Google launches a smartphone for Africa that costs less than $100

Android OneXDA DevelopersAndroid One.

Android One, an initiative created by Google to bring cheap, good quality smartphones to developing countries, is being rolled out to Africa one year after it was first unveiled by the company in India. Google handles the design, development, marketing and customer support while the actual manufacturing is handled by selected partners.

Google has made Android One available in 10 markets so far, including the Philippines, Indonesia, India and Pakistan, and has seen a positive uptake in both hardware partner support and sales. One of the key reasons that a device manufacturer may choose to become part of Android One is that all security is handled by Google meaning that no users are left exposed to bugs and other flaws.

Hong Kong-based Infinix is the first OEM to produce a phone for the African market, named the Hot 2. Here are the specs, (with iPhone 6 specs for comparison):

  • a 5-inch screen (iPhone 6 has an 4.7-inch screen)
  • 16GB of internal storage (iPhone 6 has up to 128GB.)
  • 22oomAh battery (iPhone 6 has 1810 mAh)
  • 1GB of RAM (iPhone 6 has 1GB)

While these specs won’t set the world alight, remember it’s selling for about on-sixth of the price of an iPhone 6. And it comes with Android 5.1 in a “pure” form that, just like the Nexus range, will receive timely updates unhindered by carrier.

Android One is being rolled out to Nigeria, Egypt, the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Morocco although in-store pickup is only available in Nigeria. According to VentureBeat the handsets start at around £55 ($US87).

We have reached out to Google to ask about the company’s plans to expand beyond the current selection of African countries. We’ll update when we hear back.

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