Why 'Android One' is a huge gift to India from Google!

It is said that the sub-$200 category of smartphones comprises 80% of the Indian Smartphone market. Sadly, a huge number of phones within this category are either re-branded Chinese Phones (Micromax’s so-called flagships), phones with stereotypical MTK SoCs, with cleverly marketed slogans like _“Hyper-fast 1.2GHz Dual-Core processor”_ or Chinese phones themselves, all of which provide a terrible User Experience! One couldn’t expect the said phones to work for more than a month or two, not to mention the sluggish and terribly laggy experiences offered, further heightened thanks to the Custom UI loaded by OEMs!

Needless to say, the folks at Google wanted this to change. Hence came the slogan

“We need to reach The Next 1 Billion, living in Developing countries”. And that is exactly where Android One for the sub-$100 category comes into play! A Nexus-like program which would offer the butter-smooth stock-Android experience to the user, with constant & quick updates – straight from Google and needless to say, hardware features that are required by the users of the said category!

The icing on the cake comes from the fact that Google decided to partner up with three well-known Indian OEMs for the upcoming Android One project, namely Micromax, Karbonn & Spice. No prizes for guessing – it’s due to the mammoth number of sales garnered by these 3 OEMs (also because of the sluggish experiences of the users). The sample phone shown at Google I/O 2014 had a very apt hardware configuration  for the sub-$100 category, i.e, FM Radio, Dual-SIM,  Dual-Core MediaTek MT6575 SoC, microSD card slot (due to the dirt-cheap costs) & 4.5-inch screen. A bigger screen interests more Indians these days, that’s the only possible reason for a 4.5-inch screen.

That being said, it will not be an easy task for the engineers at Google to manage optimizing for the MediaTek SoCs, and this is expected to create headaches out there in Mountain View. Here’s to hoping that MediaTek complies and works with Google, for the betterment of the consumer who looks forward to using a phone, as cheap as it is, for more than a mere month or two!


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