Google has revealed that the version of its Android smartphone OS specially designed for cheaper phones is going from strength to strength.
The smartphone installed base of developed economies effectively reached saturation years ago, so pretty much all growth must now come from people who can’t afford regular devices. The only way to make really cheap smartphones is for them to use components that are below the minimum spec required to run full-fat Android, hence the invention of Android Go.
In a blog post Google revealed that more than 1,600 device models are now available in over 180 countries, meaning there are now more than 100 million active Android (Go edition) devices around the world. One of the reasons for this is special partnerships with operators such as Safaricom in Kenya, which resulted in almost a million smartphones ending up in the hands of Kenyans.
The other purpose of the blog was to promote a new Android Go feature called Camera Go. This is intended to bring some of the post-processing features many people already take for granted to low-tier devices. It also offers some kind of assistance with managing the amount of local storage space photos take up.
The app will be available on the Nokia 1.3 phone (made by HMD Global) when it comes out, which was unveiled today together with its mid and high-tier siblings (see photo below. The 1.3 will be available globally next month, costing just €95. The 5.3 will come out at the same time, costing €189 and the 5G 8.3 will set you back €649, which should make it one of the cheaper 5G phones you can get your hands on.