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ZTE will deliver the first Android Oreo (Go Edition) handset for the U.S. market in March


Things have been mostly quiet on the Android Go front since Google announced the low-power mobile operating system back in May — aside, of course, from an unexpected name chance to the decidedly less catchy. Android Oreo (Go Edition). One of the things that’s made the offering unique from the start, however, is that unlike most of these sorts of lite offerings targeted at the developing world, the stripped down version of Android won’t be skipping any markets, the U.S. included.

Barcelona is bound to play home to number of [for brevity, let’s just call it] “Android Go” launches this week, but ZTE’s Tempo Go will have the distinction of being the first such handset to launch in the U.S. when it debuts next month. In fact, while the phone (or some variation thereof) is indeed destined for some more underserved markets, it should be hitting the states first — a pleasant side effect of the fact that ZTE’s San Diego team worked with local chip giant Qualcomm to bring develop the handset.

We should be getting more details about the phone this week at Mobile World Congress, but we do know know that the phone is set to arrive in at under $100 — which is cheap even by ZTE’s budgetary standards. Of course, you’ll get what you pay for on this one, including, most notable the 1GB of RAM that’s become a sort of bog standard for this new variety of devices.

Other specs include 8GB of (augmentable by up to 32GB via microSD, a quad core 1.1GHz processor and a 2,00mAh battery. All of which is to say, the kinds of specs you’d anticipate when venturing to spend less than $100 of a phone. Of course, the key differentiator here is that Go is designed to perform better on low powered hardware. Here’s a thing I wrote for a launch announcement back in December,

According to Google, that comes with all sorts of benefits for the end user, including 30 percent faster startup time and an optimization of storage space, by up to 2x. The latter is accomplished, in part, by the inclusion of a number of optimized Go apps. It’s a pretty long list, including Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, Gboard, Chrome and Files Go, a new file management app. There’s also a Go version of the Play store, which specializes in lightweight apps.