Why Android One is Not a Game Changer

spice_android_oneThere was a lot of hullabaloo over Android One the entire day in the Indian technology media on Monday. It also made its presence conspicuously felt in the online social circuit, and trended on Twitter for quite some time in the day. The firm that managed and executed the event for Google in India also tried to portray the function and the appearance of Sundar Pichai, VP at Google and the man behind the Android platform, as an event India should not miss. The presence of a good number of bouncers to protect the Android man from the common man also added to the stunt. But what was the outcome? Is the Android One worth the hype? Or is it ‘the’ device that can connect the next five billion people? We take a look.

What is Android One, at the first place? Early this year Google had announced the launch of a program – Android One – that aims at connecting next 5 billion people on earth and would put a low cost but well built smartphone on their hand. It partnered with various device manufacturers including Spice, Karbonn and Micromax from India for the same. Undoubtedly, its a noble ambition and an ambitious program.

Well, the phones based on Android One, were finally launched in India and the country was made the launchpad for the search engine giant’s ambitious and noble program. All the three Indian smartphone companies launched their product, all of them having entirely same specifications and at the same price – Rs 6399. Here, we saw something missing, that too big time.

How Android One is Different, if At All?


Its human to compare products in the same price range. At a price tag of Rs 6,399 or less than Rs 7,000, there are enough smartphones available in the market. Take some fresh examples in Redmi 1S and Moto E. The Redmi 1s is priced at Rs 5,999 while the Moto E is available for Rs6,999.

Display & Processor

Screen size wise the Android One comes in 4.5 inch where as the Redmi 1S is of 4.7 inch and the Moto E is of 4.3 inch. Not much difference. The display resolution of Android One is kept at 854×480 with 217 PPI, compare that to Moto E which has 960×540 with 256 PPI. The Redmi 1S has 1280×720 pixel with HD display. Both the Moto E and Redmi 1s score big over the Android One.

Processor wise too both the compared products win much over the Android One. The Redmi 1S has 1.6 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and the Moto E has 1.2 GHz Snapdragon processor with 200 chipset and Adreno graphics engine. With 1 GB RAM on all three devices, both the Xiaomi and Motorola smartphones give rise to better result that the Android One.

Camera & Storage

If we look at camera, both Moto E and Android One have 5 megapixel camera where as the Redmi 1S has 8 megapixel camera. Besides this technicality, the image output in the compared products appear to be more bright and crispy that the Android One. Unfortunately, on Android One smartphones one can not use the camera unless the smartphone is supported with an external storage card whereas that is not the case with either Moto E or  the Xiaomi one. Inbuilt storage capacity wise the Moto E and Android One have 4 GB space which can be expanded upto 32 GB with the use of SD card but one can not download or shift apps to SD card in Android One phones while this is a given for Moto E as well as Redmi 1S. In fact the Redmi 1S has a better storage capacity with 8GB.


In the battery department too, the Android One devices stand low compared to the other devices in review. The Spice Dream Uno Android One device that we tested has 1700 mAh battery where as the Moto E has 1980 mAh and the Redmi 1S has 2000 mAh battery. You can judge whats good for you.


The only advantage of Android One that we could see is in the use of OS. The Xiaomi Redmi 1S is using 4.3 Jelly Bean where as the Moto E and Android One are using Android 4.4 KitKat version of the OS. With Google itself at the back of Android One platform, the devices made on that platform are guaranteed to get the next version of the OS as and when its ready whereas the other two devices have to offer its customers the upgrade version OTA.

Overall, if I look, the built quality of the Android One would stand at the lowest in comparison to Moto E or Redmi 1S, though all of them have used plastics in their outer body.

Android One Promise

But, is lack of the latest OS, be it Android or whatever, is the roadblock to connect the next 5 billion people? Google’s Android One aims at giving an affordable smartphone in the hands of first time users. If that is the case, does it really matter which version of OS they are using? What matters is how affordable is the phone and can they rely on the phone brand and how long it will last? Or, what are the after sales support the customers would get. Throughout the event, we did not hear anything on that front from Pichai Sundararajan nor from Google’s partners like Spice, Karbonn or Micromax. Though Motorola was once dead in India, with Moto E and Moto G, its now behaving like a phoenix and people still prefer Motorola over Google’s current India partners. Google’s background is in software and applications, but unlike its expertise, it joined the herd and focused on bringing out another device into the crowded market. Rather it could have brought some game changing apps for the ‘hitherto’ unconnected, where it could have made a mark, where it could have transformed lives, where it could have been a game changer.




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