Google has a plan to connect 5 billion people to the internet for the first time

Android OneAndroid/YouTubeA woman with an Android One phone.

Google’s Android One program provides low-cost, inexpensive smartphones to people who have limited or no access to the digital world.

According to Google, 1.75 billion people have smartphones, which leaves the vast majority of the world, up to 5 billion people, without one.

Android One smartphones cost under $US100, and for some, it would be the first device that lets them connect to the internet, as even the cheapest computers and smartphones from companies like Apple and Samsung are financially out of reach for many people in the world.

The idea is to connect people in certain regions of the world with themselves and everyone else, thus providing knowledge and communication that eventually leads to progress and development.

Android One was first announced last year and was initially rolled out to India. It then expanded into Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, followed by Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Turkey, and Pakistan. As of Tuesday, it’s spreading to Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, and Morocco in Africa.

Google partners with global and regional tech companies and carriers to build low-cost smartphones that connect to 3G, 4G, and LTE networks. Google provides the basic specs for the phones, and its partners build them. The phones may be cheap, but they’re powerful enough to run the latest Android operating system and apps.

Google also keeps Android One phones updated with newest versions of Android. In fact, that could mean that Android One smartphone owners would get the Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) update faster than many who own premium flagship devices like Samsung’s latest Galaxy phones.

Google won’t necessarily make a lot of money off Android One right away, but it is a way for the company to lock new internet users into Google’s ecosystem before Apple or anyone else can get to them. In the long run, Google can make money off these Android users through targeted mobile ads or selling apps and services.

NOW WATCH: Watch how many people can’t walk on the street without having their phones in their hands

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.