The number of mobile-first consumers in emerging digital economies has been increasing exponentially, and Africa — labeled the "mobile continent" — is a perfect example. According to the Guardian, by 2019, Internet use on mobile phones is estimated to increase 20-fold — double the rate of growth in the rest of the world.
In Nigeria, for example, 95 percent of the 50 million Internet users get online via mobile devices. With the decline in handset prices and surge in faster transmission speeds, smartphone usage has become more of a norm than a convenient alternative. That being said, access and usability of these devices has become a central issue.
Nearly a year ago, Google introduced its Android One program and YouTube offline access in India, another mobile-heavy market. Now, it announced an expansion to six countries in Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco) with the launch of the Infinix HOT 2 — a device produced in conjunction with well-known local smartphone brand Infinix. As of today, the HOT 2 will be available at specific retail outlets in Nigeria and through e-retailer Jumia at a price of N17,500 ($88 USD). It will begin to roll out in the other five countries over the next few weeks.
Talking about specifics, the HOT 2 brings together Android's Lollipop 5.1.1 software — with enhanced performance and battery features. The hardware combines a quad-core MediaTek processor with 1 GB memory, dual-SIM support and black, white, red, blue and gold models (with 2 GB of memory). The device is also set to receive an update for the upcoming version of Android.
Android also announced a push toward a more streamlined version of Google Search, which would allow fast connectivity on devices with low RAM (such as 512 MB), resulting in reduced data usage by up to 90 percent. It will also make YouTube offline to Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Egypt within the upcoming months, allowing easy playback and for users to store videos for up to 48 hours in cases of fluctuating connectivity.
The total expansion would give a combined population of 379 million people potential access to the Android One family of devices.