The biggest problem with inexpensive Android smartphones in most markets comes in when you observe the quality of the hardware and software being deployed. While it is not expected that a device retailing for $200 off contract be comparable to a flagship phone like the HTC One M8, that doesn’t mean they should be pitted against hardware that’s several years old like the HTC G1. Google announced an initiative to address this issue in emerging markets throughout the world during Google I/O, and the first of these smartphones with the Android One brand is now available in India.
Having an Android One phone is, essentially, having a guarantee that you have a device capable of getting regular software updates from Google. This is a two-stage problem in many emerging markets, as you require both software capable of receiving the updates and the financial means to pay for the often hefty download associated with the update.
The Micromax Canvas A1 with Android One is an Android 4.4.4-based smartphone with a 4.5-inch 480 x 854 display and a 1700mAh battery. While nothing earth-shattering, at $105 it’s not a bad little phone. To help with the data struggles, if you are using Airtel as your carrier Google will foot the bill for the first six months as well as the first 200MB of apps you install.
This has been an impressive initiative from the beginning, and it is clear that Google has no thoughts about slowing down. Alongside this impressive announcement, Google’s Sundar Pichai announced partnerships with Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, and Xolo to bring Android One hardware to Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Asia by the end of the year.
Google’s plan to connect the next five billion people seems well on its way, and with the next version of Android right around the corner it looks like the claim that these phones will get Nexus-style updates will be tested very soon.
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