Out of the 4.55 billion people worldwide who use a mobile phone, only 1.75 billion is predicted to take up smartphones by the end of 2014. One of the major triggers that could make this switch a speedier process is the “affordability”. How mobile internet has been opening doors to a whole new world of exploration and smart living is not fiction anymore. You don’t need to be a scholar today in order to have widespread information within your reach. A smartphone with decent internet access is enough to take you down that lane where there lies no end to the knowledge you could make good use of. But as Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps pointed out in his blogpost, “While 1.75 billion people around the world already have a smartphone, the vast majority of the world’s population—over five billion more—do not. That means most people are only able to make simple voice calls, rather than connect with family through a live video chat, use mapping apps to find the closest hospital, or simply search the web.”
The Best of Google Made for Everyone
With the iPhone 6 and iWatch release being the latest topic of discussion among the niche audience it holds, Google wants to take a step ahead in bringing the smartphone awareness in those nations which have a huge potential to become the smartphone markets of tomorrow. Having made the announcement of Android One affordable smartphones earlier this year, Google had wanted to start this exceptional program of high-quality smartphones priced near about $100 with India. As stated on The Next Web, “Google is targeting India because smartphone penetration remains low — feature phone still account for 70 percent of all shipments — while most of the one billion-plus population uses pre-pay contracts and has a modest disposable income. Unlike China, where internet access from smartphones has just overtaken that of the PC, India has vast potential for growth.”
Although there exists low-budget smartphones in the market, the reason why Android One phones are interesting and worth a buy is because of the high-end features they offer which was pretty much unexpected from smartphones coming within this price range earlier. India being the second biggest mobile market in the world, this new launch from Google could actually be the trigger for achieving that strong smartphone penetration among mainstream users. Introducing Android One – the pocket-friendly range of smartphones that has everything you’d expect from a great smartphone!
Combats the Barriers in Hardware, Software and Connectivity
According to Sundar Pichai, there are three reasons why countries like India, Indonesia and Philippines face a tough time to get hold of high-quality smartphones. The first being the budget which is often higher as compared to the average monthly income. Second is the fact that many people do not get the access to the latest Android software and popular applications in order to make the most out of the smartphone experience. Lastly, even if there are areas supporting 3G and 4G networks, it becomes difficult for the common audience to bear with the data plans which are too expensive. These were the key reasons Google wanted to combat with Android One by not only releasing smartphones with excellent features but making them affordable at the same time.
The Android One phones will come with the latest version of Android (4.4 KitKat) that will be automatically updated as soon as the new operating system is released (for upto 2 years). This means that this will be one of the first to be updated to Android L post its release this year. If you pair your smartphone with an Airtel SIM card, you can upgrade it to the latest version without using any data for the download. You’ll also get to enjoy features like voice commands to make your photo capturing experience more fun than ever. Apart from unlocking your phone with a password, you’ll also get to enjoy the new unlocking feature using your own face image. If the phone gets stolen or lost, you can erase all your content from the Android Device Manager. Watching your favorite YouTube clicks has also been made easy by introducing the offline mode which will let you save the videos for watching them offline thus saving expensive data charges that way.
The hardware specs include a front and rear camera, quad core processor, micro SD card slot, all day battery and dual SIM card slots. Currently, the hardware manufacturers Google has partnered with are Micromax, Karbonn, Spice and chipmaker MediaTek with more coming along the way (Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo, and chipmaker Qualcomm). The price is kept at 6,399 INR which is close to $105. Apart from the Android Ambassador stores, users can also purchase the phones online at Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal (three major ecommerce platforms in India). By the end of this year, the target lies in expanding the launch across other neighboring nations like Indonesia, the Philippines and South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka). A great approach from Google in making the use of smartphones a worldwide phenomenon. Happy Gadgeting!