Many Indians would vividly remember the roadshows by Google CEO Sundar Pitchai in India, in 2014, when the company launched its ambitious Android One phone. The idea was to push the Android experience to even the entry level phone users and to keep the costs to as low as possible.
For whatever reasons, the phone did not take off to the extent Google had planned. Subsequently, Googleâ€™s efforts at roping in the top brands in phone manufacturing did not show too much interest in joining hands with it to make handsets for the Android One project.
The latest information, however, is that the Chinese major Xiaomi has agreed to make phones for Google and the device could be sold in some of the largest markets for entry level phones, like Indonesia. Once launched, it will arrive in other markets, like India as well.
One of the significant factors in this new understanding between Google and Xiaomi is that the Android phone to be made by Xiaomi will run on stock Android and not have any other user interface, like Xiaomiâ€™s MIUI riding over it.
This has been a subject of debate among many analysts and experts on the pros and cons of having a UI skin over the Android OS. Google feels cramped a little bit since the updates it releases from time to time do not reach the users of the Android phones since the phone companies take their own time to release them.
With this Android One or Xiaomi A1 phone, Google will assume the responsibility to directly release the updates to the phone users. Another issue is that many times, the phones having a separate proprietary user interface do not receive all the features of the Android OS.
Though not much information is available about the specs the Android One phone will come with, it is reported that the CPU might be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC. There is also speculations that the phone might more or less resemble the Xiaomi Mi 5X and will be built around this model of Xiaomi.
It will also boil down to the pricing of the device as and when the project takes off and the phones are released for sale.
As per current indications Google might want to keep the price around the $250 mark, which is around Rs. 15, 000 in Indian currency. Even that would appear to be on the higher side for the Indian market.
One will have to wait to know more of this arrangement between Xiaomi and Google and the Android One phone.