What is Android One?

Alex Yau
May 13, 2015

Over here in the West, we’re all used to seeing expensive Android smartphones running the most advance hardware and software. But head to less developed countries in Asia or Africa and the market lies heavily in budget hardware. Google has spotted the potential in this market and is tapping into it with the Android One platform.

So what is Android One?

Android One isn’t separate from the Android operating systems we’re used to here in the west. It’s Google’s set standard for ensuring low-end smartphones have high-end usability. These standards define the hardware and software manufacturers can use when developing Android One devices. Manufacturers like Samsung and HTC usually customise their high-end phones with their own apps, user interfaces and more. Advanced phones don’t struggle with this personalisation, but low-end phones usually do and performance ends up suffering.

To prevent this, all One devices cannot have any third-party software or hardware installed that could negatively impact performance. Google is ensuring that all Android One devices meet the high-standards associated with Android operating systems whilst remaining affordable. The tech giant finalises the hardware and software of all Android One devices. This guarantees the user gets the experience Google intended and not that of the phone’s manufacturer. Google is also responsible for updating the software, which means you can guarantee on getting the latest Android OS quickly.

Android One specs

The specs determined by Google for One devices concern RAM, screen size, camera quality, memory, battery and more. The first batch of Android One phones were announced last September in India. Examples of manufacturers selling Android One phones included Micromax, Karbonn and Spice, which all have similar hardware setups. This includes a 4.5-inch 845 x 480 displays, 1.3GHz quad-core Mediatek processors, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, front and rear cameras, and dual-SIM configurations. Most of these Android One devices also use Android 4.4 KitKat and have access to the Google Play store.

Other more recognisable brands who will soon release Android One hardware include Acer, Alcatel, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Qualcomm, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic and Xolo.

Can I get Android One in the West?

Not many Android One devices have made it to Europe. The Karbonn Sparkle V is available on Amazon for £111.13. The General Mobile 4G will also be released in Turkey on May 15.  The device has a 5-inch 720p display, Snapdragon 410 processor, 13-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera. The General Mobile 4G will be the first Android One device to offer 4G LTE and will cost $263 contract-free.

However, we may see more One devices in the future as Google has hinted that they will soon become more available in European countries.

For more on Android, visit What Mobile’s dedicated Android page. 


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