Google Launches Affordable Android One Phones in India

group_UI-visibleGoogle has launched the first wave of its entry-level Android One devices in India.

The Android One initiative, introduced at the companys I/O conference in June, is intended to bring affordable smartphones to emerging markets by partnering with hardware companies. In the case of this first wave, the partners are Micromax, Karbonn, Spice and chipmaker MediaTek, with smartphones starting at 6,399 Rupees (£64.43).

The handsets offer expandable storage via SD card, plus features specifically targeted at the Indian audience, including a replaceable battery, dual-SIM functionality and a built-in FM radio.

The devices will be updated automatically with the latest versions of Android – including the upcoming Android L later this year. To offset the cost of downloading these updates over a mobile network, Google has partnered with Indian telco Airtel to offer free updates for the first six months and 200MB of bandwidth for app downloads which dont count towards the customers mobile data usage.

Google also announced that the initiative is bringing more manufacturing partners on board, including Acer, HTC, Lenovo, Panasonic and Qualcomm. It will also be launching Android One devices in a number of Asian markets, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Pakistan, by the end of the year, with more countries to follow in 2015.