Google on Wednesday announced it is working on a low-cost smartphone aimed at emerging markets as part of an initiative called Android One.
The Android-powered handset will be built with a basic set of features including FM radio, have a screen slightly smaller than five inches and be priced at less than $100, Google senior vice president Sundar Pichai said at the start of the technology giant’s annual developers conference.
“We are going to be launching it around the world, but will launch in India first in the fall of this year,” Pichai said.
He added that Google was working with carriers in India to provide affordable telecom service packages to go with the smartphones, which could in many cases provide Internet access for the first time. The Android One initiative sets out to work with smartphone makers and others in the “ecosystem” to pool resources and standardize hardware platforms to provide “turnkey solutions” for making handsets, according to Pichai.
“There are many people — billions of people, in fact — who still don’t have access to a smartphone, We want to change that. 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,” said Pichai.
The hardware partners could be many local handset manufacturers. Micromax, an India smartphone player, may offer a device with dual SIM, SD card, 4.5 inch screen and FM radio. Spice and Karbonn Mobiles could also be hardware partners.
Just yesterday, Microsoft too has announced a sub-100 Euro Android powered Nokia smartphone, aimed at the same emerging markets.
Google has also displayed the Android TV at the I/O Conference yesterday. The Android powered TV manufacturing partners would be Sony Sharp and TP Vision. All Ultra HD 4K 2015 TV’s from Sony and 2015 Sharp, TP Vision TV ranges will be Android TVs, announced Google.