Android One is the budget smartphone line that Google was planning a while back for emerging markets and today (September 15) its launch event took place in India. Sundar Pichai has emphasized the fact that Android One comes as an attempt to offer $100 smartphones for emerging markets with a stock Android experience. Manufacturers like Karbonn, Micromax and Spice Mobile were the first ones to launch Android One smartphones today.
OEMs entered a contract with Google regarding Android One, which only limited manufacturers in terms of software, meaning that stock Android was a necessity on each Android One phone that a company would manufacture. Other than that, OEMs are allowed to add their own applications and features to the phone, as long as the stock Android OS experience will be preserved.
At the conference, Sundar Pichai announced the new partners of the Android One program, who will be releasing budget smartphones as soon as possible. Qualcomm will be one of the most important partners of the Android One program and will provide CPU for the new devices, alongside the current MediaTek offering. Among partners, Sundar Pichai mentioned HTC, Acer, Alcatel, Asus, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasoni and Xolo. All of these OEMs will start manufacturing smartphones for the Android One line with stock Android out of the box.
The first Android One one devices, launched today, were the Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1 and Spice Dream Uno. All three smartphones cost between $98 and $115, which is well positioned within the price range Google had set when it announced the Android One smartphone line. All three phones have adhered to Google’s minimum requirements, with 4.5 inch 845*480 resolition, dual SIM support, Android 4.4, powered by a quad core Mediatek CPU clocked at 1.3 GHz, backed by 1 GB RAM and 4 GB internal storage expandable via miroSD card to 32 GB and dual camera. Not bad, I would say.
If the Android One line will provide smartphones like these in the future, it will probably become a great success in emerging and entry-level markets. Google has also partnered with network operators, so that the Android One phones can be bought alongside special data packages. Besides pairing with network operators, each brand paired with an e-commerce website to make their device exclusive. Spice Android One phones will be available on Flipkart, Karbonn on Snapdeal India and Micromax on Amazon India. All three Android One releases are already up for sale at the stores mentioned and will be available in carrier stores starting October.
The Karbonn Sparkle V is one of the Android One devices released today, and besides the standard specs mentioned above, the device sports a 5 MP rear camera with LED flash and a 2 MP front camera. The device has a 1700 mAH battery providing the juice, Bluetooth 4.0, FM radio, 3G and will sell for $105. Spice Dream Uno and Micromax Canvas A1 offer the same battery and camera specs, but they sell for $115 and $105 respectively.