The excellent Android One initiative from Google aims to put low-cost components in the hands of manufacturers in developing markets to enable consumers to get a reliable and cost-effective Android experience without breaking the bank or being stuck with antiquated hardware. The first Android One device has just been posted on India's Flipkart online store, and it costs the same as a Moto E.
The Android One project is all about availability. Availability of a Google-approved Android experience for everyone. It was for this reason that Google made such a big deal about the sub-100 USD price tag that would be attached to the devices.
Then, not long ago, it came out that the actual Android One price would be a bit higher, in the range of 115-165 USD. The first Android One device, the Spice Android One Dream UNO Mi-498, has been leaked ahead of today's official launch for 6,999 INR (about 115 USD) - arriving at exactly the same price point as the Moto E.
- Check out our Moto E review.
The Android One price is admittedly at the lower end of that 115-165 USD scale, but if we look at the specs compared to the Moto E, a game changing device in its own right, then things get interesting. In many respects, the two devices are evenly pitched: same amount of RAM (1 GB), internal storage (4 GB), Android 4.4.4 KitKat, dual-SIM, microSD expansion and main camera resolution (5 MP). However, the Spice device has a faster clocked processor (1.3 GHz MediaTek vs 1.2 GHz Snapdragon 200), a 2 MP front-facing camera (not to mention an LED flash on the back) and a slightly larger display (4.5 inches vs 4.3 inches).
The Moto E does have a larger battery (1,980 mAh vs 1,700 mAh) than the Spice Android One Dream, but the main thing the Moto E has going for it is the Motorola brand backing it up. While we applaud Google's efforts with the Android One initiative, the question is: can Android One devices compete with Motorola if they cost the same? How will subsequent Android One devices compare on the specs and price front?
Even as more Android One devices appear later today, with marginally better or worse specs than the Moto E, the big advantage Android One had of a sub-100 USD price tag has been lost. Even if Android One doesn't take the market by storm in terms of price, the simple fact that there are about to be a number of new devices in the same league and price range as the Moto E is a great thing for consumers. It almost doesn't matter which one you choose because either way you'll be getting stock Android with good specs at a low price, and that sounds fantastic to me.
Which device would you buy? Do you think Android One devices will cost too much?