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Nokia 1 brings Android Go to your starter phone

The ultra-affordable Nokia 1 has basic features, an easy-to-use design and Google's slimmed-down software, Android Go.

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The white ring around the Nokia 1's black bezel contrasts nicely with the brightly colored back cover.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Of the five phones that Nokia introduced on Sunday here at Mobile World Congress 2018, the Nokia 1 doesn't stand at the front of the feature queue. Instead, it's built for anyone who wants an affordable easy-to-use phone, primarily for (gasp) making calls, but still wants to be able to be able to go online, take a photo and listen to tunes.

In other words, all of the things that we really use phones for today.

This ability to tread the line between dead simple and simply practical is due to Android Go, Google's light version of Android Oreo that powers the phone. Announced last year, Android Go uses less power and memory and runs leaner Google Play apps. Jessica Dolcourt's deeper look at Android Go will give you more details.

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The Nokia 1 comes in two colors

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

All of that results in a phone that's perfect for keeping in your car for emergencies, giving to young kids as a starter phone or taking with you when you travel abroad -- it also fits two SIM cards.

Nokia hasn't confirmed an official price yet, but it should go for about $85 (about £60 or AU$110). It will be released globally by the end of April, though there are no plans for a US release.

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Google has made lighter versions of its popular apps to use less power and battery on the Nokia 1.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

On the outside, the Nokia 1 has a minimalist design in plastic, but the combination of the replaceable rear covers in either dark blue or warm red give it a little bit of style. 

Nokia 1 key specs

  • 4.5-inch display
  • 5-megapixel camera with LED flash
  • 2-megapixel selfie camera
  • Android Oreo Go
  • Removable 2,150 mAh battery
  • Supports all Google Play apps and lighter, faster versions of popular Google apps for less power and data use
  • Two SIM-card slots
  • Music player and FM radio
  • Quadcore 1.1GHz processor
  • 8GB storage (expandable with microSD cards up to 128GB)

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