French telecom major Orange has launched a new device for its Middle East and Africa market that offers access and content through an all-inclusive digital communications package. The network provider has partnered with Google to provide a bundle of voice, SMS and data package that will cost a user $40 (£29).
Users will be offered tailor-made Google services like Maps, Search and Youtube. The new smartphone called, Rise 31 Special Edition, is Orange's first 3G enabled Android smartphone that runs the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. It features a 4in screen, 1GB RAM/8GB ROM memory, a three-mega pixel camera with LED flash and a 1500mAH battery.
"As the first pan-Africa and the Middle East mobile partnership with Google on this scale, we can bring direct value to our customers," said Yves Maitre, executive vice president of Connected Objects and Partnerships, Orange.
Orange will closely work with Google in bringing custom-built apps and services for its smartphone, like language support for Google Voice and other services. Richard Turner, Director Android Partnerships for Europe, Middle East and Africa said, "Today, over three billion people across the world are using the internet. We are very excited to work with Orange to bring together data services, content and a high-quality Android device to provide a great experience for first-time or experienced smartphone users."
Orange will roll-out the devices in a phased manner in the second half of 2016. With major companies targeting emerging markets, Google is making renewed efforts to penetrate MEA. Previously, it had launched Infinix Hot 2 mobiles in Nigeria.
Last year the internet giant had extended, India's Android One program to Africa. Under this, it partnered with local handset makers to build Android phones, with deeper integration. "Today, 6 countries in Africa — with combined populations of 379 million people — join the list of places where Android One phones are sold," wrote Caesar Sengupta, VP, Product Management, Android, in a Google blog.