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Android One launches, here are the handsets

News by Luke Jones on Monday September 15, 2014.

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Android One
Android One

As expected, Google has today rolled out the Android One initiative in India, launching a number of entry level handsets all running the unified Android software. The company has been working on Android One since launching the project back in the middle of the year during the Google I/O conference, and now the launch has saw three new handsets for the Indian market.

Each smartphone has been built within the country and each will retail for a price of around $100 when they are launched. As Google has detailed previously, Android One devices will all run the latest version of the platform (at this moment 4.4.4 KitKat) that has been configured by Google. The company promises that all handsets will be updated for a full two years, meaning the Android One devices launched this year will definitely get Android L and may even be supported long enough for the next full platform release.

Google will spread Android One to other emerging markets where the combination of home sourced hardware and official Google software will continue. Although not confirmed, it is expected that Indonesia and the Philippines will be next. For now though, let's look at the first Indian based Android One smartphones.

Google was clear when it first showed off Android One that the company would deliver a unified Android experience that would be shared by every device associated with the project. Mountain View also claimed it would help with the design, orientation, and general aspects of the handsets, and it seems that was true. There is no getting away from the fact that these devices all look very similar, while their specs are all but identical too. I am not sure if that is because of Google's involvement, but there is a whiff of Nexus 4 about these handsets so I presume that is the case.

Spice Dream Uno Mi-498


The Spice Dream Uno gets a 4.5-inch FWVGA (854480) resolution display, while 1GB of RAM pairs up with a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processor to take care of performance. It is limited to 4GB of internal storage, but does get a microSD card slot for expansion. Other specs include dual SIM support, a 1700mAH battery, a 5 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front lens. It boasts a steady set of connection options with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 3G all in the mix.

The handset is available in India now and will be sold through retailer Flipkart as an exclusive for Rs.6399.

Karbonn Sparkle V


The splash of color gives the Karbonn Sparkle V a bit more vibrancy, while the handset is a little fatter than the Spice Dream Uno. Other than that, you get exactly the same specs as the first handset, right down to the letter in fact. That red color is the only option and the smartphone will be sold through Snapdeal as an exclusive.

Micromax Canvas A1


Decked in black like the Spice Dream Uno, I really am having a hard time to differentiate the Micromax Canvas A1 from that handset. It doesn?t get any easier in terms of specs, because yet again they are very much the same, although the fact this can only bought through Amazon sets the two smartphones apart. Although, it is worth noting that the Canvas A1 is actually available in white too, and will cost the same as the Spice handset.

All of the products above will also be sold at bricks and mortar locations run by Diwali and to make each a little more appealing, Google has added 25GB of free Google Drive cloud storage. The freebies do not end there as the company has also teamed with local operators like AirTel and Reliance to offer 200MB of free 3G downloads to Android One smartphone. The one condition is that the apps must come from the Google Play Store. Interestingly, there will also be completely data free OTA downloads for new software versions of Android, giving customers quick access to the latest builds of the platform. On top of all that, Google is also offering a free 12 month subscription to its Newsstand service.

Not really a bad overall package, but there is an inescapable feeling that deciding which of these handsets to get could be as simply as just tossing a coin.

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About the author

Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Managing Editor at MobileBurn.com and is the person you need to speak to about the content on the site. Luke studied creative writing at degree level before carving out a reputation as a freelance tech writer. He settled here at MobileBurn, where he reviews devices and contributes to the news, as well as overseeing the site's content and direction.

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