Google’s Android One program aims at sub-$100 smartphones for developing markets

Google shared a lot of exciting news at its annular I/O conference and amongst the many new unveils is the Android One program which aims to deliver affordable smartphones in developing markets. The first devices under this project will show up in India this fall and the search giant has teamed up with local OEMs such as Karbonn, Spice and Micromax to develop these handsets.

Android One will basically be a set of hardware reference platforms where Google will pre-select the components for these devices, hence bringing down the development cost for OEMs. We’ve already seen similar projects like HP’s Tegra Note and Intel’s 3G smartphone reference design. The search giant will not only help with the hardware selection, but also provide better software support.

Android One

These phones will come with stock Android sans any customizations, just like Nexus devices. Then there’s Play auto-install where OEMs can push local apps directly to devices. And here’s the best part, software updates will come directly from Google, so you won’t have to wait on the manufacturer or carrier to push the latest version of Android to your phone.

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Essentially, you’ll get the same treatment Nexus and GPE devices. Most importantly, smartphones selling below the $100 price range rarely see software updates thrown their way. Sundar Pichai also showcased one of the devices under this project and shared a few technical details. The phone you see below comes from Micromax carrying a 4.5-inch display, dual SIM slots, a microSD card bay and FM radio, all of which are essential features for the Indian market. Google is also creating ties with local carriers to offer affordable data packages with Android One devices.

Micromax Device

The first wave of devices in the Android One project will surface in India this fall and Google is already working with OEMs from many other countries to offer sub-$100 phones in the future.