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Google to release low-priced mobile phones in Indonesia

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, December 6, 2018  /  11:01 am
Google to release low-priced mobile phones in Indonesia

Scott Huffman, Google Assistant’s vice president of engineering, speaks at a Google for Indonesia event on Dec. 4 in Jakarta. (twitter.com/KaiOStech/File)

The WizPhone WP006, said to be Indonesia's first smart feature phone, has taken the internet by storm after it was introduced at a Google for Indonesia event on Dec. 4 in Jakarta.

Unlike most mobile phones that are sold online or in stores, the bar-shaped phones will be available in Alfamart convenience stores for Rp 99,000 (US$7).

Feature phones typically have more simplistic features compared to smartphones, but the WP006 should not be underestimated. Despite its low price, classic form and T9 keyboard, it has built-in Google Assistant, 4G/LTE internet connection and the KaiOS operating system. Its virtual assistant supports the Indonesian language and can be accessed through a special button in the middle.

Moreover, KaiOS originates from KaiOS Technologies Inc., which is known for developing operating systems for smart feature phones. Google invested in the company in June and the two companies have worked together in developing Google Assistant, Google Maps, YouTube and Google Search for KaiOS users.

Read also: Google will start charging phone makers for Europe app store

Scott Huffman, Google Assistant’s vice president of engineering, said the WP006 version of Google Assistant was not different from the smartphone version. “What makes it difference is its features,” Huffman told kompas.com.

Aside from featuring Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS, the WP006 is also equipped with Qualcomm MSM8905 with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage. Produced by PT Wiz Indonesia Nirwana, it has front and rear cameras with a resolution of VGA and 2 megapixels respectively. It operates with a battery capacity of 1,800 mAh and has a standby duration of up to 250 hours.

Although Huffman was unwilling to reveal WizPhone’s release date in Indonesia, the official website of KaiOS Technologies Inc. stated that the first batch would be launched in the first quarter of 2019 in over 10,000 Alfamart outlets. (wir/wng)