Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) is making an effort to increase its mobile momentum by providing high-quality, affordable smartphones to developing markets around the world with its new smartphone initiative Android One, which it announced at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.
According to Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps at Google, there are over 1 billion Android devices activated worldwide. Still, only less than 10 percent of the world’s population has access to smartphones.
With Android One, Pichai says Google hopes to provide a “turnkey solution” for manufacturers to easily build smartphones with features that are relevant to consumers in developing markets. Android One devices will include stock Android software, locally relevant applications within the Google Play Store, and automatic updates that come directly from Google, just like Nexus devices and Google Play Edition phones.
The first Android One model includes a 4.5-inch screen and other features pertinent to developing markets such as Dual SIM support, SD card support and FM radio, and will cost less than $100. The handset will be available in the fall starting in India, but will also be worldwide.
Pichai says Google is working with mobile networks to provide affordable connectivity packages.
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