It has been in the news of late – Google’s Android One initiative, which has seen a number of phones being released from different companies. Basically, these are phones that are running Android with minimum additions and have been designed in collaboration with Google. What’s more, they are assured timely updates from Google itself. Among those coming out with Android One phones are brands like Xiaomi, Motorola and Nokia. Sounds good? Well, to an extent. Because like every good thing, Android One has it pros and cons. And quite amazingly, they are the same. It all depends on how you look at it:
At a time when most phones tend to come with a lot of software and features — some of which you will use, and some you will not — Android One phones come with a very simple and clean interface. It is as if you have been given a clean page to write on — you decide what to do on it.
One of the biggest plus points of the Android One series is the fact that phones that are part of it will get updated to the latest version of Android quickly. The phones will not only get security patches but also updates to newer versions of Android for a period of two years from their launch. It is a bit like the Pixel series.
No additional software
One of the problems with most Android phones these days is that they come with a lot of preinstalled software — what some call “bloatware,” which you might not always need. There are special features like themes, beautification of selfies, special messaging applications, shopping applications and games, which are not to everyone’s liking. They not only take up space but can also affect the speed of the phone. Android One phones do not come with them — as we pointed out, they are plain Android and very little else. The result is that you get more storage and a faster device, all other things remain the same.
All right so the interface is plain and simple. But a lot of us like those fancy effects and bright, snazzy wallpapers. The plain path is great for those who want to create their own look and feel but then for many of us, a phone is really a tool rather than an extension of our personality. So having lots of features that come out of the box is actually a plus point.
While getting Android updates is always a very good thing, the problem is that not all Android One phones seem to get them at the same time. Some, like those from Nokia, get them very quickly while those from other brands, get them a little later. For instance, right now, many Android One phones have not even been updated to Android Pie. So while the promise of updated and new Android is a good one, its actual implementation is not consistent.
No additional software
Some people might like to install software on their phones themselves, but quite a few others do not mind a phone that comes with a number of apps right out of the box. Not everyone likes to spend hours installing applications after having purchased a phone, so one person’s “bloatware” could well be very important for another.
There you have it then – the pros and cons of Android One devices. And as we said, they are the same – it is just what you consider to be important. And we are all so different!
Traveller’s tip: If you are not very geeky, our advice would be to avoid Android One or stock Android for the time being. The phones are very good for those who want total control over their device, but if you are looking for features, we would suggest going for a phone with a “skinned” Android – these have several tools that are handy like battery managers, image editors and so on. The geeks might not like them, but for someone who wants to hit the ground running, these are perfect.