Google believes cheap smartphones is the next big thing and the technology giant wants to put smartphones in the hands of 5 billion people in developed countries who couldn’t previously afford them — enter the Android One platform.
First announced in June this year, Android One aims to make smartphones even cheaper (sub US$100 mark) for developing markets like India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. At the same time Google is also working with operators through the Android One platform to provide affordable connectivity packages for these devices.
Three months after the initiative was announced, the first batch of Android One devices are now ready to enter the market in India with three partner vendors — Micromax, Karbonn Mobiles and Spice. The devices will be sold specifically online initially but will available in brick and mortar stores not long after that. In keeping with the budget theme, these Android One devices will also come bundled with some amount of data with a partner operator in India. Among them is Airtel that’s offering 200MB of data monthly for the first 6 months.
To bring device development costs down even further, Google is giving vendors a device template to build off from. This includes references for hardware specifications, design and software requirements. The other benefit of this is that it makes it delivering the latest version of Android and other software or services updates to Android One devices quicker, making Android One an ambitious effort to put a smartphone in as many people in the world as possible.
So what do you get with cheap? For around RM370, There’s the Spice Android One Dream Uno with a 4.5-inch (854×480 pixel, 217ppi) display, plain vanilla version of the latest Android OS, a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of on board storage that is expandable up to an additional 32GB with microSD. You also get a 1,700mAh battery, dual-SIM support, a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front camera, and 3G.
In addition to the three vendors, Acer, Alcatel OneTouch, Asus, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo and Qualcomm have shown interest to support the Android One initiative with releases in more countries planned for next year.