Android One is Essential For Google, Here’s Why
Why Android One?
Android One is one of the many initiatives from Google to bring the goodness of Stock Android to budget phones. Stock Android is just basic software Google wants you to use on all Android phones for a smooth experience. But, many of the manufacturers abuse the open-source platform by bloatware. I’m not saying bloatware is bad, some companies like Motorola and Oneplus utilize it to add missing yet useful features. Sadly that’s not the case with many manufactures, who add too much for the phone to handle. A brand new Samsung Note or S-device can handle 20 default Samsung apps on top of Google apps, but that small budget phone you bought for your grandmother can’t.
This has been an issue for a long time for Android, since it is open-source. Open-source meaning, any phone manufacturer can add apps on top of stock Android before selling it to you. Google has tried various approaches to handle this issue. One such notable attempt from the past is the Google Play Edition series of devices. Google would pick some good phones running a modified version of Android (skins) and sell it with stock Android instead. The HTC One M7 was one of the greatest hits of this program. But, the program was discontinued shortly after.
Currently Google is planning a lot of methods to make budget Android smartphones better. Google-go edition phones and apps are being released. Google-go apps are based on the fact of re-creating essential apps from Google, which take up less space and memory. There are Google-go edition phones as compared to Android One devices, but more on that in another article at Androar.
Android’s Reputation Spoiled!
It’s no secret that everybody knows that the sure-shot only competitor of Android as a mobile operating system is iOS. However, here’s where things take a turn. iOS can be used on hardware that is being produced only by Apple. This is not the case for Google, as any company can use Android as their phone’s operating system. It is practically impossible for Google to regulate all of the phones running its operating system.
This is the reason why you can always see iPhones getting 3 to 4 years of iOS software updates, but most of our Android smartphones get only 2 sometimes even only one year of software support. Manufacturers who are responsible for the updates don’t care much since they’re off selling a new device already. Instead Android as a whole, has to take the blame for this. Recently, Google also introduced Project Treble which can solve this issue considerably, which we’ll cover in another Androar article.
Enter Android One
Apart from all these methods, one of the approaches I loved the most is Google is Android One. Android One was introduced by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google in 2014. The first Android One device that got released in India, was the Micromax Canvas A1. It had beginner specifications, with only one gig of RAM. The ~100$ price-tag justified the specifications, but what really mattered was the smoothness of such a low priced smartphone. It wasn’t a huge hit, because of the specifications and low marketing. Yet, it was able to put a mark in the community of Android Enthusiasts. It re-defined the category of budget smartphones, which used to be slow and buggy. Although it didn’t reach everyone, it was still bought by many people who read about it on the internet.
Current state of Android One
One of the most notable Android One device, at least in India is Mi A1. Xiaomi has a huge market in India, because of low costs and great hardware. Just combine that with the richness of stock Android, it’s an instant hit! In fact, I myself have been using the same device for about a year now. It was always my dream to have a budget smartphone with great hardware and good fast software updates. Finally, that dream has come true with the Mi A1. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s a perfect device – no device can be. But with Android One, I’m sure it’s going to be way better than before.
The power of Android One and Project Treble made a budget phone got a developer preview of the latest Android iteration. My budget phone can now run Android P’s developer preview, which would have been impossible even a year ago. Things got to a whole new level, when Nokia decided to power all their flagships with Android One. The Nokia 8 has been one of the biggest hits of Android One yet and the fans love it.