Last December, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Google launched a stripped down version of the Android OS called Android Go. The first phone to hit the U.S. market using the low-end operating system comes from China’s ZTE and is called the Tempo Go. The list price is just $80. That’s not a typo.
Google’s idea for Android Go was to develop an operating system that would work on inexpensive hardware. The Android Go-powered devices are primarily aimed at consumers in emerging markets, where a $999 iPhone X is not an option for most people.
The Tempo Go comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 processor and uses four A7 cores. Included are 1 gigabyte (GB) of memory, 8 GB of storage, a 2,200 mAh battery, a five-megapixel rear camera, a two-megapixel front camera, and a five-inch display with 854×480 resolution.
Those specs are serviceable but hardly breathtaking. Except for the screen resolution, storage capacity and front-facing camera, the Tempo Go is about the same as an iPhone 5s with a bigger screen and a better battery. The 5s was launched in the fall of 2013.
At the time Google released Android Go to developers, the company also announced a host of stripped down apps like Google Maps Go, YouTube Go and Google Go that have been optimized to run on the devices with limited memory and storage.
ZTE’s Tempo Go is not the only low-end device that is or will be coming to the market. A Nokia-branded Android Go phone dubbed the “Nokia 1” that will cost $85 and is targeted at virtually every world market except the United States.
Alacatel’s 1X is another. The starting price on the device is around $123, and the Chinese company that licenses the brand and makes the phone said the 1X will be available for U.S. buyers.
The ZTE Tempo Go is available at the company’s U.S. website.