Google, yesterday at a event in Mumbai announced new range of smartphones under ‘Android One’ banner which enables domestic handset vendors sell hardwares using google reference design and regular operating system updates from Google directly like it’s nexus line of smartphones but with one key difference – price.
Since Android One programme is aimed at countries like India, Philippines, Bangladesh where smartphone penetration though growing at a massive rate still distributed lesser than feature phones, they are priced very competitvely.
The first set of Android phones announced here were Spice Dream Uno, Karbonn Sparkle V and Micromax’s Canvas A1 priced INR 6,299, 6,399 and 6,499 respectively which is close to US $ 100. Since they all share the same reference design by google, they all share same hardware except for some customisations in enclosures.
Click below to see the specifications.
[learn_more caption=”Technical specifications of Karbonn Sparkle V, Spice android One Dream UNO, Micromax Canvas A1″]
Form : Touch
SIM : Dual SIM
Network : 2G, 3G
Operating Frequency GSM : 850MHz/900MHz/1800MHz/1900MHz 2100MHz/850MHz
Processor : Mediatek MT6582 – 1.3GHz Quad core
Operating System : Android 4.4 Kitkat
Memory : RAM 1 GB
Display : Size 4.5 inch
Resolution : FWVGA 480*854 pixels
Camera :Primary – 5 MP, Camera : 2 MP Video Recording : Yes, HD Recording, Zoom
Connectivity : GPRS, EDGE ,3G, Wifi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB
GPS : Yes Storage : Internal memory 4GB, User
Memory 2 GB (Approx) External memory Micro SD, up to 32GB
Multimedia : Video, Audio
FM : Yes
Dimensions/Size : Karbon Sparkle V : 113*66*10.4mm Spice Android One Dream UNO : 67x132x9.15 mm Micromax Canvas A1 : 13.2 x 0.9 x 6.7 cm
Battery Type 1700mAh
Sound : Loudspeaker, 3.5mm jack
Sensors : G-Sensor , Proximity sensor, Light sensor, E-Compass, Gyro Sensor
So choosing one of these phones is more of a personal choice and vendors help a bit with offering colours and other offers for you to choose.
Spice Android one Dream UNO
Spice has partnered with Flipkart exclusively for delivering Android one Dream UNO coupled with great offers such as,
Free screenguard in the box.
On your purchase of Spice Dream Uno Android One phone get Rs. 200 recharge from FreeCharge.
Free preselected eBooks worth Rs 1000 on downloading the Free Flipkart eBooks App.
Rs.1,500 Myntra App exclusive offer for Spice Android One phone.
Flat 50% off on Spice Dream Uno flipcovers.
Free Sandisk 8 GB memory card with this product.
You can check Spice Android one Dream UNO in Flipkart here.
Karbonn Android One Sparkle V
Karbonn has partnered exclusively with Snapdeal to offer Android One Sparkle V. Unlike Spice’s Dream UNO, Sparkle V seems to be available in multiple colour options like Red, Blue and White.
As of this writing, I was able to find only the Blue version available in the Snapdeal website.
Offers coupled with it are :
Free 8 GB Memory Card.
Free Software Upgrades & App Downloads from Airtel.
Free Snapdeal Coupons Worth Rs 2,000 (Valid Up To 2 Months).
Offer 4 Free Recharge Worth Rs 200 From FreeCharge (2 Codes Worth Rs 100 each).
You can check out Karbonn Android One Sparkle V from Snapdeal here.
Micromax Canvas A1 with Android one
Micromax has partnered with Amazon.in to offer Canvas A1 with Android one. Micromax’s website touts two colours of Canvas A1, one called Magnetic Black and other looks white and only the former is available in Amazon now.
Micromax has put up the following offers with Canvas A1 –
Free Coupons worth Rs.2000 on Watches, Shoes & more
Free Strontium 8GB MicroSDHC Memory Card
10% Cash Back on State Bank Debit & Credit cards.
For Airtel users, free software upgrades and app downloads for 6 months.
Up to Rs. 10,000 in Amazon.in Gift Cards for lucky customers, ends September 21st.
You can check out Micromax Canvas A1 here.
What it means for us ?
It means affordable and reliable smartphone experience for the masses, especially where smartphone penetration is low. This might well even may be the first computation device for many, especially if the prices drop further. With regular operating system updates guaranteed from Google, the phones are guaranteed to serve longer than their counter parts from the same price range. Google has tied up with Network provider like Airtel in India to provide Over the air updates for free for few months and limited downloadable data as well.
App developers would be benefited from the new affordable smartphones and could bring more contribution to android ecosystem, but with hardware from chipset manufactures like MediaTek who doesn’t release /charge fee for kernel source release will mean less or no interest with hardcore android developers. So as of now it cannot replace the nexus line of devices for the developers, but it sure helps bring in new android developers.
What it means for the vendors ?
Android One for vendor is a double edged sword for the vendors, on one hand they get reference design, subsidies and software support from Google and on the other they loose individuality in their products and there by loose the edge in competition. Google limits the apps loaded in Android One by the vendors. Now that smartphones like Xiaomi Redme 1S could be affordable with better hardware but without latest Android version, its just matter of time to see whether people are really interested in latest and shiny OS versions or better hardware for the price they pay. It’s worth to note here that Android One isn’t the first affordable smartphone in the Country as Firefox OS based handsets like Intex Cloud FX, Spice Fire One are already available that cost’s half that of current Android One Phones i.e if you term smartness of a handset by email, browsing and few apps and not by matured ecosystem which Android and iOS enjoys.
It seems vendors have already appealed to Google for freedom in choosing hardware components and OEM’s for their Android One handsets and that Google has decided to bring in Qualcomm as an additional chipset vendor.Future handset manufactures who are set to enter Android One segment include Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic and Xolo.
What it means for the Google ?
Google has invested heavily in the Android One platform to subsidise the smartphones and couple it with attractive offers in order to migrate the population using feature phones in developing countries to android ecosystem. More internet and mail literate users means more Advertising revenue for Google. Though Google has taken a major step by reducing smartphone prices in order to make them more affordable to the masses from countries like India, Bangladesh, Philippines – converting them as it’s potential assets for internet based revenue will be questionable as high speed internet penetration is still low in rural areas of these countries. Google should work together with the government and network providers in these countries to bring affordable high speed internet connectivity if it has to create a win-win situation for both the customers and itself.
It’s about time your NRI cousin’s ask you to bring them a smartphone !