Android One was barely talked about at Google’s I/O developers conference, but it could revolutionize the budget smartphone market in emerging countries.
Google has announced the launch of Android One, a program that aims to bring better hardware and software to budget devices in emerging markets.
Android One, at its core, is quite similar to Google’s Nexus program (and might be the rumored Android Silver lineup repurposed for budget devices.) Google is aiming to help local manufacturers in emerging markets like India build cheap high-quality phones, by providing reference designs for the hardware and taking care of the software side of things, removing the need for manufacturers to spend time on research and development.
“We’re working with partners on a comprehensive solution—which includes hardware reference platforms—to address the mobile computing needs of those in emerging markets. Android One will provide smartphones that are high quality, affordable and come with reasonable data plans,” Google explained in a blog post.
Devices launched under Android One will have hardware chosen by Google, and will run a stock version of Android, with software updates coming directly from Google. There will also be features such as auto-installation of recommended apps for a particular country/region, and Google has already teamed up with Indian manufacturers Micromax, Spice and Karbon to bring the first Android One smartphones.
Android One is Google’s newest plan to target the next 5 billion users that don’t currently own a smartphone, and could considerably improve the quality of white box devices in emerging markets. It’s unclear when Android One devices will become available for purchase, but they are sure to drive Android adoption further in countries like India, while ensuring a user experience that’s considerably better than what big brands like Samsung currently provide in the important budget smartphone segment.