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Karbonn’s Sparkle V becomes first Android One smartphone released in the UK

Karbonn Mobile’s Sparkle V has become the first Android One smartphone to be released in the UK.

Android One is a Google standard designed to produce low-cost smartphones geared towards emerging markets such as India, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Read more: Google’s budget Android One range targets Indian market

The Sparkle V will cost £130 unlocked, exclusively through Amazon UK, and is currently available for a cut-price £99 as part of the company’s Black Friday deals. The handset boasts a 4.5in HD display, 4GB of storage and a 1.3GHz quad-core processor.

The UK already has its fare share of budget handsets, so it remains to be seen whether the Sparkle V can make a significant dent in the smartphone market. The HTC Desire 510 and the EE Kestrel, for example both offer similar or improved specs when compared with Karbonn’s device for £80 and £100 respectively.

Android One handsets were never intended for release in developed countries such as the UK, but Karbonn is hoping to use its flagship device to extend its industry presence across Europe.

The Sparkle V will be joined by even cheaper smartphones manufactured by the Indian firm, including the Karbonn Titanium S6, the Karbonn A19 and the Karbonn A5S. None of these devices currently offer 4G connectivity, which could be off-putting to UK consumers looking for fast data services.

Sundar Pichai, senior vice president at Google, has emphasised the importance of budget smartphones in the developing world.

"While 1.75 billion people around the world already have a smartphone, the vast majority of the world's population -- over 5 billion more -- do not," he wrote earlier this year. "Even entry-level smartphones still remain out of reach for many."

Read more: Microsoft Lumia RM-1090 specs leaked – and it’s a budget smartphone

Anyone wishing to get their hands on the new Karbonn Sparkle V can do so here (opens in new tab).

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.