At Google For India 2017, the Mountain View giant introduced its Android Go project that’s meant to empower and embellish entry-grade Android experience. Google also announced that these ultra-affordable Android Go phones will be available soon (in the“next 2 to 3 months”) and a recent report confirms these claims, revealing that the first Android Go phone will be launched in January 2018 in partnership with Micromax.

The Micromax Android Go phone will reportedly cost around Rs. 2000 and is expected to be officially launched around Republic Day (January 26).

What Are Android Go Mobile Phones?

Android Go is one of many initiatives Google has taken to make Android accessible to and practical for the vast number of feature phone users in India. Under the initiative, Google has reworked the Android framework from the ground up and has re-written its own apps to optimize them for phones with as low as 1GB RAM and 8GB of storage.

  • With Android Go, Google has worked on Speed, Security, and Space.
  • Apps will open 15 percent faster.
  • The free storage will be doubled on 8GB phones.
  • Google has also designed a few custom apps like Files Go, Google Go, Datatally, Assistant Go, and more.
  • Google has also partnered Qualcomm and MediaTek for custom Android Go phone optimized chipsets.

Will Android Go help domestic manufacturers make a comeback?

A few years back, Google introduced another such initiative, the Android One program, to improve the overall experience and deliver speedy updates to affordable phones. Back then, domestic manufacturers weren’t favorably inclined to Google dictating hardware and software terms or with launching similar products as their competitors in the same price bracket.

Things are, however, very different now. Most of the market is dominated by Chinese players and the Domestic manufacturers have primarily been restricted to the entry-level segment that manufacturers like Oppo and Vivo aren’t prioritizing. For instance, in its comeback stint, the Bharat series (with most phones priced under 5K) has worked best for Micromax. According to IDC, The market share for Domestic manufacturers has reduced from 50 percent to 15 percent in the last 2 years.

Also Read: Project Treble to fast-track Android updates

The first Android Go Phone from Micromax will be priced for around Rs. 2000 and will compete in the same space. Other players like Lava, Intex, Karbon, Nokia and even Reliance Jio are also expected to launch Android Go Phones very soon.

Since around half of the mobile phones sold in India are under Rs. 2000 (feature phones included), there is tremendous scope for growth in this segment. If Google and domestic manufacturers can deliver a product that covers the basics as good as a feature phone (no stuttering, optimum battery backup, and durable performance) this could indeed help domestic vendors ride the upcoming smartphone adoption wave.

Google For India 2017: 10 Big Google Announcements

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