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Friday, 25 July 2014 09:00

Android One phones coming in Q4

Written by Peter Scott



Indian vendors lead the way

The first Android One phones should launch later this year and according to reports fresh out of India, they could hit the shops as early as October. 

Android One is Google's new reference platform for low cost phones. Not much is known about the actual OS or hardware platform. Google is reportedly working with MediaTek, which sounds like an obvious choice for low-end and mainstream phones.
Android One phones are expected to retail under $200, SIM free, with some versions going as low as $100.


India is the prime target for Android One


Thanks to their relatively affordable price, Android One phones are destined to flood emerging markets, including the Indian subcontinent. Google has already teamed up with Micromax, Spice and Karbonn to deliver sub-$100 Android One phones.

Spice told Press Trust of India (PTI) that the phones are designed to drive connectivity at affordable prices and Spice was chosen "for its innovation." 

Spice says more than 85 percent of its portfolio is priced under Rs 8,000, about $135. This means Android One phones could eventually make up the bulk of the company's portfolio.

The company tends to offer good value and its latest handset is a good example. The Stellar 520 is priced at $150 and it features a six-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz, 1GB of RAM, 5-inch IPS HD display, 8GB of storage, 8-megapixel camera and a 2500mAh battery.


Firefox phones will be even cheaper


Although $100 doesn't sound like much for a smartphone, in some markets it still is. Luckily an even more affordable alternative is coming.

Spice says it wants to launch a Firefox phone priced at just Rs 1,500, or about $25. The company plans to start shipping the phones before the Diwali festival of lights, which kicks off on October 23. 

Firefox phones are still few and far between. The only Firefox OS phone on sale in Europe is the ZTE Open C, which is priced at about €50.

The elephant in the room is Nokia. The Finnish handset maker has been selling affordable Asha phones in India for years and making a pretty penny. Competition started heating up a few years ago and Android phones are slowly catching up in terms of pricing.

Nokia recently unveiled the X and XL, two affordable smartphones based on Android AOSP. Earlier this week Nokia also launched the Lumia 530, a $115 Windows phone. 

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