In mid-August, Google brought to Africa, for the first time ever, its Android One program. The debut smartphone under the program in this part of the world is the Infinix Hot 2.
Android One is a program by Google that is meant to deliver quality low-cost smartphones to the masses in emerging markets while still guaranteeing an unadulterated Android experience complete with timely updates. For instance, the current version of Android is 5 otherwise code-named Lollipop. In a few days, it will be succeeded by Android 6, code-named Marshmallow. For most smartphone users with low-cost smartphones, there is no hope of them ever getting their hands on the Android 6 update when it becomes available.
Android has a serious fragmentation problem. Only one in every five Android devices runs on Android 5 Lollipop. Even then only a paltry 5% of those devices are actually running the latest Android 5.1.1. The rest are stuck on the buggy Android 5.0 release. It’s very messed up. Even some top of the range premium smartphones miss out on these crucial updates. For the most part though, top Android smartphones and upper mid-range devices get updates for at least 18 months. Lower mid-range and entry level? You have to buy another phone running the newer version of Android for you to “upgrade”. It’s one of the quarrels I have with cheap smartphones. This is why Android One exists. You don’t have to spend over $450 in order to always be on the bleeding edge of technology. You can still be guaranteed timely updates on your sub-$200 phone. You should not break the bank in order to get the best of Android.
We’ve spent some time with the Infinix Hot 2 which is now available in the Kenyan market via online retailer Jumia (it will be available elsewhere as well in coming days) and while we’re still preparing an in-depth review which is coming your way soon, here are a few photos as you wait:
Stock Android is quite a breath of fresh air from all the cartoon-like stuff you’re bound to get on similarly priced phones elsewhere.
The Infinix Hot 2 is a modest phone. It has “just okay” specifications but thanks to the almost untouched Android 5.1.1, performance is much better than you’d normally get on your typical sub-$100 smartphone.
The Infinix Hot 2 goes for a discounted price of Ksh 8,999 and at that price it is easily our most favourite low-cost Android smartphone. Seriously, we’ve barely spent a lot of time with it but it is damn too impressive. Android One has struggled to impress elsewhere and Google has even given the program a reboot in countries like India where it debuted but we have every right to believe that it will be a hit with the price-sensitive African market.
We have with us the “standard” Infinix Hot 2 (model X510) that has 1 GB RAM. If you have anything you need to know about the first Android One smartphone in Kenya and Africa at large let us know and we’ll have it covered in the upcoming review.