Google surprised everyone when it announced its Android One initiative earlier this week at its annual I/O event. The initiative, which will be launched first in India, will see sub-$100 smartphones running on stock Android from Micromax, Karbonn and Spice. These smartphones will receive automatic software updates from Google, which makes a big difference as phones in this price segment don’t normally get software updates after they are launched. Also Read - Google Wallet vs Google Pay: What is the difference?Also Read - Android hacks: How to block spam calls on your Android phone
Very little is known about the hardware that will power these smartphones apart from the fact that the Micromax smartphone will have a 4.5-inch display, dual-SIM card slots, FM radio and a SD card slot. However, DigiTimes is now claiming that Google has tied up with Mediatek to provide chipsets for these Android One smartphones. According to the report, the Micromax smartphone is powered by a Mediatek MT6575 chipset that has a dual-core processor. Also Read - YouTube's player will now show the 'most replayed' parts of a video to save your time
Android One is Google’s bet to ensure it doesn’t lose control over Android in India, where 78 percent of all smartphones shipped were in the sub-$200 price point in the first quarter of 2014. Most of these smartphones never get updated to the latest software version after their launch and usually come with pre-installed apps and some even with alternative app stores. It is only because of the poor hardware and software quality of Android smartphones in this price range that the Windows Phone running Nokia Lumia 520 became the best selling smartphone model at its price point in India last year.
For Android One, Google is not only providing the software guidelines but is also providing hardware reference designs for handset manufacturers. In all likelihood, Google would have partnered with select hardware component vendors, which will provide the program the volume of scale required for preferential pricing.