Good news for Microsoft? Well, more competition never hurt anybody. Majorly, at least. At the Google I/O conference last month, the company announced its new Android One initiative.
Which is, essentially a way to bring high quality, yet low cost, handsets in emerging markets.
And this is special because Google seems to be taking a much more hands on approach this time around, in many ways similar to how Microsoft conducts business in this side of the market. So instead of flooding the market with super cheap handsets, Google is joining up with hardware partners.
The company will supply reference designs and guide these companies through the development of these budget handsets. Now we have some more details on how this will go.
It is being said that the first of these smartphones will launch in India in October, and will go on sale at prices of around $100. Outright, of course.
Five companies have partnered up with Google for this, including Spice, Intex, Celkon, Karbonn and Micromax — the former two of which have also joined Microsoft’s Windows Phone party.
And although smartphones in the Android One lineup offer the stock Android experience, manufacturers also have the option to preload their own software.
On the hardware side of things, buyers will get a capacious 4.5-inch display, dual SIM and microSD card support along with FM radio. Essentially, a lot of the stuff that Microsoft offers (and is planning to offer) with its budget Windows Phone lineup, at least when it comes to hardware specifications and prices.
Although you can buy Android handsets for around $50 these days, this is Google taking the fight to Microsoft in the increasingly competitive budget side of the market.
Expect some tough competition in this field, going forward.