The first Android One-branded budget-priced “high quality” smartphones have been released in India.
The handsets provide a minimum set of features determined by Google, which has sourced several of the components to help cut manufacturing costs.
The company has also teamed up with a local network to make it cheaper to download Android updates and new apps.
Experts suggest the move should help address criticism of earlier entry-price smartphones.
Sundar Pichai, who oversees Android, said the Android One scheme had delivered economies of scale that meant the first batch of phones could be offered for as low as 6,399 rupees ($105; £65) if bought contract-free.
“Our goal was to develop high quality smartphones at an affordable price, with access to connectivity, done at scale around the world,” he told the BBC ahead of the launch in Delhi.
“We provide our OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] a menu, effectively.
“They can choose the CPU [central processing unit], the GPU [graphics processing unit], the storage, the type of battery, the type of camera.
The first Android One devices are made by Micromax – already India’s bestselling mobile-phone maker – Karbonn and Spice.
To meet Google’s minimum standards they all have:
- a 4.5in (11.4cm) display
- 1GB of RAM (random-access memory)
- a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front one
- a quadcore processor sourced from Taiwanese company Mediatek
- the ability to run the next version of Android, due for release soon
In addition, they have been tailored to suit the local market by including a micro-SD (Secure Digital) slot, a replaceable battery, a built-in FM radio and the ability to support two Sim cards simultaneously.
If connected to Airtel – one of India’s most popular networks – data used to download Android updates will not be subtracted from a customer’s allowance for the first six months. Users can also download 200MB worth of apps from Google Play on top of their data plan.