While Google enters the hardware space cautiously and with partners, three Android One devices launched in India today.
It was only a matter of time before Google entered the smartphone, hardware arena.
As promised earlier this year at Google I/O 2014, they unveiled Android One, a program that would work to monetize the “next 5 billion” non-smartphone users, and ensure their place in the market.
While there are many Android devices on the market right now that sell for £50 or less, Android One by Google will work to provide every Android user with a certain level of experience. One that matches what Google’s expectations are for other devices.
Google unveiled the first batch of those phones, falling under only £65, from three Indian manufacturers. They include Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice, all of which share a few key hardware features.
The first batch of phones from these manufacturers use the same 1.3GHz quad-core Mediatek processor (Cortex A7-based). Though, it’s not a requirement of the Android One program, devices that will come later are expected to include Qualcomm processors, which would compete more directly with higher-end mainstream devices.
Some of the other shared features from this batch of Android One devices include a 4.5-inch screen, a 5MP back camera, 2MP front camera, dual-SIM slots, microSD support, FM radio, and 1 GB of RAM.
In India, Google is going to hefty lengths to ensure upgrades happen over the air for free in the coming months, as software, and firmware updates are readily expected to be necessary. Google has paired up with Airtel from India to ensure that upgrades happen for free for the next 6 months, and Google has even offered 200MB of data for free to customers.
Typically, phones of this price will have just a 3.2-inch screen, but Google hopes to create a standard within the industry by keeping the prices of their Android One devices low enough to make affordable for everyone.
By the end of 2014 Google plans to expand the program to the Philippines, and South Asia. Additionally, HTC, Asus, Acer, Panasonic, and Lenovo will join the program and begin producing Android One devices.