Google launches Android One accessible smartphones in India without even a nod to mHealth

Being fortunate to get access to expensive smartphone prototypes it’s rare that I get excited by new smartphones especially really cheap ones but I can’t wait to review the $100 Android One I have in the post:

Knowledge is a game changer. I’ve long been inspired by the Internet and how it opens the doors to opportunity. It provides access to knowledge, no matter who you are or where you are. For instance, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Nobel Laureate at a world-class research center or a young student at a rural school in Indonesia, with Google Search, you have the same information at your fingertips as anyone else.

If we look at how people are getting online and accessing information today, increasingly it’s through a smartphone. While 1.75 billion people around the world already have a smartphone, the vast majority of the world’s population—over five billion more—do not. That means most people are only able to make simple voice calls, rather than connect with family through a live video chat, use mapping apps to find the closest hospital, or simply search the web. We want to bring these experiences to more people

Here’s a few thoughts of mine on what’s been seen so far:

> I think Google’s really missing a trick ignoring the mHealth potential

Clearly mHealth transforms our perception of mobile tech but if Googles ambitions materialise billions of citizens of the world will get their first ever documented consultation with a registered Doctor via the forward facing camera on the front of an Android One smartphone.

Why wouldn’t you want to profile something as amazing as that as opposed to using the device to just “find the closest hospital“?

> Dual SIM 3G – could this be the smartphone every Doctor wants?

Amazing that these devices are being brought to market together with Indian mobile network operators (in India network infrastructure is shared between telcos) and not markets like the UK/USA where networks are supposed to be trying to compete.

I’ve had this feature for years now but on a nice mainstream smartphone with a nice UX I see it making the Android One platform super popular with Doctors who all too often maintain 2 different phones (one for work and another for personal use) who would love to be able to avoid all the additional fuss (bulging pockets, charging hassles, etc).

> Why is Google so unconcerned about the health of their customers?

From Skateboarding in the middle into the direction of oncoming traffic without any personal protection equipment while listening to music on headphones:

Android One launch video showing skateboarding in the road into oncoming traffic listening to music on headphones

To riding on the back of an overloaded moped without a helmet wearing inappropriate clothing while trying to take videos with your camera phone:

Android One launch video showing dangerous over loading of unprotected passengers on moped

With more than a million people killed annually from road traffic incidents in low/middle income regions of the world, shouldn’t Google be more responsible with it’s adverts targeting this region?

The way I see it adverts showing the ‘cool kids’ with the highest disposable incomes ignoring public health and safety messaging will unfortunately do nothing to reduce the increasing rates of avoidable injuries and deaths.

I look forward to getting to trial the device later this week and posting a review of the mHealth contribution this device will make, in the mean time have you seen anything I’ve missed?

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