On Tuesday, HMD Global announced that it would be availing its cheapest smartphone, yet, the Nokia 1, in Kenya in a few days’ time. What caught our attention is not that the Nokia 1 is cheap but rather that its announcement was the first one with regards to devices running on Android Go entering the local market. As we speculated when reporting that development, Transsion Holdings’ Tecno has today announced that it will be following in the footsteps of HMD Global and also showing us its own take of Android Go soon using a smartphone series that long time users of Tecno devices should be familiar with: the F series.
Tecno’s F series of smartphones has been around for quite some time. However, it had seemed abandoned lately as attention shifted to the flashy mid-range Camon series and, starting last year, the entry-level Spark series. I only remembered hearing about the F5 and F6 smartphones 4 years ago (in all their Android KitKat glory) as I checked out Safaricom’s open day offers last year since they included another rare breed: entry-level devices from the S series.
This year, Tecno is bringing back the F series, with a bang. Specifically, the F series devices will be powered by Android Go, the low-power version of Android optimized for devices that have the bare minimum when it comes to specifications. In Tecno’s case these devices will be the Tecno F1, the Tecno F2 and the Tecno F3 (named the POP1).
While the last generation of F series smartphones from Tecno to go on sale in the Kenyan market had an ugly design, featured the unsightly precursor to Tecno’s HiOS user interface and dissipated enough heat to boil a cuppa, the new 2018 devices are exactly the opposite. From press images and leaked images before today’s announcement, the look every bit desirable and they have the added advantage of not being bogged down by seemingly endless customizations since stock Android is at play.
However, the duo does inherit one undesirable feature from its 2014 predecessors: low battery capacity. At just 2,000mAh for the battery unit in the F2, for example, the devices will benefit immensely from all the resource savings that come with using Go version of apps in place of their standard counterparts which may be too demanding.
Both the Tecno F1 and the Tecno F2 feature a pair of 2-megapixel front-facing cameras while the F3 packs a 5-megapixel selfie shooter. They all have 1GB memory.
As of the time of writing this, after their announcement in Nigeria, it was not immediately clear what they will cost. The Tecno F1, F2 and F3 are set to go on sale this early April.