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Africa Blog

Making smartphones more affordable and accessible in Africa

From the beginning of Google, our mission — to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful — has always pushed us to bring more people online and create a more inclusive Internet. This is particularly true for Africa, where the population is over 1.2 billion and the number of working age young people will exceed that of the rest of the world combined by 2035. In Africa - where over 800 million people still do not have access to an internet-connected device - we aspire to provide access, products and platforms that enable them to succeed.

To this end, we have worked with our partners, the mobile network operators and device manufacturers from across the continent and globally. We listened carefully to our users who wanted faster devices and more storage in particular, and created Android (Go edition). This configuration of the Android OS is optimized for entry level devices and comes with a tailored suite of popular Google apps. 

Android (Go edition) compliments our partners’ hardware innovations to overcome challenges such as limited storage space, battery life, lack of mobile data usage or device cost. We strive to bring the power of computing, access to the web and apps to everyone:

A video introduction to the Android (Go Edition) in Africa

In the last 2 years we have made great strides in reaching this goal. Teaming up with manufacturers and telecommunication services providers, we launched over 60 Android (Go edition) smartphones in 49 African countries.

Thanks to our partnership with Safaricom, Kenyans now have the country's most affordable smartphone, “Neon Kicka 4” retailing at KES 3,500 (USD ~35) at their disposal. This has allowed thousands of people to convert from an older feature phone to a smartphone - making it their first smartphone ever. Similarly, budget conscious smartphone users in Nigeria can now purchase Android (Go edition) devices like the Tecno F1 or the Tecno Spark 2 which have become favorites amongst tech savvy early adopters. In South Africa 3G and 4G Android (Go edition) devices offered by Vodacom come with digital packages that make streaming high resolution videos faster and more affordable than ever before.

With Android (Go edition) applications like YouTube Go and Maps Go, we have built our core services from the ground up to work better on slower networks even when you are offline. They consume less data and help people save money.

This week at AfricaCom in Cape Town, we will come together with many of our partners to continue working to bring the transformative power of the internet to more Africans than ever before.