After announcing it first back at I/O 2014, Google today finally launched the first Android One devices in India.
The first three phones to be launched are the Karbon Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and Spice Dream UNO. The Dream UNO is the cheapest at INR6,299 ($103), while the Sparkle V costs INR6,399 ($105) and the Canvas A1 costs INR6,499 ($106).
All three phones are being sold exclusively through three different online stores. The Karbonn Sparkle V will be sold on Snapdeal, the Micromax Canvas V1 through Amazon, and the Spice Dream UNO through Flipkart.
The best thing about these phones is that they all run stock version of Android, 4.4.4 KitKat in this case. The phones will get OS updates directly from Google for two years since launch. These phones will also be first in line with the Nexus devices to get Android L, or any future release.
Google also has done partnership with Airtel, India’s biggest mobile carrier. Users on Airtel will be able to download Android updates for free (that is, without being charged for data downloads) for the first six months. Airtel users will also be able to download up to 200MB worth of apps from the Google Play Store every month, which won’t be counted towards their mobile data.
Another interesting feature is that Android One users will be able to download and watch YouTube videos offline, something not yet available on any Android device. They will also get one year free subscription to content on Google Play Newsstand. Apart from this, the individual online stores selling these phones also have additional offers available, including financing options, discounts on accessories, and free memory card.
India is just the first country to receive Android One. Google will be bringing Android One devices to other countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines and South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) by the end of the year, with more countries to follow in 2015.
There will also be other Androd OEMs, who will be joining Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice later. These include Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo, and Qualcomm.
Android One is a great initiative by Google to bring smartphones to the masses. But with devices like Xiamomi Redmi 1s and Moto E (which are similarly priced and offer better specs) already on the market, not to mention the lack of availability of these phones outside the aforementioned online retailers, we would have to wait and see how successful it is.