Android One was one of the bigger announcements from this year’s Google I/O and even though Sundar Pichai himself breezily blew past it in the keynote and here in the West it doesn’t mean that much, it is a very big deal, indeed. Android One is an initiative that focuses on bringing even lower-cost Android smartphones to India – at first – and will see Google working directly and closely with local vendors like Micromax and Karbonn. It won’t only see the companies working together with Google on software, but also hardware and will see that Android devices in India stay up-to-date, doing away with the need for users to buy a new device to get the latest version of Android.
In a business sense, it’s a very big deal for Google and Android as a whole. India is one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets and even though Android is already strong there, for Google to get a piece of the pie will prove lucrative. It’s not just about the money though, Google is definitely a services company through and through, and with more people using their services, Google will continue to profit, Android One will only further help Google achieve such a thing. We had first heard that these devices will arrive in October of this year, but now India Today is reporting that the project could take flight as soon as next month.
With the final retail pricing yet to be agreed upon, the first generation of Android One devices could cost around $150 and the blueprint on the hardware side appears to a Snapdragon 200 and qHD (960 x 540) displays, much like the recently launched Moto E. While Google is obviously asking for some control over manufacturer’s devices in return for being part of the Android One project, India Today has been told that companies will be freely able to bundle some of their own apps with the devices. As well as this, it’s been said that “Google” won’t be featured on the back of these devices, as it does with LG’s Nexus 5 and as we used to see with the “with Google” branding. All-in-all, it looks like Android One is ready to take off sooner than expected and that it’s going to be a big deal for the Indian economy as well as the Android landscape.