Yesterday, Google finally launched Android One in the country, partnering with local brands — Cherry Mobile and MyPhone — into launching two Smartphones to spearhead the initiative by the search engine giant. The big question is, what really is Android One, and will it be a big hit in the country?

Android One

Google first brought Android One to India mid last year, and to four other countries (namely Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia) before finally reaching the Philippine shores. For starters, Android One is Google’s initiative into bringing affordable Android powered smartphones to developing countries, without having to comprise much on specs and features.

The official announcement and unveiling for Android One in the Philippines took place yesterday, during an event held at Whitespace Manila, with Google announcing their partnership with two of the country’s leading local smartphone brands — Cherry Mobile and MyPhone.

The Google Android One devices for the Philippine Market

Android One

Left: Cherry Mobile One, Right: MyPhone Uno

The two devices — Cherry Mobile One and MyPhone Uno — both comes with the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box, 5 megapixel main cameras, microSD card support and a dual micro SIM, dual stand-by features. And since both are Android One devices, they are guaranteed to automatically receive updates for up to the next two years. Both phones will also come pre-loaded with Google apps (of course!) like Gmail, Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Translate.

Google’s own browser Chrome is also present, and is getting a slight special fix by giving it a data compression feature to save up mobile data consumption, while the YouTube app will come with an offline content playback.

In a press statement, Google’s VP for Product Management said that “We are very happy to bring Android One smartphones to the Philippines. Working with great partners like Cherry Mobile and MyPhone, we have designed and brought to market these high quality smartphones at highly affordable prices. We cannot wait to see what Filipinos do with them.”

Both phones are promised to sport a price within (or even a bit lower than) the Php 5k mark, and will be available nationwide.

A Sure Hit or Just Another Hype?

With Google bringing Android One in the country, it comes with a lot of promise. With the competition for affordable Android smartphones in the country stiffer than ever, you can actually get a couple of devices with the same level of specs as the Cherry Mobile One and the MyPhone Uno for under the Php 4k mark: Starmobile UP Mini and Cherry Mobile Flare S3 just to name two. But there’s a catch, none of these devices come with the latest Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box.

Knowing that these two devices are Android One devices, you are guaranteed to have a longer after sales software or firmware support to up to the next 2 years, just like the what Google did (and is doing) with the Nexus line. An example of that, I knew someone who owns a Samsung Nexus S, which was released December 2010 and came out with Android 2.3 Gingerbread out of the box. Yet she was able to update the firmware to Android 4.1.2 Jellybean released October 2012 — almost 2 years after. So that’s basically an edge when you have the device branded and owned by Google.

On another note, both Smart and Sun Cellular are also bringing the Cherry Mobile One free under Plan 500 and Plan 399 respectively, with Smart throwing in free data allocations for firmware updates and Google Play downloads for the first 6 months. Needless to say, there seems to be an exclusive deal with the 2 telcos, but hopefully we’d see unlocked versions in the local market for those who would opt to be with another mobile internet provider such as Globe Telecom. After all we still have to see a more accessible and yet reliable mobile internet for the masses.

At the end of the day, what matters most is the fact that Google chose to partner with two of the country’s top local mobile brands instead of favoring other international brands, giving us Filipinos more reason to support our own.

Cherry Mobile One official specs:

  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 1.3 GHz quad core MediaTek MT6582 processor
  • 4.5 inch ( 480 x 854 pixels ) FWVGA IPS display at ~218 ppi
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 8 GB of ROM
  • microSD card support to up to 32 GB
  • 5 megapixel main camera with LED flash
  • 2 megapixel front facing camera
  • dual micro SIM, dual stand-by
  • 1,700 mAh battery

MyPhone Uno official specs:

  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • 1.3 GHz quad core MediaTek MT6582 processor
  • 4.5 inch ( 480 x 854 pixels ) FWVGA IPS display at ~218 ppi
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 4 GB of ROM
  • microSD card support to up to 32 GB
  • 5 megapixel main camera with LED flash
  • 2 megapixel front facing camera
  • dual micro SIM, dual stand-by
  • 1,700 mAh battery