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In what was one of the most eventful Google I/O’s in recent memory, the search giant took wraps off of Android One this year. A new initiative from Google to help vendors keep up-to-date with Android software and also keep the cost of devices in emerging markets down. It seems that the immediate target of Google’s new outreach scheme is India, with companies like Karbonn, Micromax and Spice already onboard. Now, it’s said that Hyderabad-based Celkon Mobiles has sealed the deal with Google, and Intex is looking to get in on the action as well.
If you’re unfamiliar with Android One, it’s a new project from Google that will see the creator of Android partner with vendors in emerging markets, working not only on software together, but also reference hardware. The main aim of Android One is to enable vendors like Intex and Micromax to develop devices that will stand the test of time longer, and avoid running an outdated version of Android before they even hit shelves. It’s a fairly common problem in emerging markets like India, as manufacturers try and create the cheapest devices possible, and forget to consider the consequences of launching with outdated software.
Obviously, this is not only good for consumers in India, but for Google. With more people using Google services, that’s more ad revenue for the search giant as well as potentially more sales for their own digital content from the Play Store. Celkon’s executive director Murali Retineni told India’s Eonomic Times that through Android One they’re aiming to “introduce devices that are 20-30% cheaper than earlier products”. Intex meanwhile, say that finalizing their deal with Google in joining Android One is roughly a month or so away. India is quickly becoming something of a battleground racing to the bottom, and it looks as if Google is winning right now, with Android One only helping further.