Android One was one of the most important announcement at this year’s Google I/O. The Android One program marks a large effort on Google’s part to improve the smartphone experience in emerging markets, and it has come to light that Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice will be the first to launch products based on it in India next month.
Handsets from the three Indian manufactures are expected to arrive in the region of Rs 7,000 and Rs 10,000, which is in excess of the sub-Rs 6,000 ($100) price bracket original stated for Android One devices. However, there apparently is a reason for this slight price increase. According to sources directly involved in development of these handsets, the price has increase as the handsets will go above and beyond the basic Android One spec.
“Android One is setting minimum hardware and software standards for the three vendors, who are adding or improving upon them in future devices under the Android One umbrella,”
In terms of what Indian consumers can expect for their money, the devices are shaping up to fall into the mid-range section of the market. According to The Economic Times, which had a look at one of the handsets, they will feature dual SIM slots, SDcard support, a 5 megapixel camera, quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, and a 1700-mAh battery. The handsets will come with displays in the region of 4.3 to 4.5 inches, and will all run on Android KitKat 4.4.4.
Android One handsets are also stated for an update to Google’s next Android L operating system, ensuring that even the budget market keeps up with the latest software. This is in great contrast to the current situation, where many budget devices have been left running old versions of Android, such as Gingerbread.
“Advantages of screen size and Google updates could make a difference to these smartphones offering better performance to what Indian buyers are accustomed to,” – PwC India’s Mohammad Chowdhury.
The Android One program will allow OEMs and carriers to provide locally relevant content, whilst enforcing a set standard to ensure a better customer experience and timely updates. Google aims to use the Android One initiative to reach a new batch of consumers interested in sub-$100 handsets, and to further improve its market share in emerging markets.
Do you think that Android One does enough to compete with Firefox’s cheap handsets and products like the Nokia X?