Google outlined its Android One initiative at I/O 2014 and it’s aim was to bring quality, relatively cheap smartphones to developing countries while also addressing the unique needs based on locality and to find a way around the prevailing issues with the current locally available hardware. Recently, Google took the wraps off the first wave of certified smartphones that are now available for purchase in India right now.
Even though in developed countries such as USA where the smartphone market has become saturated, there is quite a market available in developing countries (5 billion people) that still don’t own a smartphone and Google is all set to claim this market. Company has pointed out that when you talk about smartphones in markets such as India; quality hardware has a high price, devices are running out-of-date software, smartphones either don’t support data plans or the plans are too expensive to opt.
The company has come up with a plan to tackle these issues by coming up with reference designs and facilitating manufacturers by helping them pick components. The devices that can be granted the Android One status have certain standards to meet such as quality front and rear camera, expandable storage while also having region-specific features that include dual SIM compatibility and built in FM radio.
The devices will run the latest 4.4-Kitkat Android and shall be some of the first devices that will get access to Android L. The software updates shall come directly from Google. Google has also taken Airtel on board with this project and it will be providing users with cheaper data plans. If you’re using Google Android One with an Airtel SIM you will be able to receive free Google updates for about 6 months and 200 MB equivalent for app downloads. None of these will contribute towards your data allowance, isn’t that great?
The first 3 smartphones in this initiative taken by Google are available in India right now and have more or less the same specs; 4.5” 480×854 displays, Cortex A7 1.3 GHz quad core processors, 1GB RAM and a 4 GB expandable storage. They come with dual SIL slots and 5MP and 2MP cameras. The makers are Karbonn, Micromax and Spice.
The devices come with a price tag of Rs. 6,399 and shall be followed up by devices by HTC, Asus, Lenovo and Acer by the end of this year. Google plans on taking on the markets of South Asia and Philippines by the end of this year.