At the Google I/O Conference that has started a few minutes ago, Sundar Pichai, who oversees Android, Chrome and Google Apps, has announced a new initiative called “Android One“. This is one announcement we didn’t see coming, so it’s nice to see such surprises.

The Android One represents cheap Nexus-like smartphones designed for developing markets that uses stock Android. With the use of Google Play, OEMs and carriers can add their own apps, as well. Android One smartphones will not only get stock Android, but also automatic updates and Google Play auto-installs.

android one

Thus, with Android One, Google creates hardware reference models that OEMs can use and refer to when building their own devices. The purpose is to serve manufacturers with the needed know-how to create high-quality phones at low costs. This will also speed up the release of new smartphones especially in emerging markets.

The Android One program will kickstart this fall in India, one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Micromax is said to build one of the fist Android One smartphones which will have 4.5-inch display, dual-SIM support, an SD card slot, and an FM radio and will cost under $100.

However, Micromax won’t be the single Indian OEM that will be co-opted in the new program, as Google said that Karbonn Mobile and Spice Mobile will also be making Android One phones. India is just the first country to welcome this program, as it’s said to soon expand to other countries across the world, as well.

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