Android One is Google's initiative to get stock Android into the hands of more users, particularly (though not exclusively) the ones in developing markets. This usually means that devices which are part of the program are very inexpensive — with prices reaching as low as under $100 — and with specs that about match up to those price points. However, Android One devices have something that even most $500+ phones don't: fast and reliable OS updates straight from Google. (The Wall Street Journal reported back in November that this may eventually change, but we've yet so see any evidence of that, and the WSJ doesn't have a perfect track record either.)
General Mobile, a little-known Turkish manufacturer that already makes an Android One phone called the General Mobile 4G, has partnered with Google once more to announce the General Mobile GM Plus 5 — and it has some impressive specifications. To begin with, the GM Plus 5 has 3GB of RAM; as much as the Nexus 6P and more than the Nexus 5X. It also has a USB Type-C connector, which is a first for any Android One device. The chipset is arguably the only thing on the phone which feels decidedly mid-range, with the GM Plus 5 running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 processor. Even so, it's clear this new device is unlike most Android One phones we've seen so far.
A more complete list of the specifications of the GM Plus 5 is given below.
- 5.5 inch Full HD display
- 13 MP rear and front camera with flash on either side
- 3100 mAh battery
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 617
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB of onboard storage with up to 128GB microSD support
- USB Type-C port
- Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0
- 2.5D Gorilla Glass
- support for 4.5 G LTE
- metal frame
With that said, the GM Plus 5 is understandably not a $100 phone: General Mobile has said that it will be sold in Turkey for just under the equivalent of $300 (we incorrectly state in the video that it is around $250). While that may push it outside "cheap" territory, it's worth considering that prices in countries like the United States are generally lower than in many other parts of the world, and a mid-range phone like the Nexus 5X will likely cost more in Turkey than the $299 it costs in the US. The exchange rate for the Turkish lira hasn't helped either: the General Mobile 4G has actually gone up in price from 699 lira to 749 lira since it came out last year. For now at least, it looks like the GM Plus 5 will be exclusive to Turkey, and it will probably be a good buy for most Android fans there.
One interesting thing to note is that while the Samsung Galaxy S7 has both a microSD slot and the same 32GB of onboard storage as the GM Plus 5, the former does not have support for adoptable storage. That we know of, all Android One devices so far have had support for adoptable storage since Android 6.0, and so we would assume that that would be the case with the GM Plus 5 too. However, Samsung says that one of the main reasons they don't support adoptable storage on the S7 is that Google discourages manufacturers from doing so in most situations. In that case, if the GM Plus 5 does support adoptable storage, then it is either directly going against Google recommendations (which would be strange, considering that Android One program is almost entirely controlled by Google), or that there might actually be more to the story of adoptable storage than Samsung wishes us to believe.
Whatever the situation may be, we've reached out to General Mobile to confirm whether the GM Plus 5 supports adoptable storage and will update as soon as we have more information to share.
- General Mobile