While the majority of the news out of MWC revolves around the bigger and more well-known companies, some of the real gems of these shows can be missed. Turkey’s General Mobile just launched their latest Android One device, the GM6 and we think it’s worth taking note of.
It’s been a while since we looked in on Android One. Google’s attempt to bring Android to the world’s next billion users promised much, but feels like it’s yet to break out of “emerging markets” and hit the big time… at least, that’s how it feels, probably because we’re yet to see these devices hit Australia.
In reality, General Mobile is selling phones in some 22 countries across Europe and the Middle East. Android One’s footprint has actually spread fairly far and wide and the hardware spec has trended upward since early days of low-spec, emerging market hardware.
The modern Android One smartphone is a capable midrange device that’s smartly marketed and generates a lot of interest – the crowd of press around General Mobile’s modest booth at MWC is a testament to the company’s reach.
Android One is also one of the best choices you can make in terms of security – it’s updated by Google and kept bang up to date with security patches. The GM6 demo models on the General Mobile stand had Google’s February security patches, making them probably the second-fastest updated phones on the planet outside of Google’s own Pixel (and some Nexus) phones.
The GM6 is a very worthy entry into an increasingly crowded midrange market. It’s got a nice big 5-inch HD IPS display protected by Gorilla Glass, a 13MP rear camera, 8MP front camera (with a front-facing flash), 3GB RAM, 32GB storage and a front-mounted fingerprint sensor with 0.2ms response time. Some of the phones we’ve seen launched at MWC this year and coming to Australia don’t even match these specs.
On the design front, the GM6 doesn’t break any new ground but it also doesn’t drop the ball. It’s a metallic body with 2.5D glass on the front, and a removable back cover housing the SIM slot and Micro SD card. We’ve seen it before, but when you match that design with Android One and a super affordable price point you’re looking at a great combination.
The great pity then is that General Mobile isn’t looking to sell these phones in Australia, and Google (who sent a representative to the GM6 launch event) doesn’t seem willing to talk about bringing Android One to Australia. In a market where Motorola’s midrange G-series phones are some of the company’s best sellers, surely there’s space for these phones?
Despite the crushing disappointment that the phone won’t come to Australia (and might not be compatible with all our 4G networks if it does), we spent a bit of time with the GM6. Check out our hands-on video below: