Google Debuts Android One In Africa With $88 Phone

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Google is ramping up its new Android One smartphone program with a push into six African countries on Tuesday. The program was first launched in India last September, followed by 10 other emerging countries including Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines and Turkey.

To run on latest Android

Google worked with Infinix on the Hot 2, which is a part of the Android One program that was launched last year in India. The Hot 2 handset has been developed by Infinix, and comes with a recommended price of $88. Similar to the Nexus device, its software updates automatically.

“Today, 6 countries in Africa — with combined populations of 379 million people — join the list of places where Android One phones are sold,” Google VP of product management, Caesar Sengupta, said in a blog post while announcing the Android One Africa push.

Google’s phone runs on Android 5.1 with the nickname “Lollipop.” It will also be compatible with the upgraded Marshmallow version of Android which is due out this fall. Users will also receive free updates via MTN, a local mobile service provider. To make the device more attractive, Google is also working to simplify the regional data plans.

Google’s latest phone has a dual SIM slot and runs on a quad-core Media Tek processor. The handset comes with 1 GB of RAM, and is available in a range of colors such as white, black, blue, red and gold.

The latest smartphone will be available at stores in Nigeria, and will be offered by Jumia, an online retailer, in five other countries: Ghana, Egypt, Coast, Ivory, Morocco and Kenya.

Google aims to get more users online

With its cheap smartphones under the Android One program, Google aims to push into emerging markets where a computer is still considered a luxury. In order to make a cheap phone with the latest version of its Android software, the Internet firm always works closely with the device makers. Moreover, to add locally relevant apps to the device, it provides OEMs access to its Play Store.

Internet-connected devices are still generally unaffordable in Africa, so the “Hot 2” phone with a cost of just $88 could spur the demand for smartphones in the region. The price of the Hot 2 is much less when compared to other phones with the latest Android OS. However, these phones are bare-bones models which cannot do not as many things as their expensive counterparts. That said, we must not forget the main aim of these initiatives is to get more users online.

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