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Google unveils first set of Android One handsets; Adds 9 new partners

Google has officially launched the first set of smartphones through its Android One initiative that was introduced in Google I/O 2014 earlier this year. These phones are built in partnership with Indian handset makers like Micromax, Karbonn & Spice* and chipmaker Mediatek. For the uninitiated, Android One is an initiative though which Google is looking to push low-cost Android smartphones to the market in a bid to reach out to the next billion users in emerging markets. Through this, Google will be creating a set of hardware reference platforms, identifying smartphone components and pre-qualifying vendors for those parts so that they can offer OEMs with turnkey solutions to build smartphones. In terms of software, all the phones will feature stock Android with regular software updates, just like Nexus and Google Play edition devices. Google mentions that these phones will automatic Android updates for up to 2 years. More on that here. At Android One unveiling, Sundar Pichai, Senior vice president, Android, Chrome & Apps at Google had claimed that this initiative will allow manufacturers to build sub-$100 smartphones, however the manufacturers seem to overshot this by a slight margin with the first set of devices starting at Rs 6,399 (around $105). We hope that the forthcoming devices will be priced in sub-$100 range, without much difference to the user experience.  Same devices, Different manufacturers   At launch, Google has launched three smartphones, one each from Micromax, Karbonn and Spice. What's worth noting here though is the specifications of all the three phones are identical. All of them have a 4.5-inch display powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, with…

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