During this week’s I/O conference, Google announced a new initiative of theirs dubbed Android One. What sounded a lot like the rumored Android Silver program became Android One, a program that will see Google working together with OEMs, chip makers and developers in emerging markets like India and further parts of Asia. The idea is that Google will work together with these groups on reference hardware as well as software in order to get up-to-date Android phones on shelves quickly. Normally, devices launch in emerging markets with an old version of Android, these days it’s often Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. In order for consumers to get access to a new version of Android they often have to purchase a new device. Android One aims to fix that.
Low-cost devices are the focal point of Android One, which will inevitably require Google to work with chip makers such as the infamous MediaTek. Known for shipping low-cost, decent chips that rarely see much in the way of support, MediaTek has become the world’s second-largest chip manufacturer, giving Qualcomm some sleepless nights when it comes to the low-end market. On stage, Google showed off a device from Indian brand Micromax, a device that would cost less that $100 US and is apparently powered by MediaTek’s MT6575 SoC. DigiTimes is now reporting that this working relationship is only going to get stronger, and that such a partnership could lead to Android TV boxes and Android Wear watches powered by MediaTek processors.
If Google are to work more closely with MediaTek as part of the Android One program, that this could be great news for the low-end market. Not only would it deliver devices with more up-to-date and current versions of Android, but it would help Google all but lock down emerging markets, closing the door in the face of Nokia and Samsung’s Tizen platform before it even reaches markets like India. Of course, Android One has only been announced, and it’ll be a few months before we see anything from it. One to watch, Android One could revolutionize emerging markets.