Presented just over a year ago at the Google I/O conference, and launched in India in the fall of 2014, Android One is an affordable standard created by Google for Android systems with emerging markets in mind. After Asia (Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines and Sri Lanka), Android One phones will roll out across Europe via Turkey and General Mobile.
Android One smartphones are different in that they run a simplified version of the stock Android operating system, with minimum hardware requirements and without the often extensive vendor-specific modifications that many smartphone vendors apply. The General Mobile 4G planned for Turkey would be a smartphone operating Android Lollipop, equipped with a 5 inch HD screen, a 13 MP camera and 2GB of RAM, specs which justify a higher price (€260) than the phones destined for the Asian markets (around €100).
With this campaign to develop low-cost smartphones for first time buyers in developing countries, Google is following in the footsteps of Mozilla and its Firefox OS smartphones that are also targeting the same markets.
Firefox OS includes call handling, messaging, email and camera capabilities as standard. Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook are also integrated into the system. Another feature is that applications can be perused without necessarily having to download them first. Everything on offer (utilities, videos, navigation, games...) can be found in the Firefox Marketplace. Firefox OS also intends to be an operating system present on all different types of screens, from smartphones to televisions, in-car systems to connected watches.
Computer software company Canonical also offers a low-cost alternative called Ubuntu Touch, a mobile version Linux, already available in certain European countries.