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Airtel and Google announce partnership for accelerating development of low cost smartphone ecosystem

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Bharti Airtel and Google today announced a partnership to bring low-cost smartphones powered by Android Oreo (Go edition) to the Indian market and 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 optimized 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.

Entry level 4G smartphones under Airtel’s ‘Mera Pehla Smartphone’ program 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.

Vani Venkatesh, Chief Marketing Officer – Bharti Airtel, said: “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.”

“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 of Android Partnerships.

‘Mera Pehla Smartphone’ program 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. All smartphones under the program come with attractive cash back offers and bundled plans that bring down the effective cost of device ownership. The program has received extremely positive response from customers across India.


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