A Year After Launch, Google Brings Android One To Africa

A Year After Launch, Google Brings Android One To Africa

Mobile phone users in six African countries can finally buy Google’s Android One, a standard created for Android devices in developing countries that so far has been conspicuously absent from the continent.

The first Android One device by Hong Kong-based Infinix, the Hot 2 mobile device goes on sale in several Nigerian retail outlets today. It’s also being sold through online retailer Jumia for around $87 in Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Morocco and Nigeria, VentureBeat reports.

While only six countries are getting the Android One, their combined populations amount to almost a third of Africa’s 1.1 billion people. More country launches are expected.

The Android One was first launched last year in India, then made available in nine other markets including Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines.

In Africa, Jumia listed the phone for $98 before it sold out, based on a check of its website yesterday, the HinduBusinessLine reported.

Google consults with device makers to build cheap phones that can still run the latest version of its Android software. Android One represents Google’s push to lower the price of smartphones in less developed parts of the world where computers are considered a luxury, HBL reported.

The Android phones being released in Africa are bare-bones models that can’t do as many things as more expensive phones.

At $87, the Hot 2 is deeply discounted from other smartphones equipped with Android’s newest software. For instance, prices for Samsung Electronics’ newest Android phones to be released this month will cost from about $700-to-$800-plus without a wireless contract, HBL reported.

With Android One, Google controls the development, design, and marketing of the devices, while the building is left to partner manufacturers in each country. The program is designed to bring affordable-but-decent-quality mobile phones to billions more people, according to VentureBeat.

Google, Facebook and other Internet companies are trying to bring more people online in Africa so they can sell more digital advertising, HBT reports. As part of that effort, Google built a fiber-optic network to provide faster Internet access in Kampala, Uganda.