Android One smartphones start to arrive in the UK
Though it was never Google’s intention to launch Android One certified smartphones in the UK that is exactly what is happening now thanks to Amazon.co.uk and Indian handset manufacturer Karbonn. The smartphone maker launched four handsets in the UK on Wednesday including the Android One powered Karbonn Sparkle V.
As noted previously on Tech Assimilate, Google launched Android One devices in India in September. This was widely viewed in the west as ‘making available Nexus devices on the cheap’. But Google described it more loftily as an initiative to provide “high-quality smartphones accessible to as many people as possible”. It was aiming for the “next five billion” thanks to introducing cheap and upgradeable Google OS based smartphones. However its launch and target markets included markets included India, Indonesia and other developing countries.
However people in the UK like a bargain and are also fond of getting phones which receive the latest OS updates. So while Nexus phones are a little pricey the Motorola Moto G and E have been pretty popular with smartphone bargain hunters recently, thanks to the near-stock Android experiences and fast system OS updates. Karbonn could be aiming for a slice of that action and make more per unit than selling in India, for example.
Here are the specs of the Karbonn Sparkle V (Android One) SIM-Free Smartphone:
- Android 4.4 Kitkat
- Guaranteed upgrade to Android Lollipop 5.0 and all other new Android versions announced in the next 2 years
- Processor: 1.3GHz Quad Core
- Camera: 5.0MP
- Screen: 4.5″ Capacitive Touchscreen 218 PPI
- Memory: 4GB ROM, 1GB RAM. MicroSD up to 32GB
- Part of the Android One program
- Colours: Red, white or black
As a reminder the key points of Android One are as follows:
- Automatically receives the new version of Android operating system
- Includes the latest innovations and clever technology
- Your Android One device therefore gets better with time
While Karbonn has lead Android One into the west perhaps other smartphone makers will follow. At Google’s launch event we heard that the likes of Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, Xolo, and chipmaker Qualcomm were all interested in making or have prepared Android One devices – perhaps some of these will make it to Europe and the USA too. As a one-time sufferer of Samsung’s laggardly Android system updating I think it will be a good thing.