Google Have Now Pushed Android One To Africa
Google Have Now Pushed Android One To Africa
Google is ramping up its
smartphone program with a push into Africa. The first
Android One smartphone for the region is being made by
OEM Infinix, and is launching in Nigeria today, with
Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Morocco getting
the device “over the next few weeks”.
The handset, called the Infinix HOT 2 (pictured below),
runs Android 5.1 (Lollipop) at launch, but Google says it
will be getting the new Android Marshmallow flavor once
that’s released. Users will also get free updates via local
mobile service provider MTN — as Google works to
simplify (and squeeze) regional data plans to make the device
more attractive to its target. The device has an RRP of
Specs wise, there’s a quad-core MediaTek processor with
1GB of RAM, and models with up to 2GB of memory.
There’s also support for dual SIM, and a range of colors:
black, white, red, blue, and gold. Yes, gold. Android One
is not skimping on the bling.
As part of the program, Google works to reduce
smartphone hardware costs by identifying components that
will be used and pre-qualifying suppliers for the parts. On
the software side it gives OEMs access to its Play Store
to help them add locally relevant apps to the devices, as
well as automating software updates as it does with Nexus
The wider push here is of course a landgrab by Google for
the next wave of mobile Internet users — those much
discussed “next billions”, who may live in areas with patchy
connectivity or be priced out of unlimited mobile data plans.
Hence the need to squeeze costs to lower the barrier to
entry. (Facebook has a similar and parallel push around
spreading access to connectivity with its Internet.org
initiative — albeit that’s come under fire for limiting the
services users can access).
In a blog post announcing its Android One Africa push,
Google VP of product management, Caesar
Nearly one year ago, Google introduced
the Android One program and YouTube
Offline in India. Today, 6 countries in
Africa — with combined populations of
379 million people — join the list of
places where Android One phones are
sold. We’ve been thrilled by the progress
and feel humbled by the work that’s left
to do. But we look forward to continuing
our work with partners to ensure that
people have a great way to access the
Internet, using it in ways that are relevant
Google launched the Android One affordability push last
summer , targeting OEMs specifically making phones for
emerging markets — and targeting the “next five billion ”
smartphone users in a bid to continue expanding Android’s
marketshare (which generally hovers around 80 per cent
The first Android One smartphone launched in India in
September 2014, with three more Asian markets
(Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka) offering devices by
December. OEMs making Android One devices there
include Micromax, Karbonn and Spice.
For its Africa Android One push, Google says it will also
be extending YouTube offline to Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana,
and Egypt “in the coming months”. The feature lets users
store videos within the YouTube app for up to 48 hours so
they can watch them later when they don’t have a
connection, or when the network they can access is too slow
Google also announced it’s rolling out a streamlined version
of Google Search, tweaked for a faster experience on low
RAM phones — such as those with 512MB — claiming
the feature can reduce data usage on the results page by up
to 90 per cent, and cutting load times by up to a third.
Other mobile players chasing emerging markets include
China’s Android OEM Xiaomi, which does use Google
services outside China, and is currently a little more
focused on the mid tier and higher tier
smartphone segments, although pricing its handsets very
There’s also the wildcard of Finland’s Jolla , which is now
fully focused on a licensing business for its alternative mobile
platform, Sailfish, an OS which is compatible with
Android apps. This summer the company announced it had
secured its first licensing deal with Indian OEM Intex.
The forthcoming Sailfish-powered handset, the Intex Aqua
Fish, is being priced at less than Rs 10,000 ($150).
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