The Mystery of the Power Bank Phone Taking Over Ghana

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Have you noticed an odd bulge in people’s shorts around Accra?

It’s likely because, like many of my friends, they’ve recently acquired a new phone. But it’s not the iPhone 6 Plus, and it’s not the Samsung Galaxy S6.

It’s this thing:

I first saw this phone a few weeks ago when a friend plopped it down on our restaurant table. I initially had trouble processing what I was seeing. At a time when phone manufacturers are racing to make devices ever thinner, the sheer size of this thing is almost lewd.

I made fun of him for his brick and listened disbelievingly when he said everyone had one. The phone lay forgotten as we caught up over lunch.

A few days later, while walking by a colleague’s desk, I noticed a familiar black silhouette. It was the same phone.


Back in front of my laptop, I fired up Gmail and clicked the first email in my inbox?—?a promotional message by e-commerce startup, Jumia where it was the featured deal.

Since then, this phone keeps popping up everywhere I go. It’s obviously very popular, and it’s clearly taking off. But why?

Why’re some of my most stylish, most tech-savvy friends?—?all of whom already own smartphones?—?suddenly lugging this thing around?

This is what I’ve found.

Source: Quartz (link opens in a new window)