An Omani team, Mersal, has been able to design and assemble the first smartphone with approved international standards. The phone is called Mersal 7 or M-7 with the number 7 derived from the screen size.
Rashid bin Abdullah Al Nasri, CEO of Mersal, said that “We continued to work for nearly two years continuously in design, selection of components, research and tests, in addition to plans for installation, marketing methods and product launch.”
The Mersal smartphone was designed and assembled at the Makers Oman Centre in Innovation Park Muscat. It works with the latest operating system, Android 11.
The phone has been developed to use 4G cellular networks, and work is currently underway to assemble a phone to suit 5G networks.
The Mersal smartphone weighs 215 grams, has a 7-inch HD screen, and ROM of 128 GB, while the RAM capacity is 6 GB. The phone comes with a 48-megapixel rear camera and a 25-megapixel front camera.
Mersal contains two ports for additional SIM cards and memory, in addition to other distinctive technical specifications and features covered by an elegant and attractive body made of metal, plastic, and glass. It is available in two colors: dark blue and black.
Regarding the total cost of the Mersal project, the CEO said that it was nearly $13 million. He added: “The Mersal smartphone will be launched in the markets at the end of this year (2021) and it will be at a competitive price not exceeding $338.”
Al Nasri also called on investors to enter into partnership with Mersal and on government and security institutions and large companies to proceed with contractual purchases “that will achieve and serve the development and economic trends such as creating job opportunities, economic diversification programs, and the work of a series of technology-related industries.”
It is noteworthy that Mersal, at the beginning of the last academic year 2020-2021, launched the first Omani tablet Mersal 10 or M-10.
The competitively priced tablet received good feedback from users after meeting educational, commercial, and personal needs.
One way to validate the production of smartphones in Oman is to look at where they can be used and e-commerce is a good gauge.
Oman’s e-commerce market was valued at $2.19 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach $6.52 bn by 2026, registering a 20% annual growth rate during the forecast period from 2021-2026. Oman has a population of more than 5.1 million people, and the internet penetration rate is estimated at more than 75%. The e-commerce market in Oman is still a nascent market and has ample opportunities to grow in the future. Despite Oman having one of the highest smartphone usage in the Middle East region, only 8% of the population shopped online in 2020.
Mobile, internet, social media, and mobile connection stats in Oman
Oman has about 18.4 million mobile users and the price range of a mid to high range phone in Oman is within $449 and $672.
There were 4.92 million internet users in Oman in January 2021. The number of internet users in Oman increased by 259,000 (+5.6%) between 2020 and 2021. Internet penetration in Oman stood at 95.2% in January 2021.
There were 4.14 million social media users in Oman in January 2021. The number of social media users in Oman increased by 400 thousand (+11%) between 2020 and 2021. The number of social media users in Oman was equivalent to 80.2% of the total population in January 2021.
There were 5.72 million mobile connections in Oman in January 2021.
The number of mobile connections in man decreased by 410 thousand (-6.7%) between January 2020 and January 2021. The number of mobile connections in Oman in January 2021 was equivalent to 110.7% of the total population.
Regional smartphone markets
The rebound from 2020 continued for smartphones in the second quarter of 2021 as overall shipment volumes grew 13.2% slightly beating IDC’s forecast of 12.5% growth.
According to preliminary data from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone vendors shipped a total of 313.2 million devices.
As Huawei share continues to fall coupled with the recent announcement of LG exiting the smartphone business, market share is up for grabs. In Q2, 2021, Xiaomi moved into the second spot for the first time in history, moving Apple to the third spot.
Nabila Popal, research director with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers said: “Globally, all Chinese brands are growing rapidly, with Xiaomi hitting record volume this quarter with 86.6% year on year (YoY). However, another rising star is notably realme, registering the fastest growth amongst the top 10 at 149% YoY and over 76% of its volume coming from outside China.”