Google launches three $100-ish Android One phones in India, more countries to follow

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Google today made good on its promise to bring high-quality affordable Android phones to developing markets with the launch of three locally-made Android One models in India, each selling for the equivalent of around $100. Each handset is made by a different Indian manufacturer, Spice with the Android One Dream UNO Mi-498, Micromax with the Canvas A1 and Karbonn the Sparkle V.

The hardware requirements for Android One devices were set by Google to deliver a good experience with the latest stock versions of Android. All three handsets are supplied with the latest KitKat 4.4.4, and Google is promising that they will receive two years of updates, starting with the Android L update …  Read more

Xiaomi claims to have sold 40,000 budget smartphones in India in 4.2 seconds

Chinese Android manufacturer Xiaomi may be trying to compete at the high end of Android devices with it’s iPhone-inspired Mi 3 handset and unsubtley-named Mi Pad, but it isn’t neglecting the low-end of the market. Its Redmi 1S just launched in India and, according to a tweet by former Google exec and now Xiaomi Global VP, sold 40,000 units in 4.2 seconds …  Read more

Google announces September 15 event in India for likely launch of Android One

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Google today has started sending out invites to the media for a September 15 event in India. The invite teases that the event is for “an exciting new product announcement” and promises more details closer to the date of the event. Obviously, with it being held in India, the first thing that jumps to mind is that we will hear more details regarding Android One.

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Google reportedly set to launch first Android One devices in India next week

Android One

At Google I/O in June, Google announced a new line of Android One smartphones that it said would be affordable and marketed at emerging markets, such as India. The Economic Times is now reporting that Google is planning to launch its first smartphones of the Android One program as early as next week in India. The report also claims, however, that the devices will be more expensive than the initial $100 price point Google announced at I/O.

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Google adds more of India’s historical locations to Street View

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Google announced today the availability of 76 historical sites in India that can be viewed from Google Maps or through the Google Cultural Institute site. These 360-degree photos will let you take a tour of the Kangra Fort without having to pack a single bag. Thanks to support from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), along with previous efforts, Google’s imagery of historic shots of India has surpassed 100 pictures, with locations like the Taj Mahal and Humayun’s Tomb already available to view.

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Google to aggressively market Android One smartphones in India, a largely untapped user base

Android One

Google placed a lot of emphasis on Material Design and other new Android L features at Google I/O last month, but its Android One reference platform was actually one of the most important announcements made during the three-hour keynote. Android One will consist of Google supplying reference hardware to handset makers, who can use the guidelines to manufacture smartphones that will retail for $100 or less.  Read more

Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi more than doubles sales as it begins international expansion

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Samsung, HTC and Motorola are likely to be looking a little nervously over their shoulders as Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi more than doubled its year-on-year sales. The company announced (via TNW) that it sold 26.1M phones in the first half of this year, more than it sold in the whole of 2013.

These are impressive sales for a company which sold its first smartphone just three years ago, and whose sales were initially limited to China. Its growth has been fuelled by expansion into Singapore, Malaysia, India and the Philipines, with the company now eyeing up Latin America as its next market …  Read more

Google announces Android One program to create high quality, affordable smartphones in developing markets

 

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Today at Google I/O, Sundar Pichai announced a new program called Android One. The program will launch in India in the fall with partners including Karbon, Spice, and Micromax. The Android One Software Experience includes stock Android like what is found on Google’s Nexus devices with Play apps auto-installed with automatic updates. The program is intended to create high quality, affordable smartphones for developing markets using easily available parts to keep cost down. As an example, Pichai showed off a sub-$100 smartphone featuring a 4.5-inch display with dual SIM, SD card slot, and FM radio. After launching in India, Google will expand the Android One program. Read more

How Google Maps cleverly avoids getting entangled in border disputes

gizmodo

Gif courtesy of Gizmodo

You can’t please all of the people all of the time – but when it comes to disputed borders, Google Maps gives it a very good try.

According to this wikipedia page, there are more than 200 disputed borders in the world – territories that are claimed by more than one country. Even the USA and Canada argue about who owns two islands, three straits and one sea. That’s more than 200 opportunities for Google Maps to cause offence …  Read more

As predicted, HP launches its Slate 6 and Slate 7 VoiceTab Android 4.2 Phablets

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Last week, we went on the record saying that HP was set to unveil their new smartphones within a week and here we are just 5 days later with an announcement.  The quad-core Slate 6 and Slate 7 VoiceTab are (as predicted) 720P displayed “mega” phablets that will play in the same market as Samsung’s Galaxy Mega line. The initial launch country will be India but more are on the way.  While no price was given, we’d imagine that since the other details were true, the $200 price point for the Slate 6 VoiceTab and $250 for the 7-inch seem like a pretty good starting point.

The phones will come with 16GB of on board storage and have a Micro-SD card for 32GB more storage. As you can see in the image above, they both have stereo speakers a la the HTC One (no word yet on Beats Branding which HP still uses and HTC once used).

It appears that HP has really done its homework here and has identified a market where it can make things happen. HP obviously has a huge brand and PC presence in India and at the same time, the market is easy to enter because the carriers aren’t gatekeepers like they are in the US.

As for the phones themselves, they actually have some styling which is a notable step up from HP’s US slate lineup. While I’ll go on the record saying that I’m not a fan of the Black on Gold appearance from the press release and Android skin they are showing off, I’m not privy to style considerations from India.

Also ringing an alarm bell is the Android 4.2 launch OS. Combined with that pretty heavy looking skin/overlay, Indian consumers are already starting 2 OSes back…and counting.

In all, though Google has to be pretty satisfied with the launch. HP is traditionally a Windows shop but since Meg Whitman’s return has gone ChomeOS and Android first with the Slate line of tablets and now their Smartphones.

Another image if the Slate 6 Voicetab and Press release below: Read more

Samsung predicts record profits as HTC reports first ever loss

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Samsung is predicting a record $9.4B profit for Q3 in its latest earnings guidance, on estimated revenues of $53.9B. While both figures are estimates rather than confirmed results, Samsung’s earnings guidance is usually pretty much spot-on. If confirmed, this will build on the company’s record numbers in Q2.

HTC, in contrast, reported its first ever loss, as it warned back in July. Its revenue of $1.6B was lower than even its lower-end forecast, and it lost $101M – the company’s first ever loss in its 16-year history.

Bloomberg attributes the wildly differing performances to sales of mid-market handsets in growth markets like India and China.

While HTC has focused a revival on its flagship One handset and $12 million marketing deal with actor Robert Downey Jr., Samsung has expanded its range of mid-priced smartphones such as the Galaxy Golden and S4 Mini to capture sales in China and India …  Read more

Google introduces crisis map to aid in flood relief in India

crisis map

Google is once again leveraging its technology in the interest of aiding in humanitarian efforts. Yesterday the Mountain View company made a Person Finder available to provide a bridge for those affected by the floods in India, and today Google added a crisis map illustrating which areas were hit the hardest and noting points where attention is most needed.

This crisis map is only an early version aimed at providing quick information, such as, places affected, relief centers and road closures. As always, in times of such disaster, accurate information is hard to come by and our Crisis Response team has relied on scantily available information where available. For now, you’ll find the following information. We are hoping to add more as we go along.
  • Areas impacted by the floods
  • Relief centers and shelters
  • Medical Centers
  • Road closure information

Google encourages people to submit any information that could be helpful to uttarakhand-crisis@googlegroups.com to further support the mission to bring those affected by the floods in Uttarakhand back to stability. Read more