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Google announces first Android One devices.

Android One 2

With the conception of the Android One initiative, Google set out to rule the world of smartphones by providing low cost handsets that run on the Android platform. Android is quite popular, accounting for approximately 4 in 5 smartphones sold in the second quarter (Q2) of 2013. Despite this, Google still felt that more could be done. After much time in the development stage, the first devices under the Android One program were released yesterday in India. Google chose India since it is the second largest smartphone market in the world, yet has the lowest smartphone penetration rates in the world. The low adoption rate can be attributed to the relatively high cost of smartphones, yet most people live on a budget. Consequently, India provides a great growth opportunity for Google under the Android One program. Only three devices were released yesterday, and not surprisingly, they are by Indian manufacturers Karbonn, Micromax and Spice.

The three devices released are Micromax Canvas A1, Spice Dreams Uno, and Karbonn Sparkles V. Though they appear different on the design front, they have similar specs as follows:

  • 4.5-inch capacitive touch screen (854 by 480p) 218ppi.
  • 5MP rear camera and 2MP front camera.
  • 4GB internal memory, expandable to 32GB
  • 1GB RAM.
  • Quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex A7 Media-Tek Processor.
  • 1700mAh battery.
  • Micro SIM

The devices will cost roughly $100 (Kshs. 9000 or so). While we already have such phones in the market, the Android One models will be better as they are endorsed and supported by Google. They will run stock Android, without any manufacturer additions as is the norm. Additionally, there will be software updates, as opposed to the current situation whereby most low cost Android devices fail to support software updates.

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As a promise of more to come, Google announced that more OEMs signed up to be able to provide Android One devices. These include Lenovo, HTC, Panasonic, Asus, and Acer among others. Even chipmaker Qualcomm will start providing chips for these devices, meaning that performance will greatly improve. Google is just about to increase customers to its over 1 billion active users of the Android mobile OS. With India as a start, the Android One program will be extended to Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Philippines. Eventually, it will reach us here in Kenya, and there will be more and more devices to choose from.

About author

Am an ardent lover of technology, and my dream is to experience at least every gadget that the world has to offer. I believe in simplicity.
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