Android One: High-quality Smartphones at Affordable Prices
Article by George Norman
On 15 Sep 2014
While 1.75 billion people have smartphones, more than 5 billion do not. One key barrier is the fact that even entry-level smartphones are rather costly. Google aims to break down this and other barriers via Android One.

Via the Android One initiative, Google aims to provide high-quality smartphones at affordable prices to the 5 billion people around the world who don’t have one yet.


Having an Android smartphone and having access to the internet is great. You can access all the websites you want, you can watch videos on YouTube and other video-sharing sites, you can download a variety of apps from the Play Store, you can keep in touch with friends via Facebook or Twitter, and so on.

The great thing is that more than 1.75 billion people around the world already have a smartphone and access to the internet. The bad news is that more than 5 billion people do not have a smartphone and basic internet connectivity. Search engine giant Google aims to change this via the Android One initiative. Via Android One, Google aims to put high-quality smartphones in the hands of the 5 billion people who don’t have one.

This summer, Google talked about the Android One initiative at the 7th annual Google I/O developer conference.

This week, Google introduced the first family of Android One phones in India. The first Android One smartphones from Google’s hardware partners Micromax, Karbonn, Spice and MediaTek, are available for purchase in India from leading retailers. The prices start at 6,399 Indian Rupees (the equivalent of about 105 US Dollars).

As Google presented the situation, people in countries like India, Indonesia, or the Philippines face three main barriers:
  • Price – high-quality hardware is expensive; even entry-level smartphones are costly. And when the user’s average monthly income is around $250, that user will think twice before parting with a lot of cash to get a powerful smartphone.
  • Android software – no access to the latest Android software and popular Android apps.
  • Connectivity – expensive data plans where there are 3G and 4G networks; lots of places where 3G and 4G network are not available.
“Android One aims to help tackle these challenges. By working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share reference designs and select components, we’re making it easier for our partners to build phones that are not just great to use, but also affordable. They have lots of processing power, so you can get information quickly. They have high-quality front- and rear-facing cameras. And for all those pictures, along with your apps and videos, Android One phones will have expandable storage. We also added features that people in India will find particularly useful, like dual SIM cards, a replaceable battery and built-in FM radio,” explained Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps

Sundar Pichai added that Android One devices will get the latest Android versions directly from Google. If you have an Airtel SIM cad, you can get Android updates for free for the first 6 months. You can also get up to 200MB per month worth of Android apps from Google Play for free.

“With Android One, we not only want to help people get online, we want to make sure that when they get there, they can tap into the wealth of information and knowledge the web holds for everyone,” Pichai concluded.

Tags: Google, Android, Android One, India, initiative, smartphone, Google Play
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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