During the Google I/O 2017 event that was held in May last year, the company had announced Android Go initiative for developing markets. Android Go is a lightweight edition of the latest Android OS that is designed to run on smartphones with low-end specs. Fresh information suggests that the search engine giant will be teaming up with Indian smartphone OEMs to launch Android Go phones starting from this month. These smartphones are expected to be priced between Rs. 2,000 and Rs. 7,000.
According to Factor Daily, Google will be working with brands like Micromax, Intex, Lava and Karbonn to release Android Go (Oreo edition). In fact, Micromax is expected to launch the first Android Go phone around Republic Day. Other smartphone vendors from the country are also expected to release their Android Go smartphones in the subsequent weeks.
In related news, HMD Global is also rumored to debut the Nokia 1 Android Go phone in March this year. The rumor mill has revealed that it will be coming with IPS HD display, 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of native storage. It is expected to carry a pricing of around 5,999 Rubles (~Rs. 6,660). Huawei is also rumored to be working on an Android Go phone.
As mentioned above, Android Go phones will be aimed towards developing markets. All the Android Go phones are rumored to carry support for 4G LTE connectivity. Android Go has been optimized to function smoothly even in smartphones that have less than 1 GB of RAM. The Android Go OS will bring along Go versions of Google app, Play Store, Gmail, YouTube, Maps and more. These apps will consume less RAM, storage space and battery power.
According to IDC’s market survey, Indian smartphone manufacturers had held a market share of 50 percent around two years. However, recent stats have revealed that their market share has declined to 15 percent. This has happened mainly because of the increased popularity of Chinese smartphone OEMs like Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo in India. According to IDC’s research, Xiaomi’s strategy of selling feature-rich smartphones with low pricing has made it possible for it to equal its market share with Samsung in Q3 2017. The aggressive offline marketing of OPPO and Vivo have allowed them to rank among the top 5 smartphone brands in India. The arrival of Android Go brands will certainly give an opportunity to Indian smartphones OEMs to gain lost ground.