In a bid to get more Indians online, Google and telecom services provider Bharti Airtel on Tuesday announced they were collaborating to introduce low-cost smartphones powered by Android Oreo (Go Edition) in the domestic market.
With this, India will become one of the first countries to commercially roll-out smartphones running on Android Oreo (Go) Operating System (OS).
'This partnership is a major milestone for the 'Mera Pehla Smartphone' initiative. We are excited to collaborate with Google and our device partners to work towards bringing smartphones within the reach of more people," Vani Venkatesh, Chief Marketing Officer, Bharti Airtel, said in a statement.
Entry-level 4G smartphones under Airtel's "Mera Pehla Smartphone" programme will be shipped with Android Oreo (Go) OS starting March 2018.
The upcoming smartphones with basic specifications will come preloaded with compatible apps, including MyAirtel App, Airtel TV and Wynk Music. Moreover, the handsets will have apps like Google Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, YouTube Go, Google Assistant Go and Files Go.
"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)," added Jon Gold, Global Director of Android Partnerships at Google.
Android Oreo (Go) is essentially made for entry-level Android smartphones with less than 1GB RAM and hence uses less storage space, less memory and still runs smoothly.
Originally announced at Google I/O 2017 annual developer conference, the OS is a toned-down version of the latest Android Oreo OS which is currently present in high-end devices.
Google had also announced during the conference that Android Go is a program that aims to improve the budget smartphone ecosystem.
More recently, it had stated that the first set of smartphones running Android Oreo (Go edition) will be showcased at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 in Barcelona.
As part of "Mera Pehla Smartphone" programme, Airtel has partnered with several mobile handset manufacturers to build an "open ecosystem" of affordable 4G smartphones.
(With IANS inputs)