Google Initially Rolls Out $105 Smartphone In India

Attempting to make the latest smartphone technology affordable to the masses, Google introduced Android One Monday at an India launch event in New Delhi. The device aims to give the company an edge in emerging markets by setting the price at $105, and taking more control of operating system (OS) software updates

The goal to improve the quality of hardware and software at the lowest possible price means bringing continuity to the inner parts of the devices. Sundar Pichai, Google senior vice president of Android Chrome and apps, unveiled the phone and explained how it works and that the market is targeting first-time smartphone buyers.

Google also will take control of rolling out software updates, rather than have operators release versions -- keeping continuity in OS versions. Putting more devices in the hands of consumers will give brands more chances to reach a diverse set of consumers.

Indian brands will initially support the device, but Pichai believes the strategy will go global. The phones will come with "local content including Google Translate with a Hindi-English-Hindi package, Google Now with a focus on cricket and even train reservations and going ahead free access to YouTube," per reports.

The phones launched in partnership with Micromax, Karbonn and Spice, all have the same specifications with a slightly different designs. They will compete with Android Kitkat devices from Motorola. Reuters reports that Google is working with Acer, HTC, and Panasonic to build more devices under Android One.

Citing research from brokerage Nomura, Reuters reports only 10% of the India's population owns a smartphone, but the figure will likely double during the next four years.

Google also plans rollouts of Android One in Indonesia and Philippines by the end of 2014. Alcatel, Panasonic, Asus, Acer, HTC and Lenovo as manufacturing partners will soon roll out their own versions.

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