Android One phones may soon start offering more hardware variety

Google’s Android One program works as well as it does, bringing smartphone users affordable, dependable phones with fast access to software updates, primarily because of its reliance on standards; by inviting OEMs to craft handsets around some specific reference designs, Android One allows Google and these manufacturers to streamline hardware production and software support. Unfortunately, Android One’s successes in terms of how it brings shoppers access to phones haven’t exactly translated into runaway sales, and now a new report claims that in an effort to appease OEMs, Google’s dialing back its stringent requirements and allowing for more hardware variability.

Supposedly, Google’s evolving policies now allow manufacturers more say about the components that go into Android One phones, as well as giving them more control over handset pricing. For the companies making these smartphones, that may allow them to more effectively market their models by highlighting attractive differences from the rest of the pack.

But will those changes get in the way of Android One’s fast-tracked Android updates? We certainly hope that won’t be the case, and while we don’t yet have a full report on the nature of the newly allowed components, it does sound like Google is still enforcing a good degree of control, preventing a Wild West situation where anything goes; for example, going forward Android One OEMs can reportedly choose from five camera modules for their phones – enough to offer variety, while not being untenable to support in future software updates.

Google has yet to publicly confirm or deny these changes to Android One standards.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!