Right as we were getting into September, Google sent out invitations to an event scheduled for today in India, one where we would get “an exciting new announcement” from the company. Based on where this was taking place, we wondered if this might not be the follow-up to Google I/O’s news of the new Android One project. Sure enough, earlier today in India Google formally introduced the world to the first Android One devices, while also revealing some key details about where the effort is going from here.
The good news: they’re still quite affordable. We had been concerned by rumors that Android One OEMs would fail to hit the $100 price target put forth by Google, maybe even coming in north of $150. And yes, while that $100 sticker is still just barely out of reach, it’s not by much, with sales of the lineup starting as low as $105. Phones from Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice go up for sale beginning today.
Beyond the inexpensive hardware, Google’s also looking to make Android One service as affordable as possible, partnering with select carriers to offer users free data for system updates (for six months) and a similar free data allotment for app downloads.
Even if those current Android One manufacturers don’t get you excited, you’ll still want to pay attention to future generations of the hardware, now that Google has confirmed new hardware partners Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, and Xolo. And unlike these current MediaTek-based handsets, future Android One phones will also arrive running Qualcomm Snapdragon chips.
From India, Android One is set to expand to Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka before the end of the year, with more destinations following in 2015.