Google Android One Lands In Africa

Google broadens its low-cost Android One service with the African rollout of its Infinix HOT 2 smartphone.
10 iPhone, Android Apps To Keep You Healthy
10 iPhone, Android Apps To Keep You Healthy
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Google is taking Android One, its affordable smartphone program, to a new level with a rollout across select African countries.

Android One will arrive in Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Egypt, and Morocco with the launch of the Infinix HOT 2. The service will first be available in Nigerian retail outlets and appear in other countries over the next few weeks.

There are more than 50 million Nigerian people online, wrote Google product management Vice President Caesar Sengupta in a blog post published Aug. 18. Almost all of them (95%) surf the Internet on a mobile device.

[More on Google: Android 6.0 matures with 'Marshmallow']

"However, simply having an Internet connection isn't enough," Sengupta explained. "It's important that people getting started with the Internet have a great, reliable, and relevant experience right away. This can be a challenge in places where local content may be limited, connectivity slow or intermittent, and quality phones costly."

Google is hoping to address this challenge with the Infinix HOT 2, which is the first Android One device built in collaboration with African smartphone manufacturer Infinix.

The HOT 2 will run Android 5.1 Lollipop at first, but Google promises an upgrade to Android Marshmallow when the new OS launches. It packs a quad-core MediaTek processor with 1GB RAM memory, dual-SIM support, and 16GB of storage.

Customers can choose from a color selection of red, black, white, blue and gold, which has 2GB RAM memory. Retail price will start at N17,500 (about $88).

Google is also extending YouTube offline throughout Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Egypt over the next few months. This is a capability within the YouTube app which lets users store videos for up to 48 hours so they can be viewed at times when connection is slow or absent.

For those who already own smartphones, Google is streamlining its search service for global devices in an effort to speed up the experience on devices with low RAM (512MB). This will reportedly decrease loading time by one-third and cut data use on the results page by up to 90%.

Google first announced Android One at its I/O conference in June 2014 with the goal of broadening Android's global presence. The program, along with YouTube Offline, first started in India.