Safaricom is rolling out a plug an play keyboard marketed under the Safaricom Webbox banner. The service which seems to have been adopted from Vodafone UK’s Webbox is set to retail in Kenya at Ksh 4,999 ($50) and turns every TV into a web box literally.

The keyboard which is a modem running on Android 2.1 (Eclair) will  enable the user access the following services;

  • Browsing the Internet
  • M-Pesa Services
  • Listening to FM Radio
  • Playing Games
  • Read and Send Emails
  • Play Music and Videos Saved in Memory Card
  • Send SMS
  • Viewing Photos
  • Calender, Calculator and Notebook for Personal Information

The keyboard was developed by Vodafone and has already been launched in Ghana, India and South Africa among other countries.  South Africa was actually the first country to get the device in February with India and Ghana following later.

The Safaricom Webbox is a data device which runs on Android 2.1. It has a built-in hardware and antenna that supports up to 2.5G and EDGE networks. The device connects to your TV through the standard RCA cables offering every user an internet experience. The only difference with your usual Android device is that it runs on an Android OS but you will not be able to access the Android Market.

You will not need any CD to install the device to your TV as it is plug-n-play. To get the free 200MB Safaricom offers when you purchase the system, you will need to send the IMEI of your Keyboard to 440. Safaricom recommend the 500MB bundle which costs Ksh 499 for the service. The service works with any TV though the Black and white TVs will give you poor experience.

The Webbox is locked to Safaricom so you will not be able to use any other SIM card apart from those from Safaricom on it. To prevent misuse, the Webbox has a password control feature.

The biggest draw back to this system is only the EDGE network it runs on. Otherwise this is a great device which will serve a great constituency of users who cannot afford a proper Computer for internet access. With almost 10 Million Kenyan homes having access to TV, Safaricom Webbox has a big potential to increase internet penetration.

Before Safaricom avails a demo video online, find this demo from Vodafone Webbox by Patrick Chomet, Vodafone’s Group Director of Terminals:

For more information about Safaricom Webbox, check here

  • its super hot device to have.

  • its super hot device to have.

  • Jayobu

    dude… i’m so used to a mouse pad or mouse itself… does this thing have a usb port for that?

    • Arnilie

      nope, no USB port….sucks huh? but it does have a multi-directional key that is relatively simple to use….

  • Anonymous

    See we are advancing technologically. Safaricom is a pioneer in many things in Kenya and in the world…wish Safaricom employees, shareholders and subscibers best of service

    • Jaffarmoha26

      Oh! Maybe i am missing something;’ safaricom invented the webbox eh!

  • Wes

    is that weekly bundle at KES 1,000/- going to be valid for the new Safaricom Webbox? Are FM Radio and games on the Webbox web-based?

    • Arnilie

      no the games n fm are not web-based

  • Ngaridouglas

    this is a great stride towards vision 2030,future looks bright as the Techno city starts to take shape

  • matatajjp

    The bad news is the Webbox browser runs over GPRS and Edge connections,
    so it’s going to be pretty slow, and anything more advanced than simple
    page viewing or Googling could prove so slow you end up tearing your
    hair out.

  • mwanga

    good idea but cant go far. The cost of this service is damn high. Anyone with an idea of what it really means to stream TV broadcast or FM audio streams? 500MB is not even NTV headlines. and then the speed… EDGE can only load a google page. and it will take it atleast a minute.
    Best thing? put it unlimited for a manageable cost

  • David Kitongo

    Luv this internet anywhere

  • Kipkorir04

    Thanks to safaricom 4 making life more easier

  • Arnilie

    no usb ports….

  • tonrix baro

    If it could use wi-fi internet or 3G, that would have been nice.. Edge is so outdated…
    Eclair (Android 2.1) is also outdated, my phone uses Froyo, why would i downgrade myself to Eclair?

  • Opiyobenard

    Bravo!!!!! but can we purchase it by installment? so  far so good

  • Mavo

    hey just wanted to ask is there any software or program you can download so that your web box can have the chat feature on facebook because I hear it does not have and how long does a you tube video take to load fully on the wee box?

  • This is really a great news. I was not aware of the facts. I am glad I visited here and come to know about it. I have gathered a huge knowledge being here.