Google has a grand vision. A vision of the next billion users, coming from developing countries like India. In a short span of only 2 years, the search giant has developed Android apps specific to low powered devices and now, in partnership with HMD Global, have a device running on Android Go. What is Android Go, you ask? A customised version of Android OS that can easily run on budget smartphones which don’t have powerful hardware. Google has already launched a slew of ‘Go’ apps engineered to work on low-end hardware. Which means, Android Go phones can be sold at a minimal price and acquiring the next billion users will be made that much easier.
The Android Go project seems like a different iteration of the Android One smartphone project, which was unveiled in September 2014. For various reasons, the project didn’t quite go the way Google had foreseen, so it makes sense to go with a new name for another push at really cheap Android phones for the masses. So, at MWC 2018, we have the Nokia 1, running on Android Go. The partnership with Nokia seems odd but it may be a clever step in the right direction. India has always been in love with the Nokia brand and we associate quality and reliability with it.
Android Go will empower a good user experience with low-powered hardware
Not surprising then, that Google has chosen them to re-launch a Nexus project for really cheap Android phones. With a promise for regular Android and security updates.
What hardware is the Nokia 1 running?
Since the Android Go project will be targeted to people who are possibly buying their very first smartphone, the hardware specs need not be top-notch. There is a MediaTek MT6737M SoC paired with 1GB of RAM and a mere 8GB of internal storage, which can be expanded with a microSD card. The display sports is a 4.5-inch screen with a 845×480 pixel resolution. There is a rear and a front camera, but the specs are underwhelming – 5MP and 2MP respectively. There is a 2,150 mAh battery powering this phone which also features dual SIM slots and swappable Xpress-on covers.
What software is inside the Nokia 1?
As we previously stated, the Android Go project running the newest Android OS (ver 8.1) – Oreo, will be inside the Nokia 1. Even though the hardware may not be powerful, Google has assured that the Android Go phones will keep getting regular updates quickly, not just for the OS itself but also security patches. This blends with their idea of offering a good user experience to their next billion users, who will not feel cheated even though they aren’t paying top dollar for a modern smartphone.
Useful addition like the FM Radio Player only makes it abundantly clear who is the target audience of such a smartphone. Overall, expect literally no bloatware on the Nokia 1, once it launches and a stock Android OS experience. Of course, since the OS itself will be customised for low-powered devices, there might be some compromises made here and there.
Should you buy the Nokia 1?
If you’re looking for a clean Android OS experience with little to no bloatware, without an extraordinary camera, then the Nokia 1 makes sense. Of course, we’ll have to wait till the phone is officially launched to review it. HMD, however, is not just banking on the Nokia brand name to sell smartphones. They actually have shown they care about the quality and user experience and their partnership with Google only strengthens this view point.
Also, for people making the switch to their first Android phone, this will be a great stepping stone. Sure, it might not have a fingerprint sensor, dual cameras or any such fancy features. But for about Rs. 4,000 to 5,000 (speculated) – that’s quite a lot to expect, anyway.