Google unveils low-cost Android One smartphones

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Google has unveiled the first three smartphones that will form part of Android One, the firm’s initiative to bringing affordable handsets to emerging markets.

“With Android One, we not only want to help people get online, we want to make sure that when they get there, they can tap into the wealth of information and knowledge the Web holds for everyone,” stated Google senior vice president Sundar Pichai.

Manufactured by Spice, Karbonn and Micromax, each of the three handsets will feature a 4.5-inch display with prices starting at $105.

The phones will boast a 5MP front-facing camera and 2MP rear-facing camera, a replaceable battery, dual SIM card slots and a built-in FM radio. Other features include a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processor and 1GB of RAM.

Running on the firm’s upcoming mobile operating system Android L, the phones will be eligible for software updates as well as security patches.

They will debut in India before coming to other emerging markets such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan by the end of the year.

To make the phones affordable, Google has partnered with other smartphone makers such as Acer, Lenovo, Asus and HTC as well as silicon chip manufacturers to use lower-cost components.

There are more than 1.75 billion smartphone users across the globe, but firms like Google still have a chance to grab the attention of five billion people without mobile devices.

Google explained that it focused on India first due to the country’s pricey data plans and hardware and limited access to apps.

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