Google has unveiled the first smartphones to run on its Android One platform, a standard designed to help push affordable smartphones in the developing world. The initiative kicks off in India, where Micromax, Spice, and Karbonn are all selling phones said to have 4.5-inch screens, 1GB of RAM, 1.3GHz quad-core processors, dual-SIM slots, microSD expandable storage, and FM radios. Android One devices will also ship with support for more languages, including Hindi. The first phones are expected to retail for 6399 rupees ($105).
Similarly inexpensive smartphones have been around for a while, but Android One represents a concerted effort from Google to put its stamp on the user experience. These phones will all run stock Android without manufacturer customizations, and Google will be able to push software updates itself. This should avoid the situation that arose a few years ago in other parts of the world, where low-powered phones were stuck on early versions of Android without any hope of an update, leaving customers unable to access new apps and services. Google has adopted a similar strategy at the higher ends of the market with its Nexus and Google Play edition devices that run stock Android. SEE MORE ON PAGE2