Google partners with Safaricom to provide Kenyans the affordable Android Go smartphones

google safaricom android oreo

Big tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon are finding less and less room for growth in the industrialized market. That is because the market is already saturated leaving little space for growth if any.

The next growth opportunity comes from developing countries. However, digital businesses find it a big challenge given ICT infrastructure is not that well laid down in the developing countries. Not so many people have access to reliable electricity, the internet, and even internet-access enabled devices.

It then follows that to break into these markets, the big ‘Western’ tech firms must first support the growth of ICT infrastructure in these markets. Though we haven’t seen any of them getting involved in setting up electricity production and supply infrastructure. Companies such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are currently pursuing various ventures that will see affordable (if not free) internet access to these markets.

Google wants to beam internet from hot air balloons, Facebook from high-flying drones, while Microsoft is exploring the use of white spaces to deliver internet to the underserved and unconnected regions. Though none seems to be performing as the companies would love it.

Android Go devices

In its quests to have more people using its products, Google released slimmed down version of Android that can run smoothly on low-end mobile devices. Android Oreo (Go edition) has been designed from the ground-up to be minimalistic.

It consumes less internet, runs smoothly on devices without a lot of power. But most importantly, it is affordable thus can put Google services in the hands of millions in the developing services much faster.

Google partnership with Safaricom

Google has partnered with Safaricom, a leading mobile service carrier in Kenya, to provide Android Oreo powered low-end smartphones. As mentioned earlier, these Go version of Android though running on low-end devices (with little storage, less RAM, less processing power, and generally fewer hardware capabilities).

Though they are low-end, they run a slimmed down version of Android, tailor-made to run smoothly on their hardware.

At Safaricom, we aim to transform lives by providing solutions to our customers. With these affordable phone options that will allow our customers to enjoy a superior digital experience without stretching their finances. The new 3G and 4G Neon phones will be advancement towards inclusivity.” said Sylvia Mulinge, the Chief Customer Officer at Safaricom.

Her counterpart, Mahir Sahin, the Director of Africa Android Partnerships, Google added: “Android Oreo (Go edition) is specifically optimized to bring the magic of Google and Android to smartphones with limited memory and processing power, and we’re excited to see Safaricom joining that mission by launching the Neon Storm, Neon Ray, and Neon Rova phones on Android Oreo (Go edition).

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