Bharti Airtel, India’s largest telecommunications services provider, has entered into a partnership with Google to bring low-cost smartphones powered by Android Oreo (Go edition) to the Indian market.

With this, India will become one of the first countries to commercially roll out smartphones running on Go edition, apart from enabling more Indians to go online.

The Go edition is a configuration of the Android operating system optimised for devices with a RAM capacity of 1GB or less.

It comes with a range of apps designed to run faster while using less data. Devices running on Android Oreo (Go edition) will also come with twice as much storage.

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

Entry-level 4G smartphones under Airtel’s ‘ Mera Pehla Smartphone’ programme will be shipped with Android Oreo as standard OS starting March.

Indian smartphone manufacturers Lava and Micromax 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, Airtel TV and Wynk Music.

Airtel launched ‘ Mera Pehla Smartphone’ programme 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.

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