By Alexandra Burlacu | Jul 20, 2014 05:54 AM EDT
Google is apparently looking to launch its first Android One devices in India as soon as October, offering ultra-low-cost handsets for less than $100.
The company unveiled this ambitious project back in June at its I/O 2014 developer conference, as a new initiative to make smartphones available to more people. The sub-$100 Android One handsets will target emerging markets where consumers need cheap devices.
"There are many people - billions of people, in fact - who still don't have access to a smartphone. We want to change that, so today we announced an important initiative called Android One," Google announced in a blog post back in June. "We're working with partners on a comprehensive solution - which includes hardware reference platforms - to address the mobile computing needs of those in emerging markets. Android one will provide smartphones that are high quality, affordable and come with reasonable data plans. Our partners will launch an initial range of sub-$100 Android One smartphones starting in India this Fall. We've long wondered what potential could be unleashed if people everywhere had access to the latest technology and the world's information. It's time to find out," the company further explained at the time.
According to a new report, Google may launch its very first Android One smartphones in India this October. Citing people familiar with the matter, Economic Times (ET) claims that Google is gearing up to pour a lot of money with its partners to start advertising and marketing the new devices.
"Besides its technology know-how, Google is readying to put its considerable financial muscle behind its Android one smartphone-for-the-masses project, according to people aware of the company's plan," ET reports. "Google will spend more than Rs 100 crore with its partners on advertising and marketing for the $100 smartphone, an unprecedented push by a tech company to support device-makers who are committing to its software platform."
The publication claims that Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, who is in charge of Android, Chrome, and Apps, is expected to visit India in October, when the company allegedly plans to launch its Android One devices.
Unlike the slew of low-cost Android devices that are already available on the market, Android One aims to give manufacturers a set of rules and guidelines so they can develop low-cost devices without compromising their quality. Google will collaborate with hardware partners toward this endeavor and Android One devices should offer higher quality on a budget.
Back at the Google I/O 2014, the company revealed that Android One smartphones will sport 4.5-inch displays, dual-SIM support, FM radio, SD card support for additional memory, and rock the latest version of stock Android.
The Android One smartphones set to launch in India will come from local OEMs such as Karbonn, Micromax, Lava, and others. Pichai said at the conference that Google was working with Micromax to make one of the first Android One handsets.