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Nokia plans to launch Android Go phone in China where stock Google apps do not work

HMD Global has announced it will launch an Android Go smartphone in China on December 15.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | December 10, 2020 | Updated 18:31 IST
Representational image of Nokia 3.2

Highlights

  • HMD Global has announced to launch an Android Go phone in China.
  • The Nokia Android Go device will launch in China on December 15.
  • Not much is known about this device but it will certainly have 2GB of RAM.

Nokia 9.3 PureView is likely not showing up anytime soon. While that is sad, HMD Global is going ahead with other devices in low- and mid-end price categories. The company has announced it will launch a new Nokia device that runs on Android Go software on December 15 in China. This is surprising because stock Android apps cannot work in China due to censorship. HMD Global sells Nokia phones with custom skin in China, much like other smartphone brands.

On Weibo, Nokia has shared a new teaser that announces the December 15 launch date for the new device. The teaser also shows this device will come with Android Go, which is a trimmed-down version of Android suitable for phones with 2GB or less amount of RAM. Google even offers altered versions of its apps, such as YouTube Go, Google Go, Gmail Go, Maps Go, among others. And all of these apps would not work in China due to internet restrictions.

Android Go is as pure as the vanilla Android on Pixel phones, which means it needs Google's services to run properly. HMD Global has not said anything about how this is going to be possible, but it may have a solution to finally bring Android Go to China. Since no one ever tried making a custom version of the Android Go software, we never knew if there could be one. If HMD Global manages to bring that, it will create a stream for other manufacturers in China to bring low-range smartphones. But nothing is clear on how Google apps designed for Android Go will work.

HMD Global sells Nokia 3.1 Plus and Nokia C3 as its cheapest smartphones in India. Both of these smartphones are based on Android 10 software, with HMD Global's skin on top. None of Nokia smartphones in China come with Google apps, which is why HMD Global uses alternatives for each app category to preload its phones with.

According to a report by Seekdevice, the Nokia Android Go smartphone will cost within CNY 1,000, which translates to roughly Rs 11,300. The translated pricing of the phone, however, positions it in the budget segment. The entry-level segment for smartphones is between Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000 in India. But maybe HMD Global is trying out something new in the Chinese market. The teaser on Weibo does not divulge anything.

A Nokia device with model number TA-1335 was spotted on the TENAA certification website, listed with a weight of 122 grams and dimensions of 81x44.5x22mm. Since this is going to be an Android Go device, it will have 2GB of RAM, per the listing, along with 64GB of storage. Other specifications could include a notched display, an octa-core processor, one camera on the back, one on the front, and a 2500mAh battery under the hood. There will be support for up to 4G networks only on the Nokia device, according to the filing. It is not confirmed whether this is the same device, but we will know soon.

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