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Important facts to know about the Android One Project

Finally the Android One project from Google is out, and there are three smartphones launched. But should we be excited about this? don’t these devices already face some fierce competition? They do. But at the same time, Google hasn’t been doing unplanned stuff any time. There are a few very important things to notice about this project, and about the smartphones that are launched with the Android One branding.

Perfect price range to target

There have been budget devices earlier too, in the market. In the recent times, there have been some decent phones but there was always a question about the performance, the regular OS updates that are essential for many, and the brand value. Because, the devices from well known brands were not good enough if they were priced in the budget range. Android One promises something different from them, with the regular updates and the experience of stock Android OS.

2 years of software support

Google is guaranteeing two years of software support for Android One smartphones. That is huge, especially because the Tier 1 brands have been slow on pushing OS updates to the smartphones and usually after a year, there is an end to the updates. With this announcement of software support, these Android One devices are assured of the Android L update and the future OS updates as well.

Carrier billing

We did see this in the Nokia X where Play Store wasn’t there and for downloading any premium apps, the carrier balance was used to pay for it. With Android One, the user will not have to worry about using credit cards and authentication if you had to purchase any paid application, because the carrier billing feature will help the users pay for the app using the phone balance.

More companies to join in

The Android One project was announced by Google in partnership with three companies initially – Micromax, Spice and Karbonn. Does that mean these are the only three partners? No, as Google announced that the other brands Alcatel, Panasonic, Lenovo, Intex, Lava, Asus, Acer, Xolo and HTC are going to soon join the program and release Android One phones.

Little “free” to start off

Airtel is pretty well into this project, as the company says it is going to provide free OTA updates to the Android One phones (over-the-air updates for OS), and will also be giving 200MB of free data every month for the app download from Play Store. This offer is going to be for the first six months after purchase, which is good enough for the buyers to start using without much fear about data costs for the phone related downloads.

Offline viewing of Youtube videos

This is not yet confirmed whether the offline viewing support is available for only the Android One phones or for everyone, but the announcement of the offline video playing support is an excellent one. Download for once, view it multiple times without Internet connection.

Not the worst specs for the price

Many might argue that the Xiaomi Redmi 1s priced lesser than these smartphones, has got a Snapdragon 400 processor compared to these Mediatek-powered devices, but are there any other decent phones available with ease, without any flash sale or something that keeps the user interested but not available in the market? Xiaomi Redmi 1s is good, but these phones aren’t really bad. A 4.5-inch screen, a quad-core Mediatek chipset, latest OS with updates for a couple years, proper warranty and after-sales support.

This is still just a start and Android One has a long way to go, and as time goes on, we might see some even better devices at the same price point of around $100, but for now, this is not a bad deal, especially for those who cared a lot about brand value and support, as Google is going to give a complete software support, and one has to just choose the best based on the hardware in these. Even the known companies like HTC, Lenovo, Asus are soon going to put their foot into this.

If the price of a device was the only consideration, even the Tier-1 brands have the courage to show the aggression. There comes a lot of factors around the pricing, and Android One is something where we are seeing a justice both ways. We just have to wait and watch, this isn’t going into a deep pit.

By Chetan Bhawani on Monday 15th of Sep 2014


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