Google at MWC 2018: Here are the first Android Go smartphones
Apart from new Android Go smartphones, Google also announced improvements to its Google Assistant.
Google is betting big on its Android Oreo (Go edition), a new iteration of Android that has been customised for emerging markets such as India where majority of phones come with low storage, RAM power and grapple with patchy internet connectivity.
At the ongoing Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona, Spain, Google announced a partnership with Nokia, Alcatel and ZTE to launch the first wave of Android Go smartphones. Nokia phone-maker, HMD Global on Sunday unveiled the first Android Go-enabled smartphone, Nokia 1 while Alcatel and ZTE on Monday announced Alcatel 1X and ZTE Tempo Go.
Nokia 1 comes with a 4.5-inch FWGA IPS display. It runs on MediaTek's MT6737 quad-core processor clocked at 1.1GHz coupled with 1GB of RAM. The smartphone comes with 8GB of onboard storage and supports expandable storage up to 128GB via a microSD card.
Nokia 1 sports a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 2-megapixel camera on the front. Connectivity options include dual-SIM support, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi and USB 2.0. The smartphone is powered by a 2,150mAh battery.
Nokia 1 will be available in select markets starting April with a price tag of USD 85, which translates to roughly ₹5,500.
Alcatel 1X features a 5.3-inch display. It runs on MediaTek 6739 processor and is available in 1GB and 2GB RAM storage variants. It has an 8-megapixel camera on the back. There's also a 13-megapixel rear camera variant of the smartphone. On the front, it has a 5-megapixel camera.
Other key features include 2,460mAh battery, 16GB built-in storage, and a microSD slot for expandable storage. The base variant with 1GB of RAM will be available in April starting Euro 100 (₹8,000 approximately) and the top-end model for Euro 110 (₹8,800 approximately).
ZTE Tempo Go
Priced at $80 (₹5,100 approximately), ZTE Tempo Go runs on Qualcomm's low-end Snapdragon 210 processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. It comes with 8GB of onboard storage and supports expandable storage up to 32GB via a microSD card.
ZTE Tempo Go sports a 5-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel selfie camera and is powered by a 2,200mAh battery. Connectivity options include 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi among others.
The smartphone is already on sale in the US.
Google, Airtel partnership
Google has joined hands with Indian telecom major Airtel to offer low-cost smartphones powered by Android Go. The partnership is part of Airtel's 'Mera Pehla Smartphone' programme wherein the telecom operator subsidises phones by bundling affordable 4G data plans.
These smartphones with basic specs will come pre-loaded with compatible apps, including MyAirtel App, Airtel TV and Wynk Music.
Earlier, Micromax was planning to launch Bharat Go in January this year. The entry-level smartphone was touted as the world's first Android Go smartphone. Micromax, however, has delayed the launch of the smartphone.
Lava has announced Z50 as it first Android Go smartphone. The smartphone features a 4.5-inch display with Gorilla Glass protection. It runs on MediaTek MT6737 quad-core processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. It comes with 8GB of internal storage. The smartphone will be available starting next month. It will be bundled with Airtel offers including a ₹2,000 cashback.
Updates to Assistant
Google did not forget its digital assistant at the MWC 2018. The Google Assistant is now being opened more to third-party developers. This essentially means developers can now deeply integrate their applications with Google Assistant. For instance, users can simply ask Assistant to make an Uber booking.
The company plans to roll out Google Assistant in as many as 30 new languages by end of this year, including Hindi.
The new improvements to Google Assistant are expected to help Google increase the adoption of its AI service. Also, it is going to help Google further tap into the smart home speaker segment where it offers Google Home devices which leverages on voice-triggered commands.