smartwatch manufacturer Omate, which is expanding its global presence by assembling a smartwatch at the Brazzaville assembly plant from May.

“We are delighted to bring our expertise to offer affordable smartwatches in Africa. Omate’s mission is to connect the world through a wearable experience and this strategic partnership with VMK is another manifestation of our commitment,” said Laurent Le Pen, chief executive officer (CEO) of Omate.

“VMK intends to be a major player in the mobile industry in Africa; smartwatches represent a meaningful extension of our product portfolio. After months of R&D with Omate, we will offer African customers a product with a fashionable look and comfortable to wear every day,” said Vérone Mankou, founder and CEO at VMK.

The Omate Racer x VMK limited edition pushes notifications from iOS and Android, sports a 1.22” transflective “always-on” display and is powered by a MediaTek Aster.

The companion smartwatch pushes notifications via Bluetooth Low Energy from iOS7 or more recent and Android 4.3. It is powerful enough to last up to five days in standby time, and runs the development platform for wearables by MediaTek Labs.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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