The folks at HMD Global may be working on showing us an entry-level Nokia smartphone that runs on Android Oreo (Go Edition) and even optimizing another one that already exists to access the same features but so far, we have not heard anything from them. With the Mobile World Congress getting underway in Catalonia, things might change faster than we are even able to catch up. For now, though, it’s Chinese device maker TCL that is hogging all the attention with its new lineup of budget smartphones that includes, interestingly, the world’s first Android Go smartphone, the Alcatel 1X.
The Android Oreo (Go Edition) Alcatel 1X happens to be just one of the various variants going by the same name that TCL is showcasing in Barcelona, Spain, but hey, as Android enthusiasts that is all we are asking for, right?
In between the excitement that there’s yet another entry-level Android smartphone that is at least guaranteed quick updates in some form or the other running a version of Android that has not been tampered with beyond recognition, Alcatel managed to throw in an 18:9 display. Never mind that the display resolution is nothing to write home about at 960 x 480 pixels which should look really pixelated on the 5.3-inch “VGA+” display panel. Oh, the compromises that have to be made to achieve these crazy “budget” tags.
Under the hood there’s a quad-core MediaTek MT6739 processor, 16GB storage (expandable up to 32Gb using a microSD card) and, as would be expected of a Go edition device, 1GB RAM.
Other specifications are as follows:
- Camera: 8MP back; 5MP front
- Battery: 2460mAh
- Network: 4G LTE
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, microUSB
It will be interesting to see how TCL and its local distributors manage to price the 1X when it gets to the Kenyan market as it is surely bound to given its focus and target market. In Europe, the device is expected to go for 100 Euros.
More interesting would be whether the big players in the local market’s entry-level segments, Transsion Holdings’ sibling trio of iTel, Tecno and Infinix, would be willing to join the Go program and avail Go devices. I wouldn’t count on that happening since they already command a large share of the market and have things going their way for them to be bothered by geek obsessions like near-stock Android and guaranteed updates but one is allowed to dream, right? After all, the Go program is more about making sure the apps that people use are well-optimized for good experiences even on a budget.
The 1X is expected to go on sale in April.
Note: Some variants of the device are reported to run standard Android Oreo (not the Go edition that is the subject of this article) and have upgraded specs (more megapixels on the camera, increased memory, fingerprint scanner, NFC… etc).