During its Google for Nigeria engagement held on Thursday July 27th 2017, Chief Executive Officer of the global digital giant, Sundar Pitchai had announced the company’s plans to launch an affordable mobile device for the Nigerian market. Produced by Japanese smartphone brand Freetel, the ICE 2 smartphone will go on sale for N13,000 (about $40).
The announcement has generated heightened expectations among Nigerians, many of whom are excited about the prospects of a moderately-priced smartphone in the market.
Here are six things to expect from the expected launch of the Google-backed N13,000 smartphone:
1.Round-the-clock security with Google Play Protect: The ICE 2 smartphone set for launch in September 2017 will be the first device to be equipped with Google Play Protect: a newly-developed security software which continuously works to keep one’s device, data and apps safe. Google Play Protect actively scans your device and is constantly improving to make sure you have the latest in mobile security. Most importantly, the device is automatically scanned around the clock, so users can rest easy.
2.Latest Android software and apps: The ICE 2 smartphone will run on Android 7.0, one of Google’s most recent Android operating system which boasts a suite of impressive features including the ability to use two or more languages at a time and the ability to switch between apps with a double tap, and run two apps side by side. In addition, the device will come pre-loaded with the latest Google apps. Vice President, Product Management at Google, Cesar Segunutpane lauded the global popularity of the company’s Android Operating System when he disclosed that: “Android is the largest tech ecosystem in the world today. In nine years, it grew from one phone to 2billion smartphones across the world. The ICE 2 device comes with all Google apps and will start shipping in September.”
3.MTN apps-enabled: As disclosed by Google during its much-heralded announcement, the company is also working in partnership with telecoms giant MTN on the ICE 2 smartphone. While speaking at the Google for Nigeria event, Segunutpane highlighted the fact that Google has continued to work with partners and OEMs to develop devices for Africans, especially Nigerians, noting that the ICE 2 is being rolled out in partnership with MTN. For prospective users of the device, the foregoing means access to some of the latest MTN apps and/or special data bundles.
4.Japanese Quality: Designed for the Nigerian market, the ICE 2 smartphone is one of the devices from the stable of Japanese brand, Freetel. Others include the ICE 2 Plus, ICE 3 LTE and Priori 4. Japanese products are associated with good quality – a factor that will go a long way to assuage some of the fears expressed by industry watchers over the low price point of the ICE 2 device while also bucking the trend of the influx of poor quality phones in the market. Furthermore, the device is Google GMS certified. GMS certification is the confirmation that a specific device meets Google’s performance requirements and properly runs the Google apps.
5.Further rise in smartphone penetration: Nigeria with its booming youthful population remains one of Africa’s most attractive smartphone markets. However, smartphone penetration (the percentage of the population owning a smartphone), while admittedly on the rise, has been hampered by the slightly high price points of smartphones. With the entry of the ICE 2, Nigerians will have a relatively affordable and quality smartphone – a factor that will not only boost the country’s smartphone penetration rate but also encourage more people to make the transition from feature phones to smartphones.
6.Disruptive effect on smartphone market: The imminent launch of the affordable ICE 2 smartphone will have a potentially disruptive effect on the Nigerian smartphone market. In addition to offering more Nigerians a good quality and pocket-friendly smartphone, the development will ignite keen competition and spark a ripple effect that will potentially drive down prices in the market. Furthermore, the entry of the ICE 2 smartphone will encourage the influx of more quality-minded but price-sensitive manufacturers into the Nigerian market, all of which will translate to more investments, job opportunities and other benefits for Nigerians.