Android One is a reference platform — it’s a set of rules that device makers can follow to make low-cost phones. It makes it easier for manufacturers to develop and produce devices, because Google is doing all of the hard work figuring out materials costs. For Google, it ensures that even low-end devices can run its software and run it well, providing everyone with a uniformly decent experience. Where KitKat was Google’s effort to address the software issues on low-end devices, Android One is now doing the same for hardware. The company calls it a “a comprehensive solution to address the mobile computing needs of those in emerging markets.”
As predicted, Google has just revealed the first Android One phones at an event in India today. Micromax, Karbonn and Spice Mobiles are the companies working with Google at launch, all three launching new handsets this morning. What can we expect from an Android One device? Karbonn, for example, is launching the “Sparkle V Red,” (pictured below) which comes with dual SIM slots, a 4.5-inch display (480 x 854), a 5-megapixel primary camera, 1GB of RAM and, importantly, the latest version of Android (KitKat).
Google isn’t just controlling the hardware with Android One, either — it’s also making sure the devices run the latest versions of Android and aren’t encumbered by unnecessary software additions, which could endanger whatever performance advantage KitKat had given them. Android One phones will run stock Android, get automatic updates, and access Google’s Play Store for apps and media content.