Last year, Google introduced an affordable range of smartphones targeting the low-income earners in the developing worlds. The program was dubbed ‘Android One,’ and its pilot rollout was done last year in India. The adoption rate in India was impressive, and Google now wants to roll out Android One in Africa; it has first picked six African countries where the rollout will be.
The Android One program is to be launched in Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, and Ivory Coast. It gets even more interesting; these inexpensive smartphones are not running the old version of Google’s mobile operating system. Rather, they come out of the box with Android 5.1 (Lollipop) and could be upgraded to the upcoming Android Marshmallow.
The smartphones dubbed Hot 2 are manufactured by Infinix and will retail at a recommended price of just $88. Through the Android One initiative, Google wants to lower the cost of acquiring a smartphone for people living in developing countries.
The Hot 2 smartphones’ prices is a steep drop from other Android smartphones running the recent Android versions. Take, for instance, Samsung’s latest smartphones running the latest Android versions retailing somewhere between $700 to $800 without a wireless contract. However, the Hot 2 smartphones run the bare-bones versions of the Android OS. Meaning there are a lot of things users will not be able to enjoy on these Android One project smartphones compared to their counterparts using the expensive Android smartphones from Samsung and the likes.
It has become imperative for tech companies to pay their attention to the African continent given the rate at which it is growing economically and demographically. For this reason, companies like Google and Facebook among others are in a race to establish themselves earlier in Africa and leverage on this growth. All in a bid to secure prime positions where they will sell their digital advertising better to the audiences.
While Facebook is running tests with its Internet drones, Google has established a fiber-optic network in Kampala, Uganda to give users fast Internet access.