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With AndroidOne, Google pushes for low-cost mobile devices

The search giant pushes its mobile operating system by releasing platforms that encourage device manufacturers to develop phones faster.

james Martin/CNET

Google initiated plans Wednesday that will make it easier for manufacturers to quickly build cheap Android-powered phones.

A new set of hardware reference platforms, called AndroidOne, provides a turnkey opportunity for Google's partners. This means companies are able to develop devices quickly and cheaply.

Android chief Sundar Pichai showed off an example during the Google I/O developers confab in San Francisco, with slides of the $100 Micromax AndroidOne.

The initiative is similar to what Microsoft rolled out earlier this year. Microsoft created a reference design based on its Windows mobile operating system and using Qualcomm hardware.

Google enters I/O as a vigorously diversifiedcompany. While Apple, which held a similar developer conference earlier this month at the same location, focuses its efforts on a small number of categories -- PCs, mobile devices, and a few media services among them -- Google has a wider palette. Its hand is in everything from search to tablets to smart home devices.

Google's pitch to developers comes as tech giants are watching users switch their attention away from desktop computers to smartphones and tablets, and starting to look at other screens, including smartwatches and car dashboards. Inhabiting those platforms means Google can extend its reach, and collect the valuable user data the company -- and advertisers -- covet.

To see full coverage of Wednesday's Google I/O keynote address, visit CNET's Live Blog.

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