Google launches Android One smartphone

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014 09:45am

Google has announced its new low-cost smartphone, the Android One, potentially opening up smartphone features to the world's poorest 5 billion people.

According to Google's senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps, Sundar Pichai, to date the cost of smartphones has been a major barrier to people in countries such as India, Indonesia or the Philippines.

"Even entry-level smartphones still remain out of reach for many (bear in mind that in some of these countries the average monthly income is around US$250)," he wrote in a blog post on the release of Android One in India.

"Second, many people in these markets do not have access to the latest Android software and popular applications. Finally, even where 3G and 4G networks are available, not enough people have phones that can support data and the plans can be expensive."

According to Pichai, Android One addresses these issues by using more affordable parts from phone and silicon chip makers, and through having the devices receive the latest versions of Android directly from Google. Google is also working with mobile carriers to offer lower-cost carriage, such as through a deal it has struck with the Indian telco Airtel.

"Access for access’s sake is not enough," the blog post reads. "With Android One, we not only want to help people get online, we want to make sure that when they get there, they can tap into the wealth of information and knowledge the web holds for everyone."

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