Google’s Android Operating System has grown the most when compared to all the other mobile operating systems. Every phone maker alive today (except for Nokia, BlackBerry & Apple) uses Android (or its derivative) to power most of their portfolio. Google also builds models under the Nexus program which are designed, developed and marketed by them but are manufactured by an OEM on their behalf. But the software is completely in Google’s control; Nexus devices are the first ones to receive software updates from the company directly.
Developing countries have shown a higher adoption rate for Android, but it’s not without its problems. Consumers frequently demand manufacturers to update their existing phones to the latest version of the OS. But its a burden on the phone maker — the resources spent to update these older phones only fetches them goodwill, hoping the existing customers will remain loyal. And It’s not like phone makers can just take the update from Google, and push it on to their phones — many manufacturers apply custom UI and features on top of Android. So, when the time comes to update, they have to retune their modifications to work with the new version.
And more often than not, consumers don’t really appreciate these efforts. That’s because instead of adding useful functions, phones in the past have been shoved with unnecessary features and UI changes, just for the sake of differentiation. Customers in return crib about their phones slowing down because of this bloated software. Plus all these features are anyway easy to replicate with third party apps and launchers. Not to say every manufacturer does this — for example Motorola phones don’t touch the stock Android UI, adding thoughtful features that enhance the stock experience. But that’s not the case with everybody.
Google has been paying attention. The Android One program that it launched at the Google I/O has been targeted at developing countries with the help of local smartphones makers. The markets selected for the Android One program are India, Indonesia, Philippines and some South Asian countries. Google teamed up with 3 manufacturers at the launch of the program — Micromax, Karbonn and Spice.
Android One devices piloted in India as they went on sale on 15th September via E-tailers like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon.
ANDROID ONE USER EXPERIENCE
Android One offers the exact same user experience like a Nexus device. I own a Nexus 5 and I’ve been using the Micromax Canvas A1 for a couple of days. I was impressed with the performance of the device, there was no lag (obviously it’s a little slower than the Nexus) and maybe for the first time, a Rs. 6,000 phone didn’t feel utterly useless. It uses the same Google Now Launcher that debuted with the Nexus 5. The Android One handsets look like tiny Nexus devices that are made for the masses.