Google’s new Android One initiative aims to deliver sub-$100 smartphones

Google wants to make Android phones more affordable than ever, and introduced its new Android One initiative at the I/O 2014 developer conference on Wednesday, June 25.

Android One involves low-cost smartphones, which would come at a sub-$100 price point. Basically, Android One is a version of Google's popular mobile operating system that comes with hardware reference designs specifically aimed at emerging markets such as India. Simply put, this new initiative aims to define reference platforms in such a manner than OEMs can build cheaper phones more easily.

"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 explains in a company blog post on Wednesday, June 25, outlining the highlights of its I/O 2014 keynote.

"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, with more countries to follow. 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."

Indian smartphone maker Micromax will launch a device with a 4.5-inch display, dual-SIM support, expandable memory, and FM radio. Spice and Karbonn Mobiles are also on board with this new Android One initiative.

Moreover, Google is also working with carriers in India to offer more affordable telecom service packages along with the Android One smartphones. In many cases, such packages could provide Internet access for the first time.

Developing markets have become top targets for bigwig companies due to the great potential they hold. Both Google and Facebook, for instance, have made priorities to connect with people in regions where Internet connectivity is scarce, unreliable, or downright non-existent. People in those regions would gain Internet access, while the companies would get more users to access their websites and services, which automatically means more money from advertising.

Google doesn't make its big bucks from selling hardware, but its gadgets aim to set new standards and show off the company's software and services. Android One seems like a great step in the right direction, as it will allow more users in developing countries to afford a smartphone and get an Internet connection.

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