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Voice-Operated Smartphones Target Africa's Illiterate

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Choosing a language on the "superphone."

Credit: AFP

The Cerco company, in partnership with the French telecommunications company Orange, is rolling out a "superphone" equipped with a voice assistant for the approximately 40% of the Ivory Coast's population who cannot read or write.

The phone, priced at 60,000 CFA francs ($92), aims to help residents more easily perform everyday tasks like checking bank balances.

It features Cerco's Kone operating system and responds to commands in the Ivory Coast's 17 languages, as well as 50 other African languages.

Cerco ultimately plans to reach half of the continent's population with the phone.

Cerco's Alain Capo-Chichi said, "Various institutions set down the priority of making people literate before making technology available to them. Our way skips reading and writing and goes straight to integrating people into economic and social life."

From Voice of America News
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