Pakistan Added To Android One's Slow Rollout

Back in June 2014, Google announced the "Android One" project, which was meant to bring the stock Android experience to low-end smartphones that cost around $100, along with updates straight from Google. The project first launched in India and then expanded to Indonesia, the Philippines, and other South Asian countries, and it was promised for Turkey earlier this year.

Android One launched in Pakistan today as well, with the QMobile A1 smartphone. The device is another 11,500 Pakistani rupees (~$113) budget smartphone, which comes with a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor (likely from Mediatek) and runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

It has a 4.5" display with an 854 x 480 resolution, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, a microSD slot, an FM radio, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, and a 1,700 mAh battery. It also comes with a 5MP rear camera that has auto-focus and LED flash, and there's a 2MP front camera. The device supports dual-SIM, like many of the Android One devices released so far.

Even though it's been only a little more than a year since the Android One announcement, Android One seems to have had a rather slow release. We haven't seen any of the major global smartphone makers adopt it; it's been only local players from a few different countries (mainly Asian countries) so far.

The main reason for why other OEMs don't want to adopt Android One is likely because they don't want to cede control over their smartphones to Google. They don't want their devices to be like PCs, where only Microsoft can develop the operating system and OEMs at best get to install a few extra applications on top (also called bloatware).

The smaller local OEMs seem to be more open to the idea of letting Google handle the software for them. That allows them to cut costs, resulting in a lower price for the handsets, which is usually the main factor in customers buying local brands. The companies also can't afford to invest millions of dollars into developing software customizations that can rival companies such as Samsung or LG. Therefore, it's likely more cost-effective to use Google's stock Android, which already has many fans and is guaranteed to give users a good experience even on budget hardware.

The QMobile A1 is the first Android One smartphone that will be sold in Pakistan, and it can now be purchased at retail stores across the country.

Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • targetdrone
    Why does a $100 phone geared for the third world get a phone with a micro SDHC slot but the $500 Nexus 6 doesn't?
  • velocityg4
    Why doesn't Google just change their installation system for Android? Just pack any release with all compatible drivers so anyone with a compatible phone can update and go vanilla immediately. Sure it would be a larger update but you could just have it delete all unneeded drivers after installation. Or it could have an updater program for Windows, Linux and Mac that installs the latest Android OS and appropriate drivers for the phone.

    As for the problem of having all needed drivers. Just require Android phone makers to provide Google with drivers for their phones. If they don't they will won't be licensed for Android anymore and would have to try and survive on one of the OSes which combine to about 2% of the smartphone market.