For some time we’ve heard about Google releasing a new initiative to create a more uniform version of Android that’ll allow OEM’s to create a more defined version of the OS as well as the hardware that it runs on, this initiative is currently going by the name Project Silver. Though at Google I/O today we may have just had a taste of how Google will achieve Project Silver with Android One, a new initiative that’ll help manufacturers build low-cost devices for emerging markets.
At Google I/O this evening, Android & Chrome boss and Senior VP of Google, Sundar Pichai, took to the stage after an impressive looking Rube Goldberg machine counted down the seconds prior to the event starting. After revealing some pretty impressive statistics surrounding the current successes of Android, one of which was that the Android active user base had hit the one billion milestone, he announced how Google plans get the remaining five billion people worldwide onto Android too.
He then announced Android One.
Android One is both a version of Android designed for this initiative and a hardware reference models for OEMs to create a uniform, high-end, yet low-cost device for countries such as India, Africa, China, and Brazil. The OS will be stock Android, the same found on Google’s Nexus devices as well as the Google Play devices, it’ll also recieve automatic updates, and will allow OEMs to automatically install apps via Google Play, and update them via the Play Store too.
The program is expected to launch this Autumn starting in India. Pichai gave us one example of an Android One phone, with a model from Micromax, it has a 4.5-inch display, and support for things people in emerging markets find most important such as dual-SIM and microSD card. What’s more, Pichai revealed that the device will cost as little as $100. When the program launches, Karbonn Mobile and Spice Mobile will also be making Android One phones.