Google officially announces Android One in India

Google has officially launched the Android One platform in India. The initiative sees Google collaborating with Indian vendors Micromax, Karbonn Mobiles and Spice in providing an entry-level smartphone that offers a near-stock Android experience and a turnkey hardware solution. The tagline for Android One in India is "Apni Kismat Apne Haath", which translates to "Your fate in your hands."

All three manufacturers will begin selling their handsets from later today, with each vendor choosing a particular ecommerce store where they will be offering their Android One smartphones exclusively. Micromax, for instance, is siding with Amazon India, whereas Karbonn is choosing to go with Snapdeal and Spice with Flipkart. Google has managed to get carriers on board as well, with local carrier Airtel set to offer 200 MB data monthly for up to six months. While the Android One handsets will be offered exclusively online in the beginning, offline availability will commence sometime later this year.

Spice's Android One Dream Uno was briefly listed on Flipkart on Saturday, with a retail price of Rs. 6,999 ($115) and specs that include a 4.5-inch FWVGA display, 1.3 GHz quad-core MediaTek CPU, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB internal memory, microSD up to 32 GB, dual-SIM connectivity, 5 MP camera with LED flash, 2 MP front shooter, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and 3G connectivity along with a 1700 mAh battery.

Micromax's Canvas A1 and Karbonn's Sparkle V Red share the same specs, with Karbonn aiming for the most affordable price point at Rs. 6,399.

In addition to English, all Android One smartphones will come with support for seven additional Indian languages including Hindi, and users will be able to issue voice commands in Hindi. Google was quick to announce that all Android One smartphones will run Android 4.4.4 KitKat out of the box, with a guaranteed update to Android L once it becomes available. users do not have to wait for manufacturers to roll out updates as Google will be issuing the software updates as soon as they are available, similar to what it does with the Nexus line and the Google Play edition devices.

While India is ground zero for Android One, Google has mentioned that the platform will launch in Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia and other territories in the South-East Asian region sometime later this year. International manufacturers like Alcatel, Panasonic, Asus, Acer and HTC will also be launching Android One smartphones in due course of time. It looks like everyone but Samsung, Sony and LG are involved in Google's Android One efforts.

What do you guys think of the Android One smartphones?

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.