Sundar Pichai, Google's SVP for Android, Chrome and Apps, made some very interesting announcements at the I/O 2014
Keynote on Wednesday, of which perhaps the most exciting was the revelation of the Android One platform and its partners in emerging markets. The program will kick-off in India, with three partners - Micromax
, and Spice
, starting this 'fall'.
In an effort to help its OEM partners, who are forced to release a new smartphone every 9 months to stay ahead in the intensely competitive market, Google is releasing a new Android hardware and software reference platforms. This will help save OEMs money and time in design, choosing the right components and pushing their smartphones to the market.
It will also help Google and its partners push updates to Android devices, with optimised stock Android experiences being replaced by new ones. With OEMs using the Android One platform, Google will also be able to ensure a minimum set of standards for smartphones.
The Android One initiative works with smartphone makers and others in the "ecosystem" to pool resources and standardize hardware platforms to provide "turnkey solutions" for making handsets, elaborated Pichai.
Pichai had added that while Android One will be launched around the world, it will be launched "in India first in the fall of this year."
Speaking more about the Android One software experience, Pichai also spoke about 'Play Auto-installs', which would push a list of recommended apps to Android One users.
The Android One platform is Google's attempt to reach the 'next 5 billion users' who don't currently own a smartphone. Pichai elaborated that in emerging countries, less than 10 percent own smartphones.
Pichai announced Google's first three Android One partners, all from India - Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice. A Micromax Android One smartphone was also showcased on stage, featuring what Pichai called vital features for emerging markets - dual-SIM, a microSD card slot, and FM radio. The Micromax Android One smartphone was also revealed to feature a 4.5-inch display, and cost less than $100 (Rs. 6,000 roughly).
Google's Pichai also said he'd been using a Micromax Android One smartphone for a while now, and was really impressed, despite being used to top-end phones for daily use.Written with agency inputs
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