Android One was originally an initiative to bring low-cost Android phones to developing countries. However, Google has shifted directions, making Android One a more user-focused program to bring more stock Android phones to market.
What Android One Was: A History Lesson
Android One was created as an initiative to release functional, practical, and usable smartphones for emerging markets. It was designed as a marriage of hardware and software—lower end hardware to keep costs down, combined with software maintained and updated by Google.
Google laid out the general hardware requirements that manufacturers were to use in Android One phones, so most of the initial phones featured the same basic hardware: a MediaTek 1.3GHz quad-core SoC, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB-8GB of storage. Most of the first generation One phones also featured a meager 480×854 display resolution.
Outside of the hardware requirement, manufacturers were also to adhere to specific software rules: the phones had to run unmodified stock Android and receive regular security updates. But since the updates were controlled by Google, the latter requirement wasn’t really an issue for the manufacturer.
So the general idea for Android One at inception was this: low cost phones for emerging markets that ran stock Android and had a focus on security.
But then the idea evolved.
What Android One is Now
Today, Android One isn’t just for emerging markets, and it’s not limited to low-end hardware. The core software philosophy is still there: stock Android and security updates are still very much a part of Android One handsets. And, much like Pixel phones, every Android One phone is guaranteed to receive at least two years of OS updates directly from Google.
The main difference now is that manufacturers aren’t limited to…
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