Google Android One launch: All you need to know

By Kunal Khullar | Published on 15 Sep 2014
Google Android One launch: All you need to know
HIGHLIGHTS

Google officially announced the Android One in India yesterday along with its three new partners Karbonn, Spice and Micromax. Here is everything you need to know about the Android One launch event..

We finally witnessed Google taking a stronger initiative in the budget category of smartphone as it made its Android One project official in India yesterday. The company had announced a few details about Android One back at Google I/O 2014 where it claimed that this project would include smartphones starting at about $99 (Rs. 6,000 approx.) with the latest updates and full support from Google.

Yesterday, Google started off by explaining why it was penetrating in the Indian market with its new Android program. They claimed that out of the 7 billion people in the world, more than 4 billion did not have access to the Internet. A cheaper way to provide this was by making affordable smartphones with the latest updates available to them. There were some major concerns that Google addressed:

Software

All the smartphones under the Android One logo will come with the latest updates and will get new updates as soon as Google pushes them out for other devices, including the Nexus. Currently the smartphones run on Android 4.4.4 KitKat and the UI is smooth and stable. Google stressed on the fact that there will be no compromise on the Android experience and it will be at par with other high end Android devices. It will feature all the Google apps including Google Now which will include more features including India centric search, details on your train tickets, and so on. They have also improved the experience by updating its Translate app which works better with Indian accents and provides much better results. Google is also updating its Newsstand app to include 30 new Indian media publications available right on your Android device. The new update will be rolled out today. Another interesting update that we heard was that YouTube will soon be available offline, meaning that you will have an option to save videos which you can view later without having to stream them. 

Hardware

Google has specified a set of hardware specifications which will be the minimum pre-requisite for any Android One device including a 4.5-inch display, a quad core processor, 1GB of RAM , 5MP camera and 4GB of internal memory. We also saw three new phones complying with the new Android One protocols- the Micromax Canvas A1, Karbonn Smart Sparkle V5 and the Spice Dream Uno, all of which are available online on different ecommerce websites including Flipkart, Snapdeal and  Amazon. All of the smartphones come with the following set of specifications and start at Rs. 6,399


-1.3GHz MediaTek quad-core processor
-1GB RAM
-4GB internal memory expandable upto 32GB
-4.5-inch FWVGA display
-Android 4.4.4 KitKat
-5MP rear AF camera and 2MP front camera

Connectivity

So a good set of hardware and support for the latest platform update, but what about connectivity, which is a major concern for a country like India? An initiative has been taken by Airtel where anyone using an Airtel SIM will get automatic free updates to Android software for the first six months. Users will also be able to download upto 200MB worth of apps per month without having to use their subscribed data plans. Hopefully more partners will join the bandwagon.

Marketing

In the marketing sector, Google announced that it has partnered with 9 more OEMs which include Xolo, Lava, Acer, Panasonic, Alcatel, Asus, Intex, Lenovo and HTC to launch Android One smartphones and Qualcomm to provide chipsets to these smartphones. Availibility of Android One devices is also going to spread to other countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Phillipines and more. 

For effective marketing, Google has made a TV advert and customised banner ads for the new phones which include the words 'Apni kismat, apne haath.' Android One smartphones will be officially available on online stores including Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal as well as 2,00,000 retail stores in about 240 cities in India. Google has also employed over 30,000 employees which will be Google certified Android One Ambassadors. These Ambassadors will provide guidance and information to customers who want to buy an Android One device. Special Android one Zones will also be scattered around major cities to provide consumers a hands on experience with the devices as well as apps over free Wi-Fi.

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In our opinion, the Android One project seems to have very good potential and could flourish well in India. What is your take on Android One?

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