There has been a lot of talk about the Android One in the last few days and the first Android One smartphones are already on sale in India, so I thought it was time to take a step back and look at this initiative as a whole. In this article, I will be writing about all the major details that any consumer should know about the Android One platform. This article should be a sufficient read for anyone looking to get acquainted with Android One and the relevant details.
What is Android One?
Let’s start with the basics, so what exactly is Android One. Is it a new operating system, a forked version of Android, a variant of Nexus platform or a newly discovered family of dinosaurs, ok may be not the last one.
Android One is an initiative from Google, which aims to help the smartphone makers in building affordable and quality Android phones. In Google’s words, it is a new family of Android devices, designed in collaboration with several manufacturers. All Android One devices run the latest version of Android, get software updates directly from Google, and come with a hardware package tuned for Android.
So, as you can see, Android One phones, for all intents and purposes, are like any other Android phone with latest version of Android on-board.
What are the benefits of getting an Android One smartphone?
Well, there are a few of them. First one is the regular and fast Android updates from Google. The software of Android One smartphones is managed by Google, so like Nexus smartphones, Android One phones too run on the latest version of Android and will get Android version updates within days of being officially unveiled by Google.
Second benefit is the affordability. The primary reason for Google to start Android One was to take smartphones to the mass market, to the consumers, who are still stuck on feature phones. Thus, Android One phones are and will always be affordable, priced around $100.
Third benefit is the presence of certified and chosen set of hardware in the phone. For Android One smartphones, Google will give the smartphone makers with a pre-vetted list of hardware components and final device will include hardware elements from this list. So, you don’t have to worry that the companies might use crappy components to drive the price-down. The hardware will always be tested and sufficient for a decent smartphone experience. In the first wave of Android One smartphones, there wasn’t much choice for the vendors to choose from, but Google states that going forward, the manufacturers will be given a broader set of components to build their Android One smartphones from, meaning more choice for consumers.
Lastly, the Android One smartphone get free data from telecom operators. In India, Google has partnered with Airtel to provide 200MB of free data for a period of six months to the prepaid account holders with Android One phones. This data can be used to download applications from Google Play. Also, the data used in downloading Android updates for the first six months will also be free but only up to 100MB.
Which Android One phones are currently available and what can I expect in the future?
At this point, there are three Android One smartphones on sale – Micromax Canvas A1, Spice Dream Uno and Karbonn Sparkle V – from the first set of Android One partners. Google has now added more partners like Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, and Xolo, who will be releasing Android One phones in the coming months and years.
Where can I buy Android One phones and how much do they cost?
Android One smartphones are currently available only in the Indian market but Google plans to expand the Android One program to Indonesia, the Philippines and South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) by the end of the year, with more countries to follow in 2015.
Indian users can go to Flipkart.com to buy Spice Dream Uno (INR 6,299), Amazon.in to buy Micromax Canvas A1 (INR 6,499) and Snapdeal.com to get Karbonn Sparkle V (INR 6,399). These e-retailers are exclusively carrying these phones right now but this arrangement is only for a limited period. Android One smartphones will be available in physical stores starting late-October.
Where can I check out the Android One phones?
According to Google, it plans to roll-out mobile demo trucks called ‘Showroom on Wheels’ in 600 locations across 20 cities in India to allow the consumers to check out the Android One phones. The exact details about these demo trucks are unclear right now but these should start appearing in all major tier 1 and tier 2 cities over the coming weeks. We will update this article as soon as we have some concrete information.
What are the specifications of Android One phones?
The currently available three Android One phones come with the exactly same set of specifications but as I wrote earlier, there will be more choice in the future.
The available Android One phones feature 4.5-inch IPS display with FWVGA (854x480p) resolution, 1.3GHz MediaTek quad-core MT6582 processor, 1GB of RAM, Android 4.4.4, 5MP rear camera with LED flash, 2MP front camera, dual-SIM support, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, FM Radio, 4GB of internal storage, microSD card slot and 1700 mAh battery.
Who will provide after-sales service and support for the Android One phones?
The company, whose Android One phone you are buying, will provide after-sales service and support for that phone. For example, if you buy Micromax Canvas A1 Android One smartphone, Micromax will be responsible for your phone’s after-sales service and support.
So, this is all for now and will hopefully clarify all of your queries about Android One.