Google’s Android One, which was meant to bring affordable smartphones to emerging markets officially launched in India yesterday. Local manufacturers Karbonn, Micromax, and Spice are rolling out the first Android One devices the Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and Spice Dream Uno. All the three devices feature the same specs and are available for around the $100 mark, between Rs. 6200 and Rs. 6400. The phones are expected to become available in Indonesia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka by the end of the year and in some more countries in 2015.
Android One Phones Tech Specs
The Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and Spice Dream Uno all carry the same specs that includes:
- 4.5 inch 854×480 display, with 217 ppi
- 1.3 GHz quad-core Cortex A7 processor (MediaTek MT6582)
- 1 GB RAM
- 4 GB storage (expandable up to 32GB)
- 2x micro SIM
- 2MP front and 5MP rear facing cameras
- Rechargeable lithium-ion, 1700mAh
- Android™ 4.4 KitKat, update to Android L guaranteed
The Karbonn Sparkle V
These are budget phones, so the hardware can only match its price tag. The processor is only a low power Cortex A7 compared to the Cortext A-15 that high end flagship models come with. The MediaTek chip can be equated to the Qualcomm’s entry level Adreno 305 GPUs but it can perform effective multitasking on the back of its 1 GB RAM and stock Android OS. The 4.5 inch display may be big, but the 854×480 resolution brings down its pixel density to just below the average.
The Micromax Canvas A1
The bright news for owners of the Android One is that Google is promising the Android L update immediately after its release later this fall. Considering that most low end users don’t bother with the latest software updates because of expensive data plans, Google has tied up with one of the biggest carriers in the country, Airtel to offer free software updates on the Android One for the first six months. And if that doesn’t sweeten the deal, Google is also giving away 200 MB every month in free data to download apps from the Play Store.
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Karbonn, Micromax, and Spice are not the only exclusive Android One partners of Google. Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo, and Qualcomm have also joined the bandwagon.
The Spice Dream Uno
Comparing to other budget phones in the Indian market like the Samsung Galaxy S Duos 2, Moto E, Moto G (2nd gen) and the Xiaomi Redmi 1S, the Android One stacks up pretty well in terms of specs and pricing and the closest in competition should probably be the latter (Xiaomi Redmi 1S). The biggest advantage to the Android One devices is the promise of an Android L update, which none of the others are promising. Even the lack of a storage option (only 4GB of internal storage and we hear that you cannot store any files in the remaining free space making a micro SD option a complete necessity) isn’t a drawback as the manufacturers are offering free storage cards along with the devices.
Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, and Spice Dream Uno may look good on paper, but we will have to wait and see how they perform in tests. If you are interested, you can pick up the Karbonn Sparkle V from Snapdeal for Rs 6,399, the Micromax from Amazon India for Rs 6,499 and the Dream Uno on Flipkart for Rs. 6299.