As expected, this afternoon Google has announced the kick-off of their Android One platform at an event in India. Google’s Android and Chrome VP, Sundar Pichai was on hand to announce the launch, which will see handsets from Indian manufacturers Karbonn, Spice and Micromax launched as the first handsets as part of the program.
For the Indian launch, the Android One handsets will come pre-installed with Hindi language support, a language spoken by over 40% of the Indian population. Users will be able to use the Voice Commands, dictionary and maps in Hindi after Google boosted support for the language in Android in anticipation of the launch. This localised support will change based on where the handsets launch, Sundar Pichai announced that Android One would roll out to Indonesia, Phillippines and other South Asian countries by the end of the year, with more countries to follow in 2015.
The handsets from Karbonn, Micromax and Spice will be available later today, with the price starting at Rs 6,399 (around AUD$116), although as we saw in yesterdays leak from Flipkart, that price may be slightly higher depending on the vendor. Amazon India has already confirmed they will be the exclusive seller of the Micromax branded Android One handset, beginning sales at 3:30pm (around 8pm AEST), while it seems Flipkart will sell the Spice branded one, and Snapdeal will sell the Karbonn branded handset.
As a reference platform, the handsets hardware shouldn’t differ greatly from the specs leaked from the Flipkart yesterday. Specs for the Spice branded handset include :
- 4.5″ FWVGA (854×480) resolution IPS Display
- 1.3GHz Quad Core processor with Mali-400 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB on-board storage with microSD Card (up to 32GB)
- 5MP Rear Camera with LED Flash and 2MP Front-Facing Camer
- WiFi, Bluetooth v4.0, A-GPS,FM Radio
- Gravit, Proximity, Light, Magnetic and Gyro Sensors
- 2G: 2100
- 3G: 850/900/1800/1900
- Android 4.4.4
- 67x132x9.15mm @ 107grams
- 1700mAh Li-Polymer battery
Snapdeal has just put their Karbonn Sparkle V up on their website, for the Rs 6,399 (around AUD$116) price tag announced by Google. The specs are identical to the Spice Android One Dream Uno (Mi-498), which are listed above. There’s no listing of which Karbonn specific apps will be included on the handset though. It appears there’s a Red and Blue model available.
Amazon India has updated their website to begin offering the Micromax Canvas A1 (Magnetic Black) for Rs 6,499 (around AUD$118). The black model appears to be all that’s available at the moment, but a White version is definitely showing in the description.
Finally, Flipkart has re-activated their page for the Spice Android One Dream UNO Mi-498 (Black). It’s priced at Rs 6,299 (around AUD$114)
Currently none of the companies are shipping the handsets outside of India. If you have some contacts on the sub-continent get in touch with us.
Android Central has reported that Android One handsets will be able to download YouTube videos for offline playback, with YouTube executive Ceasar Sengupta saying:
YouTube is popular here. You watch some videos again and again. How awesome would it be if you could keep watching them again and again without having to pay for data, and take the videos with you wherever you go? Within the coming few weeks, much of YouTube will be available offline in India. This is huge, and our users will really, really like this. You can download a video once, save it to your phone, and watch it again and again.
Google has updated the Google Blog – and begun a new Android One Twitter account and a Google+ page – to share a few more tidbits on the Android One launch in India, as well as where it will co in the future. While MediaTek is, as rumoured, supplying the CPU for the three handsets announced today, Qualcomm will be supplying processors for the Android One platform in the coming releases. Google has advised that a range of new manufacturers, including manufacturers Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo will be releasing Android One handsets as the company expands Android One to Philippines and South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) this year, with more countries expected to come next year.
Google has partnered with Indian carrier Airtel to supply free software updates for these handsets, including up to 200MB of data per month. Google also announced that Android One handsets will be among the first to receive the Android L update when it’s released later this year.
We’ll be updating this post with more information on the handsets as they’re released.