Science & technology
Google making low-cost smartphone for emerging marketsPublish Date: Jun 26, 2014
Google making low-cost smartphone for emerging markets
  • mail
  • img
The low-cost smartphone aimed for emerging markets is part of an initiative called Android One. PHOTO/AFP/Getty Images
newvision

SAN FRANCISCO - Google announced Wednesday it was working on a low-cost smartphone aimed at emerging markets as part of an initiative called Android One.

The Android-powered handset will be built with a basic set of features including FM radio, have a screen slightly smaller than five inches (12.7 centimeters) and be priced at less than $100, Google senior vice president Sundar Pichai said at the start of the technology giant's annual developers conference.

"We are going to be launching it around the world, but will launch in India first in the fall of this year," Pichai said.

He added that Google was working with carriers in India to provide affordable telecom service packages to go with the smartphones, which could in many cases provide Internet access for the first time.

The Android One initiative sets out to work with smartphone makers and others in the "ecosystem" to pool resources and standardize hardware platforms to provide "turnkey solutions" for making handsets, according to Pichai.

"There are many people -- billions of people, in fact -- who still don't have access to a smartphone," he said.

"We want to change that."

Low-cost phones powered by Android have proven popular in developing markets, but have been vexed by "fragmentation" because handset makers customize the software to suit different hardware or set themselves apart from rivals.

The variations result in popular third-party applications typically not working across the array of Android devices, frustrating users who want the latest fun, hip or helpful mobile mini-program.

Android One software for low-priced smartphones in emerging countries could bring some consistency across devices, according to Gartner consumer technology research director Brian Blau.

"Google really needs to have a solution for emerging markets with low-cost devices," Blau told AFP.

"It is going to be a long, tough road to have an impact there; it is going to take years to bring the next two to three billion people onto the Internet."

Internet everywhere

Google is collaborating with handset makers and others in the industry to field affordable smartphones that are high quality and come with reasonably priced data plans.

Handsets will be made by Google partners and launch with an initial range of "sub-$100" smartphones.

"We've long wondered what potential could be unleashed if people everywhere had access to the latest technology and the world's information," Pichai said. "It's time to find out."

Google and Silicon Valley rival Facebook have made priorities out of connecting with people in parts of the world where Internet connectivity is scan, unreliable or just non-existent.

Having more people tune into websites or services mean expanded opportunities to make money from online advertising or providing tools that connect shops with customers.

Google does not make money from hardware, with its own branded gadgets meant to set standards and show off software capabilities with an eye toward inspiring electronics manufacturers to raise their games when it comes to Android or Chrome devices.

Developing countries have become prime targets for smartphone makers, and Android software made available free to handset makers has proven to be popular with budget-conscious buyers.

The news came a day after Microsoft said it would sell an Android-powered Nokia smartphone at a price of $135, a device also apparently aimed at emerging markets customers.

In April, Google acquired Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones that could be used to boost Internet access to remote areas.

Google also is developing Project Loon, which uses large balloons for transmitting Internet signals to regions that are not currently connected.

"They are to some degree becoming an ISP (Internet service provider) because they have to," Blau said of Google's efforts to provide online connectivity through projects such as Loon and even Fiber high-speed broadband lines in the United States.

AFP


Also related to this story

Samsung, LG launch smartwatches with new Google software

Microsoft eyes the smartwatch market

Samsung looks to life beyond the smartphone

Google expands Android platform to wearables

Samsung launches Galaxy S5 smartphone

New Samsung phone marks break from Android

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Microsoft to comply with China amid probe
MICROSOFT has said it seeks to comply with Chinese law, after Beijing announced an anti-monopoly investigation of the US technology giant over its business practices...
Science of brain signals opens new era for advertising
Companies in the near future will be able to test public reaction to advertisements, music and films before they are released by monitoring the brain signals of a select group as they watch a trial....
Samsung delays Tizen smartphone sales launch
Samsung Electronics said Monday it would postpone the roll-out of its new smartphone based on Tizen, a home-grown operating system aimed at breaking away from Google''s Android system....
Chinese regulators visit Microsoft offices: Dow Jones
Officials from China''s corporate regulator paid visits Monday to software giant Microsoft''s offices in four cities in the country, Dow Jones Newswires reported, citing people familiar with the matter....
Samsung delays Tizen smartphone sales launch
Samsung Electronics has said it would postpone the roll-out of its new smartphone based on Tizen, a home-grown operating system aimed at breaking away from Google's Android system....
Wikipedia blocks
WIKIPEDIA has blocked editing rights from some computers at the US House of Representatives in response to "disruptive" revisions of the online encyclopedia...
Should private schools and institutions be given tax exemption?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter