Wednesday, 5 August 2015

​Google takes Android One to Thailand with $120 4G smartphone

Android One, Google's version of Android for emerging markets, has arrived in Thailand with the iQ II from local vendor I-mobile.

Launched last year, the Android One initiative was intended to give Android a new edge in developing economies and give Google more control over how the operating system is used in such areas. Android One phones have already been released in the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. While the devices may be facing stiff competition, Google has announced it's pressing ahead with its Asian expansion, rolling out the scheme in Thailand.

Consumers in Thailand will be able to buy the next Android One handset, the five-inch display iQ II, for THB 4,444 ($ 120). The iQ II is 4G, dual-SIM smartphone with 1GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, running on a Snapdragon 410 processor. The device also comes with an HD display (1280 x 720 pixels), an eight-megapixel main camera, a two-megapixel selfie snapper, and a 2500 mAh battery.

In line with Google's aim of making sure Android One devices are among the first to get the latest version of Android for two years, the iQ II will ship with Android Lollipop 5.1.1 and will get updates soon after Google releases them.

Android One's arrival in Thailand comes on the heels of Xiaomi's July launch in the kingdom of its Mi 4, which is being distributed by SoftBank subsidiary Brightstar and sold through several local mobile networks. With better specs than the iQ II, the Mi 4 costs THB 10,990 ($ 312), and joins a number of handsets from other up-and-coming Chinese vendors making a play for South East Asia, including Vivo.

While media in India - the first country to get Android One phones after their release last September - have been doubtful about the future of Android One due to the cheaper and often better smartphones already on the market, local smartphone maker Lava this week launched a new Android One smartphone, the Lava Pixel V1 for INR 11,349 ($ 178).

Like its predecessors, dual-SIM Lava Pixel V1 lacks an LTE radio but is a little more powerful than the first generation of Android One devices in India, offering a 5.5-inch HD IPS display, a eight-megapixel rear camera and a five- megapixel camera on the front (the the company promises software enhancements that will deliver images at 13 megapixels and eight-megapixels respectively). It also features a 1.3GHz quadcore processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage and a 2650 mAh battery.

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