​Google expands Android One to six countries in Africa with $90 Hot 2

Ahead of Google's major reset of Android One, the company has launched its first device in the category in Africa.

Image: Jumia

Google's Android One program has arrived in Africa with the launch of the Hot 2 from Infinix.

The Hot 2 is launching in six markets in Africa: Nigeria will be first to get the device, followed by Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Egypt, and Morocco in coming weeks. The Hot 2 comes with a recommended retail price NGN 17,500 ($90).

Launched last year, the Android One initiative was intended to give Android a new edge in developing economies and allow Google more control over how the operating system is used in such areas. Android One phones have already been released in several countries in Asia as well as in Turkey.

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Avoiding the mistake of only selling Android One devices online that it made in India, in Nigeria the Hot 2 will be sold both online, through Jumia, as well as through bricks and mortar stores. The device is also available at the stores of Nigerian operator MTN across the country.

Like other Android One-compliant phones, the Hot 2 is built to Google's specs, featuring a five inch display with HD resolution (1280 x 720 pixels), a 1.3GHz quad core MediaTek processor, 16GB storage and comes with 1GB RAM for the black, white, red, and blue models. Appealing to more expensive tastes, there's also a 2GB RAM variant in gold. The main and front facing cameras come respectively with eight-megapixel and two-megapixel sensors, while the device is powered by a 2200 mAh battery.

Being an Android One device, it will ship with Android 5.1 and a commitment to deliver OS updates for the next two years, though it's up to Infinix to determine the exact timing of the releases.

As Google outlined recently, the company is aiming over the next three years to bring the cost of Android One handsets down to the $50 mark.

As with the launch of Android One in India, Google is also bring YouTube offline to Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Egypt within the next few months to cater for occasions when users don't have a connection.

Google has also rolled out a slimmed down version of Google Search to deliver faster results for users on devices with low RAM, which it claims can shave a third of the time it takes to load results and reduce data usage on the results page by up to 90 percent.

Google said that the six new countries in Africa collectively have a population of 379 million people, and highlighted an Internet Society study released in June showing that just 23 percent of mobile phones will have an internet connected by the end the year. The study projected that falling hardware prices will drive smartphones' share of the African mobile market from 15 percent in 2014 and 23 percent in 2015 to 40 percent by 2017.

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