Google Inc., now a subsidiary of Alphabet, announced on Tuesday that it’ll be making its affordable smartphone offering – ‘Android One’ to six African countries. Google has joined hands with Infinix, who’ll be offering the phone at about $87 in Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Egypt. The duo has already worked on the ‘Hot 2’ as a part of its Android One initiative debuted in India last year.
The move seems to be a part of Google’s renewed interest to push its Android One initiative. Google’s managing director for India and Southeast Asia Rajan Anandan, recently revealed the company’s plans to revive the project by launching even more affordable handsets, and is reportedly working on a sub-$50 device for the Indian market.
The Android One initiative was announced at Google’s I/O developer conference in 2014, essentially to provide an improved user’s experience with its affordable Android handsets in developing parts of the world. The project debuted in India last year, though the company has not had much success with the initiative, with supply chain issues being the primary cause the project has not gained much traction.
Followed by its India debut, the company started expanding the project in other less developed countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Though it still couldn’t get the desired momentum the company was hoping it would, largely because of the limited bandwidth in these regions. The company will be addressing this issue by launching offline versions of some of its commonly used apps.
While for its recent Android One initiative in Africa, the company says it’ll be rolling out YouTube Offline in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Egypt in the ‘coming months’. With this feature, users will be able to store videos within the YouTube app for a period of 48 hours, which will allow them to watch these videos even if there’s low bandwidth or even without an Internet connection.
Meanwhile, Google seems all geared to launch the next iteration of its Android OS later this fall. Android’s VP of engineering David Burke ended all speculation about the mysterious ‘M’ in the forthcoming Android update. On Monday, Burke broke the news via his Twitter account that the next iteration of its OS will be dubbed as Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
The upcoming OS is essentially aimed at providing stability and performance improvements, as opposed to its predecessor that was more about new features and Google’s material design philosophy. It’ll also offer support for new features such as Android Pay, along with support for a built-in fingerprint scanner.