Airtel and Google join hands to launch Android Go-powered smartphones in India


Airtel has tied up with Google to release low-cost 4G smartphones running Go edition of Android Oreo in India. The budget smartphones will be launched under Airtel’s ‘Mera Pehla Smartphone’ program, and the first phone is said to ship starting March this year. If it goes as planned, India will be among the first countries to commercially roll-out phones with Android Oreo (Go edition).

The first Android Oreo (Go edition) phones under the program will be made by Indian OEMs Micromax and Lava. These smartphones will also come pre-loaded with apps like MyAirtel app, Airtel TV and Wynk Music. This sounds similar to how Jio bundles their apps on the JioPhone for a full-fledged carrier services. 

Android Oreo (Go edition) is a toned down version of Android’s original operating system customised specifically for low-end phones. It is optimised for devices with 1GB RAM or less. It also brings along a range of ‘Go’ apps which are also optimised for low-end phones. These apps include YouTube Go, Gmail Go, Files Go, Google Maps Go and more.

To get an idea of how the phones would be, you can check out Alcatel’s range of smartphones launched at the Mobile World Congress (MWC). These phones aren’t really about the spec sheet, but rather, the price they come at.