In less than two years, you should be able to buy a fully-loaded Internet-enabled smartphone complete with a browser and applications like games and music player for under Rs 4,000. This, thanks to Google.
<b1>The search engine giant launched on Monday a much-awaited initiative called the Open Handset Alliance, roping in semiconductor firms, handset makers, telephone service providers, software developers and business partners to help a new market regime in which services, handsets and software will be available in flexible combinations and cost-effective rates. Its partners include Intel, Samsung and Motorola.
Andy Rubin, director of mobile platforms at Google, told reporters on a conference call that smartphones with features such as an Internet browser, which now cost around $500 (Rs 20,000) could be expected to cost as low as $100. With chips getting cheaper thanks to technological change, costs will dip lower, he said.
Google has already developed a mobile platform, intermediate software called middleware and end-user applications like an Internet browser, calendar and e-mail software under the project and is offering them all for free.