South Africa’s Thumbzup is ready to launch a better version of its low-cost smartphone to make mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) more affordable and accessible through a one-stop option.
The company’s upgraded version of Pebble, AKA “the Payment Blade,” is now available as a smartphone that comes standard with a built-in mPOS so users don’t have to tap into another payment collection option. The device previously relied on plugging the device through an audio jack, which limited its user base to those with smartphones.
“What we did is we’ve built a phone, purpose-built for the Pebble from the ground up. This is not a smartphone OEM we are licensing, it is our connectivity device specifically bound to the Pebble and so it has no inherent value outside of what it does for the Payment Pebble… The Pebble’s a great product, but we’re assuming that the merchant has an iPhone or that the merchant has a smartphone of some sort,” Thumbzup CEO Stafford Masie said in an interview.
“What we have discovered in South Africa is quite interesting. In the merchants that were on boarding and are on boarding, more than 65 percent of those with smartphones don’t go into their App stores, so they actually don’t access their App stores,” he said. “They’re not utilizing their phones with the full capacity which means there’s a technology inertia in terms of the adoption of the Pebble.”
That’s why there was a need for an upgraded Pebble, Masie explained. But it also had to come at the right cost. Costs were kept low since the smartphone component was designed locally but manufactured in China. Thumbzup will launch the device next quarter, which will lead the company into its next stage of potential growth: international markets in the U.S. and Japan.
“This, from a functionality perspective is a world first. There’s nothing like it in the world. It’s the only mobile point-of-sale solution at its price point – and at its capacity and its functionality – that doesn’t require an external device. It just connects,” Masie told Fin24.