Android One: All you need to know

Thanks to an impatient employee at Flipkart, we were able to glimpse the specs set of Spice’s Android One phone one day before the actual thing was launched. Anyway, Google took wraps off of the first three Android One phones at an event in the Indian capital of New Delhi, and here’s what you need to know!

The devices come from Micromax, Spice and Karbonn, as announced earlier, and are called Canvas A1, Dream UNO and Sparkle V respectively. All of the three devices come with identical hardware under the hood, so the outer appearance and the vendor are the only differentiating factors.

karbonn one

The Karbonn Sparkle V


The Flipkart listing we managed to glimpse last night was surprisingly accurate. The three Android One phones indeed come with 4.5-inch 854 x 480 pixel displays, 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek CPUs and 1GB RAM. Basic imaging and photography on the Android One phones will be taken care of by 5 mega-pixel rear cameras (capable of full HD recording) along with 2 mega-pixel front facers, which you’ll also use during video calls.

Akin to first gen Chinese phones that had a price point to take care of, Android One devices come with only 4GB of storage on board but offer expansion via microSD. Lastly, a 1700mAh battery powers all the three rangers, with Android v4.4.4 KitKat taking up management responsibilities.

Next-gen Android One phones are, however, set to give MediaTek a miss… to feature everyone’s favourite, Qualcomm SoCs.

spice one

The Spice Dream UNO

Surrounding package

Buyers of Android One devices will get free 35GB of Google Drive, along with 200MB of data every month (exclusive to Airtel at the moment). Another notable addition is the ability to download OTA updates without being charged for data, something which should help users make good use of the 2 year software support that Google will be providing direct.

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Also thanks to a low-ish penetration of credit cards in the markets in focus, Android One phones will have support for carrier billing; that is, you wouldn’t need to use a credit card to pay for, say, a premium download. You shall be charged by your carrier on your pre-paid or post-paid plan.

What next?

Quite a lot. Like we mentioned before, next set of Android One phones will come with not MediaTek but Qualcomm chipsets. Also, there’s a host of OEMs that will be participating in the next wave of these devices, including  Lenovo, Intex, Acer, Xolo Lava, Alcatel, Panasonic, Asus, and HTC.

Android One will also have ‘showrooms on wheels’ across 600 locations through 20 Indian cities in the coming months, which makes it evident that Google is betting big with this scheme.

Also, buyers in countries including Indonesia, the Philippines and Pakistan (besides other South Asian countries) can expect to be able to purchase Android One phones locally by next year.

Micromax-Canvas-A1 one

The Micromax Canvas A1

Where can I get one?

The program is unfortunately restricted only to India at the moment. But like we just mentioned, its set to expand into other markets in due time. However, a lot of would depend on the success of the scheme in India, since there’s a lot of competition that has been able to provide equal or better hardware without any sort of Google subsidy or involvement.

MUST READ: Is Android One the $100 Nexus dream?

Those in India can purchase the Micromax Canvas A1 via Amazon (6,499 INR/US$106), Spice Dream UNO via Flipkart (6,299INR/US$103) and Karbonn Sparkle V via Snapdeal (6,399 INR/US$105).

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