Google brings Android One to Africa starting with 6 countries

Google has finally launched Android One, a standard created for Android devices in developing countries, in Africa.

First revealed last September, Android One launched in India initially, but has since rolled out to ten markets in total, including Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

With Android One, Google controls the development, design, and marketing of the devices, while leaving the building to partner manufacturers in each country. The program is essentially designed to bring affordable but decent-quality mobile phones to billions more people.

Africa has been a glaring omission for Android One so far, but today it’s arriving in six markets across the continent thanks to a tie-up with Hong Kong-based Infinix.

The new Hot 2 smartphone runs the latest version of “pure” Android (Lollipop 5.1), and is Infinix’s first Android One device. It sports dual-SIM slots, a quad-core MediaTek processor, a FM radio tuner, and 16GB internal memory. There are two versions — one with 1GB of processing memory, which comes in black, white, blue, and red; and there’s a premium version with 2GB memory, which is available in gold.

The Hot 2 goes on sale in a number of physical retail outlets across Nigeria today, as well as through online retailer Jumia, for around N17,500 ($87). Jumia’s also selling it online in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Kenya,and Morocco.

Google will also be launching an offline feature for YouTube in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, and Egypt later this year, meaning users can download videos to their device to watch within 48 hours when there is no Internet connection. This is akin to what already exists in the main YouTube mobile app in India.

While today’s launch ignores much of the African continent, with only six out of a possible 54 countries now open to Android One, when looking at things from a people perspective, this move actually caters for almost a third of Africa’s 1.1 billion population. And we can probably expect more country launches to come in the future, too.