Android One: It’s like the Nexus line for inexpensive phones

Photo by Janko Roettgers/Gigaom

The hottest part of the mobile market is the cheap, sub-$100 device. Need proof? At its annual I/O developer’s conference in San Francisco Wednesday, Google announced Android One, a program to seed reference designs to hardware makers in order to speed up the process of bringing the latest hardware to price-sensitive consumers. AndroidOne phones will have stock Android, Google Play auto-installs, and automatic updates.

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Hardware manufacturer Micromax already has a device ready that will retail for under $100. In addition to a 4.5-inch screen, it’ll pack developing-world friendly features such as dual-SIM support and an FM radio. This device — and future AndroidOne devices — will compete directly with Motorola’s inexpensive Moto G and Moto E, as well as Microsoft’s inexpensive Windows Phones.

The first Android One devices will launch this fall, starting in India, a hotspot for inexpensive new smartphones. The Android One program also includes a requirement that its devices come with “reasonable data plans.”

“We’re targeting the next 5 billion mobile users,” Google SVP Sundar Pichai said.

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