Android is the world's most popular mobile operating system, with over 1 billion monthly active users as of July. But according to Google that's only the beginning. Android One is Google's initiative to target the other 5 billion people on the planet; people who may live in areas where purchasing the latest $700 flagship device simply isn't an option. In some of the countries Google is targeting, the average monthly income may be as little as the equivalent of $250. This is an enormous barrier for smartphone adoption. At Google I/O the stated goal of Android One was to bring a high quality smartphone experience to the masses in a $100 package. Today the first step is being made, with the launch of three new smartphones in India from manufacturers Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice.

Starting at 6399 Rs (~$105) the devices are slightly higher than Google's initial price projection but still within a price range that should be affordable by many people in countries like India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. They feature SoCs from Mediatek, and include features like dual SIM cards and FM radio support which are more popular in those countries than in others like the United States for example.

To avoid the issues that have traditionally plagued performance and software on low-end devices, Google has been working with various hardware suppliers and manufacturers to create a reference platform for Android One devices. This specification consists of a 4.5" 854x480 IPS display, a 1.3GHz quad core CPU from MediaTek, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of NAND, MicroSD support, a 5MP rear camera, 2MP front camera, and a 1700mAh battery. At $105 that's a very good value proposition.

Google will also be supplying all software support which means that updates will come directly from Google and Android L support is a guarantee. Google has partnered with Indian cell carrier Airtel to allow users to download 200MB per month from Google Play without counting against the user's data allowance. For the first 6 months, software updates will also be free to download over the air using cellular data.

The Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and the Spice Dream Uno can be seen at their respective manufacturer's websites. The devices are currently for sale at major Indian retailers including Flipkart, Amazon India, and Snapdeal.

Source: Google

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  • saliti - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    The Chinese phones that are sold in India don't have Chinese apps and all the crap you mentioned. They also have Gapps and basic apps pre-installed. These phones are tailored to India and usually sold re-branded with different names. I think you were misinformed or couldn't do proper research on what to buy. I feel sorry that you are incompetent.
  • hojnikb - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    Do you really think Android One phones will be so much different from all of the chinese phones available today for similar or lower price points ? Nope. They will be pretty much the same but with Google support.
  • semo - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    So why do Google pull out all sorts of reasons not to include user replaceable batteries and SD slots in their Nexus phones? What makes those things very bad on Nexus but OK to include in the ONE range?
  • Wolfpup - Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - link

    The fact that OS updates will come from Google is a super important point. That's how it needs to be done...getting stuff from the carrier or OEM just makes no sense.

    When I switched my Nokia 928 from getting updates from Verizon to getting them from Microsoft directly, it turned out I was FOUR major OS revisions behind! It feels like a different phone almost.
  • aravindajju - Thursday, September 18, 2014 - link

    Just want to bring the perspective of a person living in India. 6000/- for a full featured smartphone like Android one is a real value for money. Other cheaper smartphones in Indian market uses very old versions of android like Icecream Sandwich and Gingerbread, and don't offer any sort of upgrades including security patches. Even Moto E can't meet this price point and feature set. The best thing is 20 month update promise from Google. I think this initiative from Google is in the right direction for a market like India.
  • kamranki - Saturday, September 20, 2014 - link

    I, for one, think that this can make a huge difference, provided Google gets it right. You can't really compare it with $100 Chinese phones; most of them run very unoptimized ROMS and plagued with poor touch response, etc. With Google handling the ROMS on Android One, you can expect a certain level of performance (and timely support). Is $100 a bit too much for the common person in India? Well maybe yes, but what you are getting with Android One is absolutely worth it.

    Win-win situation if you ask me.
  • suzi002 - Thursday, October 2, 2014 - link

    Apart from rich people, we have huge population who can not afford to buy costly smartphones and AndroidOne is a great initiative.


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