Google announces Android One initiative to bring cheap phones to developing countries

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Google started off its I/O 2014 Keynote by talking about its 1 billion active users. But Google senior vice president Sundar Pichai quickly shifted focus to where it might find its next billion. The plan to reach those next users is Android One, a new initiative designed to bring affordable smartphones to developing markets.

The Android One initiative is targeted at the nearly 6 billion people who still don’t have access to Android. Google intends to provide “high quality, low-cost” smartphones that will provide functionality at a lower price point. Android One devices will use stock Android, and carriers will be able to provide their own apps through Google Play manufacturers. Apps from Google Play and updates from Google will automatically install on the device to ensure access to the newest available platform.

Google showed off one example of the handsets the Android One initiative will produce, the Micromax. The dual-SIM smartphone features a 4.5-inch screen and a built-in FM radio. The device will be priced at under $100. The Micromax will launch along with two other devices, Karbon and Spice, all designed to provide “at scale, high-quality, affordable smartphones” to untapped markets.

Android One will initially launch in India in the fall of 2014. The initiative will expand worldwide shortly after in an attempt to stretch Android to every corner of the globe.

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