Google Enrolls Africa in Android One Program

Google aims at introducing and roping in the remaining world currently unconnected to the global internet via its many special programs, such as the Project Loon. One initiative from Google, proving effective to accomplish this goal of the web giant, is the Android One Program.

First introduced to a couple of countries in Asia, the program has seen tremendous returns, leaving the company no choice than to enroll 6 more countries, this time round, in Africa. The program is an impressive one, solving a genuine problem, and so far, has been well received by all countries its been to. So what exactly is the Android One program?

A blog post in September last year, Google thoroughly explained what the program envisions to achieve. Lemme break them down for you. I’ll try.

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The Problem

Relatively, only a few are connected to the internet, just about 1.75 Million, according to the Google blog. This number might seem huge, however, the remaining not online dwarfs the former. With roughly about 70% of the world’s population currently not connected to the global internet grid leaves us all wondering.

“Knowledge is a game changer. I’ve long been inspired by the Internet and how it opens the doors to opportunity. It provides access to knowledge, no matter who you are or where you are.” – google blog

Knowledge indeed is a game changer. Not so changing, though, for the billions who aren’t connected or have no access. What most people are capable of doing with their mobile devices in many developing countries is just to make simple voice calls. Nothing like a live video chat or using mapping apps to find the closest hospital is possible. With a mere mobile device, simple web search aren’t possible too. Google Android One Program seeks to address this challenge, in a fundamental, and way.

The Solution

The Android One Program, is basically about providing sub-100 dollars Android powered smartphones for the millions living in developing countries, such as in Asia and Africa. On the global platform smartphone specs playground at the moment, these Android One smartphones aren’t ground breaking in any way. Flagship phones from Sony, LG and others sport the best of hardware, screen, sound and camera technologies. These flagships in most cases, are above a $ 400 threshold, a price so high pitched many in developing countries might struggle to win.

The Android One smartphones, on the other hand, maintain the focus of ensuring the best of software, coupled with the best possible hardware to make web use, video calls and apps use experience as seamless as possible, as well as keeping an eye on the price. Obviously, we’re all looking at a less than 100 dollar phone, so our expectations are supposed to be realistic as well.

What’s more, Android One has been “working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share reference designs and select components, we’re making it easier for our partners to build phones that are not just great to use, but also affordable.”

Thus you can expect a high-quality front- and rear-facing cameras in any Android One smartphone for taking the great pictures you love. With an expandable storage, videos and pictures are sure to have a resting place. Features included are dual SIM cards ability, a replaceable battery and built-in FM radio. Battery life is also greatly improved, and comes in very handy for developing countries, which sometimes face electricity power generation.

And last but not least, Android updates and patches will be readily available on the Android One handsets, providing all the latest security fixes and speed improvements, right from the hands of Google, keeping users closer to the Android stock experience as much as possible. Android One handsets are destined to receive automatic Android updates for up to 2 years.

At the moment, on a global scale, Android One has partnered with just over 20 giant OEMs and Network Providers, in bring the best experience closer to the respective countries.

The Good News

“The Android One program is expanding to Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Egypt, and Morocco with the launch of the Infinix HOT 2”, Android One program announces. Infinix is one of the hottest, fastest growing smartphone brands in Africa, and Google is happy to partner with the vibrant partner in making Android One devices.

Right away you can grab your Infinix HOT 2 available in Nigeria at select retail outlets and online through Jumia at a recommended retail price of N17,500* (~88 USD), and it will become available in the other countries over the next few weeks.

This is great news for all, especially myself and fellow Ghanaians. Although one can acquire many sub-100 dollars smartphones today on the market, running so-called Android, there’s few or none close to the true Android experience. Many of these less than 100 dollar smartphones are ‘China made’, known to be inferior in quality and software experience not great.

With the introduction of Android One, we can expect nothing but great device quality, paired with the best of Android from Google.

I am excited about the Infinix Hot from Android One. Are you?

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