Meizu has confirmed to Android Headlines that it is working on an Android Go smartphone, that should be announced later this year. The company did not mention any specifications, or even show the device off, but did mention that it was working on one and to expect it later this year. Meizu also would not comment on how it would position this device in its portfolio, but it’s clear that this will likely be a catalyst for Meizu to enter new markets, especially in Europe. Android Go would be an easy way for Meizu to target new markets without jumping straight into the high-end flagship race, which is already a pretty tough area in the first place. It would also allow the company to pick up new users that would prefer a stock Android smartphone, rather than one powered by Flyme OS – Meizu’s proprietary software that lives on top of Android.
Android Go debuted last year at Google I/O, as Google’s answer to emerging markets. It is essentially a slimmed down version of Android, with lightweight Google apps to boot. It can run on smartphones with as little as 512MB of RAM, though most of the announced models do sport around 1GB of RAM. So far, Android Go has only been seen on smartphones that cost under $100. But there’s no reason why Meizu couldn’t go above and beyond and release something with better hardware, for the same price. Google has already tapped many smartphone makers to enter the Android Go world, including Nokia, Alcatel, and ZTE, with a smartphone coming from Huawei later this summer. So it’s no surprise to see Meizu getting involved as well, in fact it would be more surprising if Meizu wasn’t involved.
Meizu has been expanding its operations quite a bit over the past few years, though it has lagged behind in one key region, which is India. It entered the market about the same time as many other smartphone makers, including Xiaomi. But it is still not as popular in the country as Xiaomi, Samsung and others. With an Android Go smartphone, Xiaomi could change that tide. In India, the smartphones that really do well are priced under Rs. 10,000 (about $150 USD), and that’s due to India being an emerging market. So an Android Go smartphone would fit in perfectly there.
This could also spell a rather interesting future for Meizu, with the company working closely with Google. With Flyme 7, you can actually see areas where the company is getting closer to stock Android – a bit like HTC has done with its Sense UI over the past few years. Now it is definitely still a software skin that is meant for those in the East, but it is slowly but surely getting closer to stock Android. This doesn’t mean that Meizu will be building a Pixel smartphone anytime soon. But with Google’s help, Meizu could be gearing up to enter the US in the near future. Meizu did also tell Android Headlines that it likely won’t be heading to the US while President Trump is in charge. And that’s due to the issues that Huawei, ZTE and Broadcom have been facing in the country lately. But the company does still have ambitions to launch in the US at some point. Having a tighter relationship with Google would definitely help the company do that.