Google’s new Android One platform is coming.
An invite to a Google event in India has set tongues wagging across the web about the Big G’s plans for the software, which was first touted at its I/O event back in June.
Little has been said about what it is and what it can do.
So before it hits the headlines, read on and we’ll give you the inside line on Android One.
Think of it as a happy antidote to all those endless iPhone 6 rumours.
1 It’s launching on September 15th
Google has fired off invites to a special event being held in India on September 15th.
There’s no mention of Android One itself, but Google has already said that it wants the subcontinent to be the focus of its new software.
Therefore it seems pretty much nailed-on that we’ll be getting a proper glimpse of the platform after Sundar Pichai offered up a few clues at I/O earlier this summer.
2 Budget phones only
Android One is aimed squarely at budget phones.
It will offer stock Android, as found on Nexus and Google Play Edition devices, with Indian mobile-makers Karbonn, Spice and Micromax already said to have signed up to use it.
Others are also believed to have joined the programme, as Google looks to wrest back control of the budget smartphone sector from manufacturing partners.
In news that might surprise western smartphone industry-watchers, many of the cheap Android available outside core markets offer tweaked versions that don’t come with Google services as standard.
Under the terms of the Android One scheme, though, Google will design the phones, which manufacturers will the produce, ensuring it has total control.
Prices are expected to start to 7000 Rupees (£79).
3 Automatic updates
One of the big features of Android One will be the inclusion of Google Play apps, such as Maps, Books and Movies and TV.
These will all receive the same automatic updates as Google Play Edition and Nexus phones, with the platform itself being updated whenever Google rolls out a new version of its software.
Current budget phones struggle in this regard, leaving some users stranded with outdated apps.
4 An end to bloatware and fragmentation
The key reason for releasing Android One is simple: killing off bloatware and fragmentation.
Google is acutely aware that budget phones using its software come laden with additional apps which many users don’t want, added so that manufacturers can keep costs down.
By partnering with them and sharing resources, Google hopes to end this cycle.
With automatic software updates too, fragmentation should be reeled in, with budget users getting the latest software on release.
Essentially, this is Google’s latest play to prove stock Android is a better bet than skinned or tweaked versions, which are harder to keep up to date.
5 India first, others later?
India will be first to get Android One. But Google did say in June that if it proved a success it would be rolled out.
Where to? Well, China seems like the most obvious place, as does Brazil.
But with budget phones right here in the UK coming with a hugely confusing array of Android variations, surely it would make sense for it launch in more mature markets as well.