Published in Mobiles

Google taps Mediatek for Android One

by on27 June 2014

Low cost platforms for emerging markets

Google has selected Mediatek as its strategic partner for the development of its upcoming Android One platform.

Android One is essentially a reference platform. It is intended to provide hardware makers with access to relatively cheap ‘turnkey’ platforms for use in low-cost smartphones. Google will do most of the hard work and all vendors will have to do is build the phones based on the new, Google approved platform.

This is what sets Android One apart from Android 4.4.x or Android L – Android One is a comprehensive solution, a complete platform rather than a hardware agnostic operating system.

Android One smartphones will be very cheap

Android One phones should cost less than $100 to produce, which means they will retail for less than $200, with no subsidies or two-year carrier deals.

Android One is not supposed to replace entry level Android phones like the Moto G or Moto E, but they will learn from Motorola’s successful no frills handsets. The new platform is going after Nokia’s non-WP lineup, as well as feature phones.

In addition Android One could be big news for white box outfits. In the past these companies struggled to deliver affordable Android phones with a consistent and smooth user experience. With Android One this should be much easier – and software updates should be forthcoming.

Mediatek got the job

Mediatek sounds like the logical choice for Google’s new hardware partner. Google will provide the software and hardware guidelines, while Mediatek will provide the silicon and actual hardware.

The first Android One phone is coming from Indian smartphone vendor Micromax, with a 4.5-inch display and an MT6575 processor.

In essence Mediatek will be to the Android One world what Qualcomm is to the Windows Phone world. By limiting the number of different SoCs and other components that can be used on the Android One platform, Google and Mediatek will be able to keep costs down, while at the same time giving Google only a few hardware platforms to deal with in the software department. In other words the days of cheap Android phones that never got any OS updates could soon be behind us.

According to Digitimes, Google and Mediatek could also extend their cooperation to Android TV products as well as tablets.

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