• The Listener
  • North & South
  • Noted
  • RNZ

First Android One-powered smartphones hit New Zealand market

The Nokia 7 goes on sale later in May with an Android One operating system from Google. Photo / Spark mobile

Mobile network operator Spark has started selling the first Android One-powered smartphones to debut in New Zealand, offering a “clean” version of Android free of the clutter of smartphone makers’ software.

The Nokia 6.1 ($499) went on sale this week and will be followed by the fuller-featured Nokia 7 ($699) on May 22. Both are based on Android One, which is Google’s operating system, originally for cheaper smartphones and designed to reach the “next billion” mobile users, particularly in developing countries.

But the operating system has proven to be a hit in more traditional western markets too as it offers a stripped back version of Android with all of Google’s apps pre-loaded - as Google does with its own Pixel line of smartphones which are currently unavailable in New Zealand. Android has around 85 per cent of the world market for mobile, with Apple’s iOS its only significant rival.

But most phone makers like Samsung and Huawei customise the operating system on their phone, bundling in their own apps and attempting to sign users up to their own services. Android One users have the advantage of receiving operating system updates and security patches from Google immediately, whereas modified versions offered by many smartphone makers often take days or weeks longer to roll out.

Noted will feature a full review of the new Nokia phones in the next week.

Click here to be in to win one of the new Nokia phones.