This will enable handset makers to build low-cost smartphones targeting almost one billion potential users in emerging markets, according to sources in Taiwan’s handset supply chain.
Under the Android One initiative, Google will offer a set of hardware and software guidelines, as well as reference design platforms, for device makers to build affordable smartphones more easily and faster.
According to the sources, Google has been in talks with MediaTek in relation to Android One for the past six months, and has promised to offer its latest software and firmware of the Android platform, to the Taiwan-based IC design house for detailed development.
In addition to announcing the Android One project at Google’s 2014 I/O conference, Google also showcased an Android One smartphone built by India-based handset vendor Micromax. The Android One smartphone, which features a 4.5-inch display and dual-SIM slot, is powered by a MediaTek dual-core MT6575 processor, the sources indicated.
The development and production of Android One smartphones from hardware to software and design, eventually shows traces of MediaTek’s successful experience on development of its reference designs for handsets.
If the Android One project goes smoothly, Google and MediaTek may extend their cooperation to include Android tablets and Android TVs, the source added.
This development possibly explains rumours from back in April, that Google was working on a sub US$100 Nexus phone with Mediatek at the core. It’s an interesting development but whether Mediatek’s current practice of requiring payment for access to source will continue once they begin producing a Google Android platform device.
How cheap can smartphones go? Will you try to get your hands on an Android One phone?