The iPhone 6 has received the lion’s share of attention in the past week but Google’s new venture has the potential to shake up the mobile market in a lasting way.
This week Google has announced the Android One, a series of low-cost smartphones that are expected to have a massive impact on India’s fast growing smartphone market.
The phones are offered in partnership with Indian manufacturers and networks. Google has sourced certain parts which has allowed manufacturers to offer the smartphones from $105. The initial models on offer are the Karbonn Android One Sparkle V ($116), the Spice Android One Dream Uno ($135) and the Micromax Android One Canvas A1 ($105).
All Android One handsets have to meet Google’s minimum tech specs:
- 4.5 inch display
- 1GB of RAM
- 5MP rear / 2MP front camera
- a quadcore Mediatek processor
- Compatibility with the next version of Android
Google has also updated its apps to better suit the Indian market. Google Now and the Youtube app in particular have been modified to appeal to Indian consumers. Google Now will now include cricket scores and the Youtube app can watch buffered videos offline. Google has also partnered with the local Airtel network, offering free software updates for six months and a monthly 200MB allowance from the Google Play app store that doesn’t count towards their data usage.
Rumble in the Digital Jungle
The Indian smartphone market is on the verge of exploding and is already one of the fastest growing markets in the world. With only 10 percent of 900 million strong market using smartphones, it is not difficult to see why companies are vying for the Indian consumer.
Google’s move follows the Indian launch of Intex’s Cloud Fx $35 smartphone running Firefox OS and Samsung’s announcement that it is launching low-cost smartphones running Tizen OS in India and Russia.
Whether the Android One will be able to tempt consumers remains to be seen but with India the third largest smartphone market and rapidly growing, it is clear that Android will continue to dominate this market for the time being.