It was back in June that Google had first talked about the interesting Android One initiative. Designed specifically for emerging markets like India, the Android One project was announced by Google at this year’s Google I/O conference. The project was announced by Sundar Pichai and it had named three prominent Indian manufacturers – Karbonn, Micromax and Spice Mobiles as partners. Three months on, signs of the launch of the first phone from the Android One stable seems imminent.
Google has issued fresh invites for an event on September 15. The invite which reveals nothing simply says “Block your date for an exciting new announcement from Google”. It adds, “More details closer to the date!” The event is scheduled to start at 12 PM on the day, it adds.
It is unclear as to how many handsets would be announced on the day. In fact it is not even confirmed if the event is indeed related to the Android One project. However, tech pundits across India are pretty confident about the fact that Android One would see the light of the day on September 15.
Phones sold under the Android One brand would be affordable devices – priced under the $100 mark and would have decent hardware and software configurations. The aim was to bring the “next one billion” to the Android eco-system, Pichai had said back in June.
Earlier there were reports about Indian phone maker Micromax reportedly designing a phone that would have a 4.5 inch display, a fast processor and with a removable SD card – priced under $100. While the Android One project as of now sounds very India centric, Google eventually plans to bring the model to other emerging markets.
All said, it has to be mentioned that low cost phone makers have their work cut out in India even with the help of Google. This is because of late, manufacturers like Motorola (which was Google owned not long ago!) and Xiaomi has in the past few months managed to change the outlook of the low cost handset market. These companies have launched new phones with compelling hardware-software combinations at jaw dropping prices. The latest example is Xiaomi’s Redmi 1S which would be sold to users at an amazing price of Rs. 5,999 ($100).
In the changed scenario, it would be interesting to see what approach Android One phone makers take in India.