Google engineers have been hard at work designing cost-conscious hardware for other companies to manufacture. This fall, Google will release a sub-$100 smartphone in India, to be followed by other countries with emerging economies. The Android One device is created by the Indian manufacturer MicroMax, and is meant to serve those who currently lack Internet access. Karbonn and Spice, two other Indian manufacturers, plan to release similar Android One devices this fall.
“Its features include a 4.5-inch screen, dual SIM card slots, an SD memory card slot, and an FM radio,” reports Technology Review.
Although one billion people already use smartphones with Android software today, “our goal is to reach the next five billion people in the world,” said division head Sundar Pichai. “In India and other countries like that, it’s disappointing that less than 10 percent of the population have access to smartphones.”
“In contrast to the arrangement with many Android devices, Google, not manufacturers or wireless carriers, will be responsible for updating the software on Android One devices,” explains Technology Review. “The company is working with wireless carriers to make low-cost data plans available, [Pichai] said.”
While similar Android phones are already common in these developing countries, most do not include services such as search, maps, and e-mail or app store access, which will be included on Android One devices.