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Karbonn Brings Google’s Android One Smartphones To The UK

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Indian manufacturer brings range of low-cost devices to the UK as part of global Android expansion

Indian phone manufacturer Karbonn has taken the wraps off its first range of UK devices as the company makes a play for the low cost market.

The company has teamed up with UK-based Santok to launch four Karbonn SIM-free phones from today, including the flagship Sparkle V device, supported by Google’s Android One partnership, meaning the phone will receive Android updates before many others.

The company is also releasing the Karbonn Titanium S6, Karbonn A19 and Karbonn A5S models as it looks to gain a slice of the budget smartphone market in the UK, a sector it feels is poorly served at the moment.

Android OneTargeted

“For far too long the UK mobile device market has been dominated by a small group of huge brands and this has meant that the price for smartphones has been pushed extortionately high,” said Jay Pau, CEO of Santok Group.

“There are currently low-end cheap alternatives, which offer what people pay for them.  With Karbonn we are introducing a high quality brand, with leading technological innovation and cutting edge design, but without the five star price tag.”

In a bid to boost initial uptake of its devices, Karbonn has teamed up with Amazon for exclusive distribution throughout the remainder of 2014. This includes the retail titan offering the Sparkle V for just £99 as part of its Black Friday promotion.

“We are pleased to be launching this device to the UK exclusively through Amazon.co.uk,” added Sarkar. “It really is an impressive smartphone and offers consumers something very different in terms of price, but retains the highest quality in its design and form.”

Karbonn is one of the manufacturers signed up by Google for its Android One initiative, which launched in September and aims to create cheap but high quality smartphones (pictured above) as part of the search giant’s efforts to extend its reach into developing markets.

All Android One handsets must be at least 4.5 inches in size, have 1GB of RAM, a five megapixel front-facing camera and two megapixel front-facing sensor and a quad core processor from Taiwanese manufacturer MediaTek. The devices run stock Android and there is room to add market-specific features such as FM radios, MicroSD card slots and replaceable batteries.

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