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Google could bring supercheap Android One phones to the US

Originally meant for emerging markets, the budget phones might be heading Stateside.

Josh Miller

Folks on tight budgets may get another Android option to choose from if Google brings a supercheap Android One phone to the US.

The report comes by way of tech blog The Information, whose original story lives behind a paywall.

With the launch of the $650 Google Pixel and $770 Pixel XL, the tech giant is making a name for itself with high-end phones, but releasing low-end phones in the States would give Google an opportunity to gain ground among wallet-watchers, too. And starting with a variation on the three Android devices it released in 2014 in India -- each selling for $100 -- would give Google a leg up.

google-pixel-xl-9066-012.jpg

The Pixel and Pixel XL are solid Google phones, but they don't come cheap.

Josh Miller/CNET

Like the Pixel, Android One devices offer the Google experience in its purest form, with minimal bloatware and the bare-bones Android OS. Android One phones also have the benefit of getting new Android updates early.

In countries like India and Pakistan, Google partnered with local phone brands like Micromax and Karbonn to make the devices (such as the Micromax Canvas A1 and Karbonn Sparkle V). It isn't clear if Google would work with well-known brands such as HTC and LG to make an Android One phone for the US, or if Google would attach its own name to the project as it did with the new Pixel phones.

The Android One devices are rumored to sell in the $200-$300 price range, and arrive sometime in the next few months. Although that new price is over twice as much as the original line of phones, it would still qualify as low-cost compared to the majority of other phones on sale here.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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