android one

Google Announces Android One initiative to Bring Smart Phones to the next Billion People

June 25, 2014 - Written By Peter Holden

It’s very easy to get excited about flagship handsets such as the LG G3 or Samsung’s Galaxy S5 with their high level of specifications, but what about the people on tight budgets? Usually people that are financially worse off are limited in choice, and often the choice of handset is poorly supported by the manufacturer. It seems that Google has noticed this, partnering with Karbonn, Cromax and Spice to change this with an initiative called Android One.

Android One will bring smart phones to the less developed countries, using reference designs that will enable Google to support firmware updates ala Nexus and Google Play Edition phones, leaving carriers able to add apps that are locally relevant. According to Sundar Pichai, Senior Vice President of Chrome and Apps at Google, this initiative will help get the smart phone into the hands of the next billion people.

The first phones will be made available in India with a 4.5-inch display, a Micro-SD card read slot, support for Dual-SIM and an FM radio. All features that are said to be relevant to customers needs in India. The reference design means that Android Updates will be easier to implement. Google Play will be automatically installed on the handsets. And the kicker is that the handset will retail for under $100. Sundar Pichai had said that he had been using the MicroMax phone for the past week or so and he was very impressed by its performance. There’s a picture of the rear of the handset in black and white, as well as one of its components below in the gallery.

Google is taking aim at the lower-end market with the Android One initiative with the handsets selling for under $100, which leaves me doubtful that this is the much-rumoured Android Silver program. It’s quite possible that the alleged Nexus Killer will be discussed later on, remember we are barely an hour in the I/O at the time of writing.

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