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

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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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  1. Black Hole
    September 15, 2014

    The $98usd Xiaomi RedMi 1s is 100 times better than $106usd AndroidOne. A dumb will only buy AndroidOne.

    • September 15, 2014

      In India, yes. How long the Redmi 1S sells for that price is a totally different story, though.

      • Abir
        September 15, 2014

        The Redmi itself as issues, biggest one being RAM, 1 gb is not really enough for MIUI and I feel lag sometimes that too on a brand new phone, but 1 gig of RAM is plenty enough for Vanilla android. If any of these Android One phones are any good I am getting a couple of them for my parents.

        • balcobomber25
          October 15, 2014

          I run MIUI on my Nexus 7(2012) with 1 GB of RAM and it runs beautifully. Never have any problems with it.

    • September 15, 2014

      MIUI vs. Stock Android. 35GB of Google storage space, free OTA updates, and direct software update support from Google.

      The only thing “dumb” is making the comment that AndroidOne isn’t better than a MIUI solution.

      • trapchan
        September 16, 2014

        nah, i’ll take 720p screen over 480p any day

  2. sandro khokhiashvili
    September 15, 2014

    that means that there is more chance that mediatek will release kernel sources!!!!

  3. September 15, 2014

    I really like the idea of Google “enforcing” stock Android. This is the most appealing part of AndroidOne for me. In fact, I wish they’d expand the program to higher end hardware.

    Call me a purist, but I hate when manufacturers and carriers screw around with the OS. If they want to create “value added” software features, they should make them installable packages that can be easily added and REMOVED if we chose not to use them. ColorOS, FunOS, MIUI and the rest are just nonsense that we’re forced to tolerate. Almost none of their extra “value” couldn’t be delivered as an installable APK in the form of an app launcher, yet they insist on hard wiring the code into the OS so we can’t get rid of it. Pure hubris.

    • desponent
      September 16, 2014

      Google is also one of those manufacturers, in fact their background service is infamous for draining battery. One of the most common cause of battery drain is google play 100+ services and their wakelock.

      Good luck trying to get rid of it on 4.4 and above.

    • trapchan
      September 16, 2014

      dont buy it. simple as that. just fyi, back then when Android still at Gingerbread, MIUI was like a godsend. The UI is far more pleasing to the eyes.

      it’s less relevant now that Android UI is much better especially the upcoming L. But still, at least MIUI is far from a nonsense.

    • yudhir
      September 16, 2014

      I want a pure Gingerbread Said ‘no one’ ! That just after holo that people start to like Default Android. By then It was too late..Most OEMs had their own UI developed.

  4. Angry Mobile Nerd
    September 15, 2014

    Android Magazine Issue 41 had a very informative article about Android One and its purpose.

  5. Jel
    September 16, 2014

    Does anyone know if the phones/manufactures are existing chinese brands/models?

  6. November 18, 2014

    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..