For Americans, the Android One announcement at Google IO may have been a bit of a lackluster, but this could be the very project that takes Android to 5 billion users. It’s a program that will bring good, affordable smartphones to emerging markets. New reports claim the first device is set to launch this October, in India.
We can assume this will be Micromax’s smartphone, which Google mentioned would be the very first Android One device to launch. At only $100, this could be a major hit in emerging markets. Sources claim this will be a Flipkart exclusive, a retailer that has become very popular in India. After all, their success with the Moto E, X and G has been unparalleled.
They will definitely need a little push, though. In this competitive market, no new device will make it without some exposure, and Google is willing to help with that. The Search Giant is not giving India just crumbs and emotional support either, they are investing Rs 100 crore, which equals to a billion Rupees (or about 16.7 million USD). All for the sake of taking Android One off the ground and into a successful launch.
Sundar Pichai is expected to visit India and bring us more details soon. So far we know the program also includes manufacturers like Karbonn and Spice, aside from the already-mentioned Micromax. If all goes well, emerging markets will see great low-end smartphones before the end of the year.
The benefit in Android One is that manufacturers can make affordable smartphones and put in their own apps, but the near-stock experience and software backbone will unload much of the work it takes to keep the device updated. Much like the Google Play Edition and Nexus programs, Android One devices will be updated directly from Google. This changes everything, guys. And as we have mentioned in the past, it could be the best announcement we saw at Google IO.
Do keep in mind these are not official announcements, though. Let’s not hold our breath until we get more than just rumors and reports.