Google on Wednesday outlined plans for Android One, a version of the search giant’s mobile operating system with hardware reference designs aimed at emerging markets such as India.
The effort, outlined by Android chief Sundar Pichai, is aimed at getting the next 1 billion Android users the platform. The catch is that the price for devices and software need to come down. In a nutshell, Android One is an initiative to define reference platforms so that original equipment manufacturers can easily build phones more easily.
Google has more control over the platform yet allows for some customisation. Micromax, an India smartphone player, will offer a device with a dual SIM, SD card, 4.5 inch screen and FM radio. Spice and Karbonn Mobiles are also hardware partners. “We are going to be launching it around the world, but will launch in India first in the fall of this year,” Pichai said .
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The devices will go or less than $100, according to him. Google’s pitch to developers comes as tech giants are watching users switch their attention away from desktop computers to smartphones and tablets, and starting to look at other screens, including smartwatches and car dashboards. Inhabiting those platforms means Google can extend its reach, and collect the valuable user data the company — and advertisers — covet.
Also, Google gave developers an early look at the Android TV at its I/O conference on Wednesday, its newest attempt to let Android-based devices work better with HDTVs, set-tops and other entertainment systems.
Initial Android TV manufacturing partners will include Sony Electronics, Sharp and TP Vision.
The entire 2015 Ultra HD 4K television line from Sony as well as the 2015 TV lines from Sharp and TP Vision will run on Android TV. In addition, Google is working with silicon vendors including Intel and Marvell Technology for the platform.