Android One – the next big thing
Android One, our topic for today, is another one of those “latest things in the World of Tech.” To start, let’s talk about what Android One really is all about; it is a standard developed by Google for entry level smartphones, aimed primarily at increasing the base of smartphone users in developing nations, and to provide phones for those getting their first smartphones. Read on below, as we explore into the intricacies of Android One.
Living upto the commitment: Inexpensive entry point
Unsurprisingly enough, phones under the Android One standard are, at the moment, the cheapest Androids on the market. Since before the launch of Android One devices, it was touted as a potential game changer in the Smartphone industry; something that’ll bring in phones under the $100 price tag. While the final result hasn’t held up to this in hard-and-fast terms, it’s still close, with devices being priced in the $110-120 price bracket.
The phones have rolled out in India, while several other South Asian countries – including Nepal and Indonesia – are next in line for these budget devices. And mind you, these aren’t some cheap-stake devices we are talking about, these are full-fledged Android smartphones with quad-core processors and front & rear cameras et al. These Android One devices, for all practical purposes, can be viewed as budget Google Play Edition Android smartphones.
A revolutionary step
Given all that we know about the Android One, it isn’t a far stretch to say that this is one of those many times when Google has went ahead and done something truly revolutionary. With the advent of these highly capable and versatile $110-120 smartphones, accessibility of Androids and smartphones in general has been taken to a new level.
Pricing like this would allow even the lower and middle-income groups in developing and third world nations to procure smartphones and step into the information edge, something which till yet has only been a luxury for them.
As iterated above, the potential and market for these Android One devices is huge. Developing nations like China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, etc. have a huge potential for devices that offer high utility at an inexpensive price point.
Increasing internet penetration and the advent of 3G in these countries has started to necessitate the need of a smartphone; the only entry barrier at the moment to most perspective buyers is the price of ongoing smartphones. And this is exactly what Android One seeks to change, by setting new standards for smartphones in terms of affordability.
The Google Factor
Unlike the Nexus line of devices where Google contracts a device manufacturer and then launches a single smartphone each year under the Nexus brand, Android One sees Google tying up with end number of manufacturers. These manufacturers then follow Google’s reference designs to each produce have their own versions of Android One devices, all of which end up with more or less the same price and specs.
Thus, unlike Nexus smartphones, Android One offers a wide variety of options to the users, instead of forcing them to choose from a single device. However, with almost the same specs, software, and price, the ‘legitimacy and relevance of this choice’ is questionable.
All Android One devices will see their security updates being handled directly by Google. Unlike most Androids which comes loaded with manufacturer and carrier-specific modifications and bloatware, Android One devices will feature software which will be void of such modifications and will be pretty close to Stock Android, much like that found on Nexus and Google Play Edition Devices.
Much like the $100 price ceiling touted by the media, Android One devices were also expected to have a certain set of minimum hardware requirements. However, till yet, no such information has been made available in the public domain officially. Even still, we wouldn’t really doubt the credibility of these earlier media reports for the simple reason that all Android One devices on the market have pretty much the same hardware.
All Android One devices not only feature almost the same software, but almost identical hardware as well. Google is making available reference hardware designs to OEMs, leaving only the task of manufacturing and retailing to them. As of currently, all Android One devices are coming with the same MediaTek MT6582 SoC, which features a 1.3GHz Quad-core ARM Cortex A7 CPU and a Mali-400 MP2 GPU clocked at 500MHz. A 1GB RAM is standard too.
As you can see, not only are devices based on Android One amazingly inexpensive, but also well powered. As if quad-core processors et al for $110-120 wasn’t enough, Google went ahead and optimised the Android One platform to run all Google services and apps seamlessly.
All other utilities and features the perspective customer base – users in developing countries, first time users, and those getting it as a secondary phone – may want for have been well incorporated in all Android One devices; among others already discussed above, these include a front and rear-camera, and dual-SIM slots.
With some amazing hardware, up-to-date software, security updates being taken care of directly by Google, and the reference designs too being distributed by Google itself, there isn’t much of a doubt left on the technological soundness of devices launched under the Android One program.
OEMs are essentially manufacturers and marketers, while all the core designing comes straight from Google. Such an arrangement concludes for some pretty capable devices, and given the $110-120 price tags, some truly amazing bargains. Market potential for these bargains is huge in countries where most people are constantly trying to make ends meet, and the Android One truly is a revolutionary step from Google in helping these people, and the entire world at large in gaining affordable access to the information age.
If you’ve been waiting to get a smartphone within budget, or simply want a secondary phone along with that expensive flagships of yours, Android One is what you need to get; Spice, Karbonn, Micromax, or any other, but Android One has got to be your choice!