It has a 5-inch screen, some pretty weak cameras, and — yes! — a headphone jack. The ZTE Tempo Go phone just launched in the United States, delivering a pared down version of Google’s mobile operating system at a low price.
Of course, the phone isn’t meant to be powerful. It runs Oreo Go, a version of Android for “entry-level” phones. And Google does mean entry-level. Inexpensive Android Go devices are intended to help the absurdly powerful tech corporation make inroads in growing markets like India, where just over 22 percent of the population used smartphones last year compared to 69 percent in the United States, according to one analysis. (Note that surveys from Pew indicate that 77 percent of Americans now own smartphones; there’s a bit of wiggle room to these statistics.)
But 22 percent of India’s population is still more people than 69 percent of the U.S. population, so you can see why companies like Google are eager to plant a flag. Android is by far the most popular operating system worldwide, and it’ll stay that way if Google dominates territories like India. Of course, there are plenty of people in the U.S. who could use less expensive smartphone options, too.
Because Android Go phones are less powerful, they may require special, “lite” versions of apps. Google has its own suite, and its Android Go page touts Instagram and Skype Lite. In other words, while options may be relatively limited for ZTE Tempo Go users, you probably don’t have to worry too much about FOMO if you pick one up.