Subcontinental smartphones

Google expands Android One to Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka

Android One, Google’s effort to improve and standardize phones that cost under $100, is expanding. After launching in India earlier this year, Android One devices will go on sale in Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka “in the coming weeks,” according to a Google blog post.

The expansion into the new countries will be led by device makers Karbonn, Micromax, and Spice, which already make Android One devices for India. They’ll be joined in Bangladesh by that country’s own Symphony, which is expected to make Android One phones as well.

Although this is Android One’s largest expansion so far, it isn’t the first time Android One devices have gone on sale outside of India. Last month, four Android One–certified smartphones made by Karbonn went on sale in the U.K. for as little as £70. Still, Android One devices are more clearly intended as mainstream phones for emerging markets rather than as the cheapest Android devices on sale in Europe or the United States.

Although Android dominates low-end smartphones worldwide, most of those devices have no link to Google’s version of Android and are often missing services like the Google Play app store and Google Maps. Some of those phones are running on years-old versions of Android. When Android One was first announced earlier this year, it promised two main advantages over generic, cheap Android phones. First, it standardized specs for low-end phones, thus improving performance for phones running inexpensive MediaTek chips. But equally important is that Android One devices have full access to [company]Google[/company] updates and services.

It also appears that Android One is a passion project for Google SVP Sundar Pichai, who was promoted earlier this year to a “second-in-command” role at Google.