Google Android One Program to Set a Standard for Sub-$100 Smartphones

As if the recent price cuts of Android smartphones weren’t enough, the search giant intends to make such mobile devices even more affordable. The Android One program marks the launch of qualitative Android phones with a price tag of under $100.

In comparison to the latest flagships, smartphones from China and India are already quite affordable, even though the build quality leaves a bit to be desired sometimes. Google means to make no compromises in terms of quality, while still offering Android handsets at decent prices.

Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps, announced during a keynote at the Google I/O conference that the Android One program will include a reference design on which device makers will build their devices.

Indian mobile device makers Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice are the first three companies to join the Android One program. Pichai even showcased a Micromax Android One smartphone while on the stage. The dual-SIM handset features a 4.5″ display (more than what Samsung Galaxy S2 had 3 years ago), FM radio and a microSD slot for extending the storage capacity. The amount of internal memory is currently unknown.

Google’s ultimate goal is to provide an Android smartphone to the remaining 5 billion that don’t currently own one. This is a bit of an impossible thing, as most people from emerging countries still won’t be able to afford getting an Android phone, regardless of how cheap it gets. Dreaming is not wrong though, and setting such a high goal will encourage the search giant to strive for progress continuously.

Pichai admitted that he had been using a Micromax Android One smartphone for a while now, and even expressed his excitement about the device, despite being used to high-end devices. The whole idea of having such decent specs for under $100 would’ve seemed unreal a few years ago, but the advancements in technology (I’m referring here both to materials and production procedures) could turn this into a reality really soon.

Hopefully, more and more device makers will join this program, and will realize that selling affordable devices in large quantities is a lot better both for themselves and for their customers than selling very expensive smartphones to a limited few. Google is definitely a pioneer, but it won’t be able to do it without the support of other manufacturers.

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