What You Need to Know About Android One Phones

Google began the Android One program in 2014 to make smartphones more widely accessible to people in developing nations. They did this by installing a pure Android operating system onto lower-cost devices, therefore, offering “high-quality” smartphones at a low cost. Android One initially launched in Pakistan and India with phones selling for only $100.

Shortly after that the program spread to other South Asian countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. From there it has quietly spread to many other countries around the world, and now it is coming to the United States.

What Is Android One


Today Android One is a partnership between Google and its selected EOMs determined to give the public a pure Android experience. In the Android One program the cell phone manufacturer cannot alter the software by adding bloatware or changing parts of the operating system.

Google does all the development and maintenance of the software for these phones without the cost of manufacturing their own devices. The manufacturers they work with are expected to include regular security updates and Android version updates, as well as follow the rules concerning limiting the number of pre-loaded apps to create a quality pure Android experience.


Android One phones are similar to iPhones because one company maintains and controls the operating system. They don’t have a manufacturer in the middle changing the program to suit their own needs. This direct link gives you the best performance the platform has to offer. Google had already done this with their Pixel and Nexus phones. They are built specifically to run Android, and Google takes care of all the updates.

Why Android One?

There are several advantages Android One has over phones running a manufacturer’s version of Android.

More Available Updates

One problem with the Android phones on the market today is that they are not always upgradable. As a result, many Android phones go without updates to better, more secure versions of the operating system. In fact, more than half of the Android devices operating today are running version 5.x Lollipop or lower.


With the arrival of Android One in the United States, Google hopes to fix that problem. Up until recently, only the Pixel and Nexus phones, which are manufactured by Google, have been able to update consistently. Now, for all phones running Android One, Google has guaranteed they will receive all software and security updates for at least two years. These frequent security updates will make them some of the most secure devices on the market today.

Lower Price

The new phones coming to America are admittedly not as inexpensive as the ones in the original Android One program offered back in 2014, but they are not as expensive as the Google Pixel 2 which costs around $650. Google is working with manufacturers who produce phones at an even lower price point. There are other phones available in the same price range; however, the Android One phones are not your typical mid-level priced phone.

Android One offers the most popular features of Android while keeping the price low. The phones are usually less than $400.


Better Performance

These phones have all the familiar Google services like YouTube, Google Assistant, Maps, and Google Play Protect without any unnecessary apps added by the manufacturer. Less bloatware keeps the phone running more efficiently.

Which Phones Run Android One?

In the United States Android One devices are coming on the market from companies like HTC (the U11 Life) and Motorola (the X4) and more are on the way. Nokia is offering several different models running Android One including the Nokia 8 Sirocco.

Google wants to assure you a phone with an Android One logo on the back is a Google Certified version of pure Android. You are getting the Android that Google intends you to have instead of the Android the phone manufacturers want you to have. Google designed these phones with the objective that they will run smoothly and securely for at least two years. And, as we know, two years is a long time in phone years!

Tracey Rosenberger
Tracey Rosenberger

Tracey Rosenberger spent 26 years teaching elementary students, using technology to enhance learning. Now she's excited to share helpful technology with teachers and everyone else who sees tech as intimidating.

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