At the Google I/O 2014 keynote, Google SVP Sundar Pichai announced that Android is now being used by more than a billion people every day. But in order to gain customers in the emerging market, Google has a new initiative: Android One. This program will be centered around affordable hardware with essential features, but it will also have an exciting software component.


In short, Android One is Nexus for emerging markets. The reference designs allow for incredibly cheap hardware with software that's semi-standardized. And that's important, because the updates will be coming straight from Google, in the same way that the company currently delivers new versions of Android for Nexus and Google Play Edition devices. These phones will be running "real" stock Android, with no notable software differences aside from the limitations of budget hardware.

Screenshot (20)

Google plans on launching the One program in India with three manufacturers (Spice, Miromax, and Karbonn) this fall, with at least one phone model shown off in the video. The example device uses dual SIM cards, an SD card slot, a 4.5" screen, and an FM radio, with a retail, un-subsidized price of under $100. Presumably the Android One program will expand to other territories later.

Screenshot (21)

Check out our Google I/O 2014 liveblog for the latest information.

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • Guest

    RIP Nokia X

    • d1985


    • Arun Golla

      they never stood a chance.

    • AbbyZFresh

      They're doing just fine in Asia.

      • Kevin

        Nokia X?

      • Asian

        Yeah, before smashed by zenfone

  • Pushkar Kurhekar

    So awesome!

  • munchy_cool

    those (micromax, Spice and Karbonn) are not carriers, they are phone manufacturers ..

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider


      • Danish Prakash


  • Saumik Chaudhuri

    Its Micromax, not cromax :)

  • nagateja

    Its micromax people. Not cromax

    • ashish

      Yes he is at i/o so typed or spoken these words so mistakes are bound to happen. There will be a overview article afterwards

  • Bruno

    Wait Wait Wait, SD Card? Is that phone really from Google?

    • RarestName


    • ProductFRED

      For areas where cloud storage isn't affordable or available. I prefer my 64GB microsd card though.

    • esper256

      Google's "war on SD cards" is a total fabrication by tech media.

      • Heimrik

        Thats hard to believe.... Its not a " media fabrication" that Nexus devices dont have MicroSD cards and then recently Google announces that they are restricting writing permissions to the microSD in new versions of Android....

        • esper256

          And yet here's a phone reference platform from Google with SD cards!

          Not having SD cards in Nexus devices isn't a "war on SD cards". Again that's media hyperbole.

          Sandboxing SD card access isn't a "war on SD cards". It's a war on uninstalling apps not being able to clean up all the gunk left over by the app. It's trying to bring privacy/security and reliability to SD card interactions. People's use cases that are no longer possible are unfortunate collateral damage not some sort of "campaign against SD cards".

          • Heimrik

            THIS platform is for emerging markets. MEANING poor people of the lower classes. In others words, people who cant afford to pay the costs of cloud storage. So, they offer them products with external storage functionality. I dont care what Google says is their "official" reason for restricting SDcards. I dont believe everything the government tells me either, and for good reason. And the reasoning behind this SDcard issue is, if its all about optimizing security, WHY are other big manufacturers like Samsung and HTC among others, STILL offering it? Is it because they dont care about security? No, its because the security excuse is bullcrap and OEMs know devices with external storage sell very well. And im sorry, Im not a technological engineer, but im sure there are better ways to optimize security other than just scrapping external storage technology altogether.

    • Davis Hernandez

      apparently not, as it doesn't include a wifi module...

  • ash71ish

    It's not cromax It's micromax.

  • SunderT

    this shows Google is giving India the needed attention. I am sure they will get many more android activations.

    • Keifer Hofacker

      I'm glad they are finally doing the needful.

    • David

      This is huge. They are going for the cheap Windows Mobile phones like the 520, which (IMO) offer a more compelling experience than the ultra cheap Android options available with slow and confusing UI layers on top of Android.

      Considering people may evolve and buy other higher end phones in its own ecosystem, this could overflow to the higher end as well. They are cutting them out before they gain inertial traction.

  • Aadithya

    The "carriers" mentioned above are not actually carriers, they are hardware companies like Samsung, HTC etc. And it's not Cromax, its micromax. Mi is in the logo

  • http://flavors.me/sabret00the sabret00the

    Android One = CyanogenMod directly from Google.

  • http://mwinter.in/ Yan Gabriel MinĂ¡rio

    I'm surprised this budget phone won't be launching in Brazil day one.

    • Fabiano G. Souza (Nerdmor.com)

      Truly amazing indeed.

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    Wow, I actually wish my Nexus 5 had FM radio. Nice touch.

    • Mike Reid

      Nexus 5 is for "rich" countries.

      Android One is for emerging markets.

      Otherwise, Google generally hates FM radio. It competes with their music and advertising services, and US carriers want us using data plans for streaming.

      • aritra

        Nexus devices aren't for rich countries only. . Its available in india too..And it's way too cheaper than the other flagship phones that are avaliable here..But still ppl are also buying those flagship phones..by the way.. your rich people from rich countries by phones on contracts. . At a subsidised price. . While poor ppl in india. . Buy flagship phones by paying $800+ up front. .LOL

        P.s. sundar pichai is also an indian

  • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

    Still no mentioning of Android Silver ... would the rumored Android Silver actually be Android One, and it isn't meant to be a Nexus replacement after all?

    • Doakie

      I thought the same at the end of I/O. I think Android One is the Silver program.

  • http://www.buttie.pl/ d4niel_p

    "...the updates will be coming straight from Google". Yep, low-budget devices on emerging markets will be running more up-to-date os than carrier-crippled flagships for hundreds of dollars. That's kind of great.

  • DaveNull

    Wasn't there rumors of 100$ 'Nexus' with MediaTek hardware at some point?

  • Daniel Collins


  • Tarun Pemmaraju

    Haha, you've changed "Cromax" but now it's "Miromax". Calm down a bit Michael, I think you're being overloaded.

  • Gagan Deep Singh

    Ummm micromax ? I'll pass even with the fast software updates.

  • Yogesh Laxman Raut

    Its Micromax, Not Miromax!

  • http://si97.com/ Saif

    What's Play auto-installs? Is Sundar Pichai going to change Android's update method to more Chrome-like?