In the midst of announcing huge product advances, new technology and taking swipes at iOS, Google announced one of the ways it will attempt to get the next billion Android devices into use. Announcing Android One. The low cost, but high ability Android handsets for emerging markets.
Google’s Sundar Pichai kicked off the announcements with the move to bring more Android phones to his native India. Called Android One, Google will be working with Indian manufactures in development. Working with Micromax, Spice and Karbon to develop handsets that are sub-$100 roughly Rs 6,000. Working closely together, Android One will run Google experience Android and have updates directly from Google.
Being a low cost option shouldn’t mean you are left behind. Google were keen to eliminate lower end users often stuck with older version of the OS such as Gingerbread. Which doesn’t show Android well from a usability and security point of view. This is in stark contrast from the Google that left the Galaxy Nexus out of Android 4.4 updates after only 18months on the market. So its obvious Google will be pushing Android One hard.
Android One will almost become the low cost Nexus option. Android One will ensure that any other low-cost smartphone makers have a reference point. Signally Googles desired basic device features and specs. Android One will include dual SIM ability, SD card, 4.5 inch screen and FM radio which Google believe are expected from Indian users.
Google can justify its position of getting its next billion users active all it likes. It can show in a million different ways that Android One and having a smart phone can better people’s lives. There is only one reason behind putting Android One into more people’s hands, and that’s income. More users mean more data and more adverts to serve. India is the logical first target for Android One. Given that Smartphone penetration is at just 10 percent there, and shipments were up 186 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period last year, according to research firm ID.
Android One Motives
There is nothing wrong with this, Google is in the ad business. Google produces some of the best services available in numerous areas. The majority of these being free services. Android development costs money, and this is only paid back through advertising. With developed country smart phone adoption slowing, there is only one market to move into. Those that can’t afford an expensive handset. Android One is Google’s move to grab new users in India while it can. Moving to counter moves announced by the likes of Xiaomi. Hoping to avoid a lost mobile market like it has in China.
Google refuses to do business in China, and as such has lost the world’s largest mobile market. So don’t expect Android One in the orient any time soon. Android phones are produced by large corporations such as Samsung and Xiaomi but are modified beyond recognition and have their own apps stores. With the hold on India slipping already through app markets such as 1Mobile Market that are promoted by developers and mobile carriers. Not to mention the heavily pushed Windows Android hybrid the Nokia X. Will more users bring better products? We will have to wait and see.