Who says you’ll need to sell a kidney or two to own the latest smartphones in the market? Google’s Android One initiative, which was announced in Google I/O back in May, will bring high-quality and affordable smartphones to emerging market, and they have just announced three new Android One smartphones earlier today in an event in India.
Google has partnered with three manufacturers – Micromax, Karbonn and Spice, to launch these new devices. All of them have similar specs to meet Google’s minimum standards including:
- A 4.5” display
- 1GB of RAM
- 5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera
- Quad-core processor from MediaTek
- Ability to update to the next Android version, Android L
- Manufacturers may add other features such as microSD slot, dual-SIM support, replaceable battery, FM Radio and such.
Priced at 6,399 rupees (about RM340), on top of having a super affordable price tag, these devices also comes with additional services specially catered for India like if users are connected to Airtel, one of India’s most popular networks, data used to download Android updates will not be subtracted from a customer’s allowance for the first six months. There will be an additional data quota of 200MB just for them to download apps from the Play Store.
Other features include:
- The addition of railway bookings and cricket scores on Google Now
- An offline version of YouTube so videos can be watched and re-watched without incurring extra data charges
- The introduction of 13 local publications to Play Newsstand
Software wise, all three handset will run on stock Android and manufacturers are allowed to add in services and wallpapers of their own as long ask they don’t drastically change the interface. The reason is because Google wants to deliver a consistent experience on these devices and do not want any additional things to hinder future software updates.
India is only Google’s first step with their whole Android One initiative, the Mountain View company will be making their way to Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia and the Philippines. The company will also partner with other companies Lenovo, Acer, HTC, Asus, Panasonic, Alcatel, and even Qualcomm.