For all the iPhone 6 hoopla right now, there’s another mobile launch event in the next few weeks that could shake the industry up even more.
Google’s Android One platform is expected to launch on September 15th in India, with the company sending out press invites and setting tongues wagging about just what it will reveal.
In a nutshell, Android One is Google’s way of wrestling some control over the unruly world of budget devices which use its OS.
The plan is simple: It will design a series of budget phones for mobile manufacturers in India, who will then mass produce them.
In return for Google’s design nous, the mobile-makers will use a stock version of Google Android, with automatic updates of Google software, including its suite of Play apps.
Essentially, it’s a way of ensuring that cheaper Android phones come with what Google views as proper versions of its OS.
That means devices devoid of bloatware and replete with its services, which means it can make money from the ads served up to users through apps, or through sales of add–ons, music, books and videos.
In India, Google has already signed up manufacturers Karbonn, Spice and Micromax, with more being lined up.
The potential is huge and could give Android a massive advantage in developing territories.
The key is going to be ensuring it can get Android One phones made by companies across China and Latin America, perhaps even convincing the likes of HTC, Samsung and LG there is value in ditching their custom skins for something more usable and easier to update.
There are other advantages too. In rolling out automatic software updates, Google should be able to grasp the thorny issue of fragmentation.
Newer versions of Android mean fewer bugs, more stable apps and an all–round better experience for end users.
It hasn’t been able to do this until now and the issue isn’t going away.
It seems like Android One is just the start. Rumours are still flying of a similar project called Android Silver, for higher-end phones.
That would see Google set minimum standards which manufacturers would need to stick to in order to achieve Android Silver status.
Many, such as Samsung and HTC, may baulk at the idea, but at least it will help Android become more unified.
Sure, iPhone 6 stories will be everywhere in the next few weeks.
Doubtless, millions of phones will be sold.
But for the best part of a billion budget smartphone owners, Android One may well be a bigger deal.
We’ll hear more in two weeks, as we bunker down and wait for the next front in the smartphone wars to open.