At the ongoing Google I/O 2014, the tech giant shared with developers their new program called Android One, which aims to reach the emerging markets outside of the US where smartphones are very much a need but cannot be afforded by everyone. They will be focusing on creating low-budget and low-spec phones that will answer connectivity issues in these regions.
Much like what they did with the Nexus devices, Google will be creating specifications of smartphones which will then be applied by approved local manufacturers. These Google phones will then be sold to the market at a lower price than most Android devices. This is to help address the issue in countries where smartphone penetration is lower compared to the US and Europe markets due to cost issues.
Google will be working closely with the local carriers and manufacturers to ensure that they will meet quality standards. There will be an extensive qualification process for the vendors that will become approved partners for Android One. The software that will be used on the phones will be the same one on the Nexus devices and so upgrades and updates will come from Google as well.
The first market to implement this is India, the 2nd most populous country in the world. Android One is partnering with local carriers Karbonn, Cromax, and Spice and manufacturer Micromax. They are working on a 4.5-inch screen smartphone that will have Dual Sim (a need in a market like India), an SD card slot (since we assume the phone has lower internal memory and storage) and an FM radio (India’s market is still highly dependent on terrestrial radio for their music). It will be sold for under $100 which will hopefully make it more accessible to the masses.