Google’s first Android One phones are here, priced at just $105

Image: Google

Image: Google

Google today announced the first crop of Android One smartphones at an event in India. With prices starting at just $105, the devices are designed to give those in emerging markets a stock Android experience and all the benefits that brings on a “high quality” device with a super affordable price tag.

The first three devices will all come from Indian smartphone manufacturers, namely Micromax — India’s best-selling cellphone maker, Karbonn Mobiles, and Spice. They have 4.5-inch displays, 1GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and a quad-core processor made by MediaTek.

Users also get a microSD card slot, a removable battery, a build-in FM radio, and two SIM card slots. What makes Android One smartphones different from other budget handsets aren’t the specifications, however — it’s the software that’s supported directly by Google.

All Android One devices run pure Android — free from third-party tweaks, design changes, and bloatware — so users get a smooth experience even on entry-level specifications. In addition, all software updates are issued by Google, so they will be made available soon after the search giant’s Nexus devices get them.

All Android One devices will get an Android L upgrade this fall, and Google has struck a deal with Airtel, one of India’s most popular carriers, to provide Android One users with some nice perks — including the ability to download up to 200MB of apps from Google Play every month, and all Android updates for the first six months, without incurring additional data charges.

Google has also made some tweaks to its software for Android One devices in India. The company has added railway bookings and cricket scores to Google Now, introduced an offline mode to its YouTube app to allow users to download videos and watch them later, and added 13 local publications to Play Newsstand.

The Android One program will continue to grow, with additional devices expected from Acer, Alcatel, Asus, HTC, Lenovo, and Panasonic.