Google on Monday took the wraps of the first Android One smartphones at a press event in New Delhi. Built in partnership with Indian smartphone vendors Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice, the smartphones are targeted to the first-time smartphone users, who don’t want to spend a lot of money to get the smartphone experience.
First revealed at the Google I/O 2014 developer conference in June this year, the Android One initiative from Google aims to help the smaller smartphone vendors in producing quality Android phones, which are affordable.
According to Sundar Pichai, who is currently the head of Android, Chrome and Apps at Google, the company is providing the smartphone vendors with various hardware reference platforms, which can be used to build quality smartphones. The search giant has also given a list of necessary hardware components and qualified vendors to get these components from.
Apart from the hardware, Google will also be supplying stock Android for the Android One phones as well as future software updates. Thus, essentially controlling both hardware and software of the phone, leaving little to go wrong.
“By working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share reference designs and select components, we’re making it easier for our partners to build phones that are not just great to use, but also affordable,” Google noted in a blog post.
Coming to the newly unveiled Android One smartphone, the new Micromax Canvas A1, Karbonn Sparkle V and Spice Dream Uno phones will go on sale at 3:30PM IST exclusively at e-retailers Amazon India, Snapdeal and Flipkart respectively. Google has revealed the online exclusivity is valid for a limited period and the Android One phones will reach brick and mortar stores before Diwali.
Priced starting INR 6,299, the smartphones are powered by Android 4.4.4 and will be getting the Android L update within days of being released. I will be talking in detail about these phones in separate reports, check related links below for these reports.
Google has also partnered with telecom operator Airtel to offer 200MB of free data each month for six months with all Android One phones, which can be used for app downloads as well as software updates.
Android One future plans
Google has announced that it will roll-out Android One smartphones to Indonesia, Philippines and other South-East Asian countries by the end of this year. More countries will follow in 2015.
The company has also noted that it is working with Acer, Alcatel OneTouch, Asus, HTC, Lenovo, Panasonic, Intex, Lava as well as Xolo for more Android One smartphones. No word on when these phones will arrive. Chip maker Qualcomm is also joining the Android One bandwagon.