I previously reported on Android One and the spectacularly low price range projected by Google. While I was hoping that Google-backed companies stay closer to the lower limit of $50, the Google Android One phones actually came out in India on Monday but at the upper limit suggested – at approximately $100.
On Monday, three leading mobile companies, Micromax, Karbonn and Spice, backed by Google, launched their Android One phones via three online portals, Amazon, SnapDeal and Flipkart, respectively. The verdict? Identical features, identical price, and even the freebies are identical.
Let’s take a look at these phones one by one.
- Android v 4.4 KitKat
- 4.5 inch IPS Display (11.43 cm)
- 5 MP Primary Camera
- Dual SIM
- 1700mAh Lithium Polymer Battery
- 1 GB RAM
- 4 GB ROM Expandable up to 32 GB
- 1.3 GHz Quadcore Processor
- Latest Updates by Android One
- 2 MP Front Camera
Available on SnapDeal, this phone has sold more than 5000 units. It comes with 15 months of warranty, thought the 3 extra months of warranty on top of the usual 1 year fails to make any logical sense to me.
- 5MP primary camera
- 4.5-inch FWVGA capacitive touchscreen
- Android v.4.4.4 KitKat
- 1.3GHz quad core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB internal memory expandable up to 32GB
- Dual SIM
- 1700mAH battery providing talk-time of 6 hours and standby time of 160 hours
Available on Amazon, this one has actually sold out, which makes you wonder how many units they had available. This one comes with 1 year manufacturer’s warranty for device and 6 months manufacturer’s warranty for in-box accessories, including batteries, from the date of purchase.
- Wi-Fi Enabled and FM Radio
- 5 MP Primary Camera and 2 MP Secondary Camera
- 1.3 GHz Quad Core Processor
- Dual Sim (GSM + GSM)
- Android v4.4.4 (KitKat) OS
- Expandable Storage Capacity of 32 GB
- 4.5-inch LCD Capacitive Touchscreen
This one is available on Flipkart, India’s largest online shopping portal.
One thing that immediately stands out to me is their very similar features. Each one having 1.3 GHz quad-core processor, 1 GB RAM, 4 GB internal with external support up to 32 GB, 5 MP rear and 2 MP front camera, 4.5 inch display. While this can lead to a difficult game of spot-the-difference, it gives us ample suspicion that Google told these companies, “OK, here are the lowest minimum specs allowed in these phones“.
Surprisingly, if the similarities didn’t end there, check out these freebies.
Free Gifts With Each Purchase
Karbonn Android One Sparkle V Blue
- Airtel Offer: Free Software Upgrades & App Downloads.
- Free Snapdeal Coupons Worth Rs 2,000 (Valid Up To 2 Months)
- Free Recharge Worth Rs 200 From FreeCharge (2 Codes Worth Rs 100 each)
Micromax Canvas A1
- Free Amazon.in Coupons worth Rs.2,000.
- Free Strontium 8GB MicroSDHC Memory Card.
- 10% Cash Back on State Bank Debit & Credit cards.
- 1,610 lucky purchasers to get Amazon.in Gift Cards worth up to Rs.10,000.
- Free software upgrades and app downloads for 6 months on the Micromax Canvas A1 Smartphone, applicable for Airtel users.
Spice Android One Dream UNO Mi-498
- Free screenguard in the box
- On your purchase of Spice Dream Uno Android One phone get Rs. 200 recharge from FreeCharge.
- Rs.1,500 Myntra App exclusive offer for Spice Android One phone
Even the freebies are similar! The freebies giveaway makes it looks more like end-of-season clearing sale than a premium first-in-the-world product launch.
- Karbonn Android One Sparkle V Blue – INR 6399 (USD 105)
- Micromax Canvas A1 – INR 6499 (USD 106)
- Spice Android One Dream UNO Mi-498 – INR 6299 (USD 104)
Food for thought: instead of loading the buyers with ‘freebies’ they probably never wanted, couldn’t the price been slashed to a more reasonable range? Google’s vision was to empower more people with Android by providing Android phones at a very low price (I quoted them here) and these freebies, like every other freebies, only added to the cost unnecessarily.
But what is Android One? Android One is not a new version of an Android operating system, but more of a concept. When your phone is running Android One, it means that you have the latest Android Operating System that isn’t tweaked by the phone manufacturer. It also means that you are promised an upgrade to the latest Android versions for next 2 years as soon as they come out. Pretty amazing, considering that we are often dependent on the handset companies to receive updates. The next version slated for release is Android L.
On a sidenote, the 3rd flash sale of Xiaomi Redmi 1S (Hongmi 1S for many of you) was last Tuesday and 40,000 models were sold out in 3.5 seconds. In India, it costs USD98. In light of existing competition, the Android One phones have never looked worse.
My verdict? Entry level phones with decent features at a cost that could have easily been slashed. That pretty much sums up the much hyped Android One phone from Google.