Bharti Airtel, India's largest telecommunications services provider, and Google have entered into a partnership to bring low-cost smartphones powered by Android Oreo (Go edition) to the Indian market. The move, according to the companies, will enable more Indians to get online.
With this, India will become one of the first countries to commercially roll-out smartphones running on Android Oreo (Go edition).
Android Oreo (Go edition) is a configuration of the Android operating system specifically optimised for devices with 1GB of RAM or less. Android Oreo (Go edition) comes with a new range of apps designed to run faster while using less data. Devices running Android Oreo (Go edition) will also come with twice as much storage out of the box.
''This partnership is a major milestone for the 'Mera Pehla Smartphone' initiative. Android Go will provide a massive boost to our efforts to bring affordable smartphone options to the market and potentially enable hundreds of millions of feature phone users and unconnected people to get online. We are excited to collaborate with Google and our device partners to work towards this shared vision of bringing smartphones within the reach of more people,'' said Vani Venkatesh, chief marketing officer, Bharti Airtel.
Entry level 4G smartphones under Airtel's 'Mera Pehla Smartphone' programme will be shipped with Android Oreo (Go edition) as standard OS starting March 2018. Lava and Micromax, two leading Indian smartphone manufacturers, will introduce the first set of 4G smartphones powered by Android Oreo (Go edition).
These smartphones with basic specs will also come pre-loaded with compatible apps, including MyAirtel App, Airtel TV and Wynk Music, to ensure a seamless online/app experience for users.
''Android's mission has always been to bring the power of computing to everyone. We're excited to see Airtel take a leading role in that effort through introducing a range of devices powered by Android Oreo (Go edition),'' Said Jon Gold, director, Android Partnerships.
'Mera Pehla Smartphone' programme was launched by Airtel in October 2017 with the objective of bringing a 4G smartphone within the reach of every Indian. Airtel has partnered with multiple mobile handset manufacturers to build an 'open ecosystem' of affordable 4G smartphones and bring them to market at budget-friendly prices.