Google ex­pands low-cost phone pro­gram in Africa

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Google is in­tro­duc­ing a low­priced smart­phone in six African coun­tries where most peo­ple still can’t af­ford an In­ter­net-con­nected de­vice.

The “Hot 2” phone an­nounced Tues­day is made by In­finix and has a rec­om­mended price of US$88. It will be sold in stores in Nige­ria and of­fered by online re­tailer Ju­mia in five other coun­tries: Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, and Morocco. Ju­mia listed the phone at US$98 be­fore it sold out, based on a check of its web­site late Tues­day.

In­finix worked with Google on the Hot 2 as part of a pro­gram called An­droid One that made its de­but in In­dia last year.

An­droid One rep­re­sents Google’s push to lower the prices of smart­phones in less de­vel­oped parts of the world where com­put­ers are con­sid­ered a lux­ury.

Google con­sults with de­vice mak­ers to build cheap phones that can still run the latest ver­sion of its An­droid soft­ware.

In­finix’s phone will be sold with an An­droid re­lease that came out last year un­der the nick­name “Lol­lipop.” It will be ca­pa­ble of run­ning the next up­grade of An­droid, called “Marsh­mal­low,” due out this fall.

The price for the Hot 2 is a steep mark­down from other smart­phones equipped with An­droid’s new­est soft­ware. For in­stance, prices for Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics new­est An­droid phones to be re­leased this month will cost from about US$700 to more than US$800 with­out a wire­less con­tract.

The An­droid phones be­ing re­leased in Africa, though, are bare-bones mod­els that can’t do as many things as more ex­pen­sive phones.

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