Enterprise Mobility & the Connected Worker Blog

TC15 balances price and value in the African market

by Emily Gove 11/28/2022

Zebra Technologies has announced the launch of its TC15 into the African market, offering a new rugged device for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the manufacturing, transportation, field services, retail, and hospitality verticals. Coupling premium features of the Zebra brand with a competitive price, the TC15 promises to shake up a market typically dominated by low-cost regional manufacturers and consumer-grade devices.

The TC15, a handheld rugged mobile computer, features a 6.5” display with minimal frame, optimizing the amount of viewable content for the device’s size. With a sleek look more reminiscent of a smartphone than a mobile computer, the device holds MIL-STD-810G and IP67 ratings and can withstand a five-foot drop and 1,000 tumbles. TC15 is equipped with integrated 1D/2D imager, front and rear cameras and can pair with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) applications to read license plates, serial numbers, driver licenses, and more. Each device has a large removable battery (5,000 mAh), with a charge time of under 2 hours. Its 5G network, premium Qualcomm 2.2 GHz octa-core processor and Wi-Fi 6 readiness allows reliable device responsiveness and functionality, ready for field and indoor applications across verticals from transportation and logistics to retail and manufacturing.

As it makes its debut in the African regional market, the TC15 promises an opportunity for SMEs to purchase a premium brand at an entry value, single unit pricing generally accepted as being priced below US$350 per unit. The TC15 is affordable yet rugged, backed by Zebra’s leading reputation in enterprise mobility. The device will have a two-year sales cycle, complemented by a following 2-year window for support. This lifecycle is shorter than most Zebra enterprise mobile computers, which tend to have 3-3, 4-4, or 5-5 sales/support cycle, yet it still offers a longer support cycle than a typical consumer device. The TC15 offers Zebra entrée into a market that values a low initial price and offers end users a taste of Zebra’s extensive portfolio of ruggedized devices.

The launch of the TC15 in Africa is part of a broader global move by Zebra to make its products competitive in emerging markets. The TC15 has already seen launches in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, balancing critical must-have features with the lowest end price achievable. For example, features like battery hot-swap and high-resolution image capture have been excluded from the TC15, as they are less valued by the market. However, the device’s high 5000mAh battery can hold a charge for longer than a whole shift, minimizing the need for hot swap and better accommodating both the price and workflow needs of users in the African market. The TC15 offers a lean, reliable feature set of must-haves at an introductory price point.

As Zebra strengthens its relationships with distributors and channel partners in Africa and other developing regions, it will heighten competition with local and low-cost OEMs in the area. While low initial price reigns as the main factor in device purchase decisions in the market, it is evolving quickly and priorities may shift as technologies like Wi-Fi 6 and 5G open access to a greater pool of buyers. Zebra’s rugged devices offer a lower TCO than less-rugged competitor products, which may ensure buyer loyalty the longer Zebra operates in the market.

Leo Greeley, Product Portfolio Lead for Zebra, predicts that Zebra’s growing market presence in Africa will increase competition among brands, likely to the benefit of the end user. Growing adoption of new modes of connectivity will open networks to new users. Greeley notes that with the improved bandwidth of 5G, consumers will be able to access the network and “businesses can take advantage of it at no additional cost.

Zebra Technologies was featured in VDC Research’s reports, 2021 Rugged Handheld Computers and Smartphones, and will be profiled in the upcoming 2022 Rugged Tablet Report. For more information or interest in custom research services, please email info@vdcresearch.com.