India is one of Google and Android's biggest markets both in terms of device sales and Play Store reach, but the country's purchasing power is quite different from the US or Europe's, especially if you simply convert a dollar to rupees (that's approx. Rs. 64).
Previously, the minimum price for apps and in-app purchases on the Play Store in India was Rs. 50 ($0.78), which was quite in-line with the $0.99 minimum in the USA, but still rather expensive for Indian customers. Now it has been dropped to a more affordable Rs. 10 (approx $0.156), the same as Apple's recent price drop for purchases on the Indian App Store.
India is where the Android One initiative got off the ground, and now Google has announced another handset available in the country. The phone is called the Lava Pixel V1.
Yeah, you can't tell much from the video, adorable as it is. Here's the lowdown. The Pixel V1 is a high-end device by Android One standards. It sports a 5.5-inch 720p display and comes with 2GB of RAM. As for the brains, you're looking at a 1.3 GHz Quad Core processor with an ARM Mali 400 MP2 GPU.
The phone offers a comfortable 32GB of built-in storage space and supplements that with a microSD card slot, just in case.
After launching its first phone in India at the end of last year, Micromax subsidiary Yu is now ready to follow up with the ever-so-slightly upgraded and pricier Yu Yureka Plus. Like last time, this handset ships running the latest version of Cyanogen OS.
What's new? Not much. The phone still comes with a Snapgragon 615 processor and 2GB of RAM. The excitement comes from the higher-resolution 1080p display, up from the previous model's 720p. With the screen still 5.5 inches in size, it amounts to a noticeably high pixel density. Though that may be less of a thrill when you consider that the battery capacity remains the same at 2500mAh.
The Moto Maker customization tool, first introduced with the original Moto X and later expanded to the second-gen model and (technically) the Moto 360, has been one of the company's more unique offerings. It's been slowly expanding since its launch in 2013, from the US to the UK, Germany, France, and China. Next up on the schedule is probably India, presumably starting with the second generation Moto X.
Motorola's Indian Twitter account has been hinting at the Moto Maker launch with all the subtlety of a thrown brick.
We heard at Google I/O about Google's plans to help improve the experience of users on slow connections, especially in parts of the world where even 3G speeds are few and far between. They gave us a peek at how the search interface would change under those circumstances to improve those load times. Now, in select markets, the pages you click on will also be optimized to load much faster.
Google's estimates have you loading the page 4x as fast compared to the unaltered version when on a slow connection, with 80% less data. They claim, appealing to webmasters, that this results in 50% more pageviews due to the better experience and lower wait.
Motorola posted the Android 5.1 changelog for the second gen Moto E earlier this month (along with the 1st and 2nd gen Moto X). A week later, we saw over-the-air updates go out. What about the older Moto E released a year before? As it turns out, Motorola isn't leaving the phone behind. The company is currently soak testing Android 5.1 on the device in India.
Xiaomi might have global ambitions, but its latest phone is still sticking close to home. The Xiaomi Mi 4i was just announced for the Indian market, and it looks like a great mid-range phone that's priced around $200. It will be out on April 30th.
Google's animated commercials filled with dozens of avatars from the Androidify app are always fun to watch. The latest ad specifically targets the booming smartphone market in India, by showing off the Android One series of low-cost devices and highlighting their recent upgrade to Lollipop 5.1. (Breathe it in, One owners: you get 5.1 before the Nexus 9.) The new ad was posted to Google India's YouTube page this morning.
The commercial is pretty basic, following the formula from previous entries in the series: start off slow, rude interruption, rock out. A few minutes of incompetent transliteration on Google tells me that the song is a more poppy version of "Koi Yahan Aha Nache Nache" from the 1982 Bollywood movie Disco Dancer.
Good news, Android One users in India! Whether you bought a Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1, or Spice Dream UNO, you have probably felt a little bit abandoned when Lollipop was released and your device was left running Android 4.4.4, while new phones launching in Indonesia and the Philippines have been donned not only with Lollipop, but with Android 5.1!
Following the earlier promise from Google India that Lollipop is only a few weeks away, Caesar Sengupta, Product Management Director at Google, has announced that One phones in India should have already started getting the Lollipop treat. It's a gradual rollout on a weekly basis, so only some selected random devices will get the OTA update notification.