Android One was Google’s great idea for capturing emerging markets with cheap smartphones. On paper, it’s a fantastic idea. In reality, it hasn’t really done so well. Google is sticking with it, though, and they’re taking a slightly more hands off approach for their upcoming devices.
Google has partnered with Lava International Ltd. to create a new, cheap device to lead Android One devices in India. We’ve been hearing rumors about a sub-$50 Android One handset on the horizon, and it sounds like this could be that device. This new device will supposedly give a little more freedom to Lava, and subsequently, other Android One OEMs, in an effort to bring a little more variety to the program to give it the shot in the arm it needs to be successful.
Currently, Google mandates many specific requirements on Android One devices, which include forcing manufacturers to buy certain components from limited manufacturers, and that it makes it difficult for some OEMs to differentiate from other devices. Android devices are a dime a dozen all over the world, and they all need some kind of unique feature to really stick out from the competition. This guaranteed a certain level of quality, but it hurt profit margins and slowed down new devices. With Google taking a more hands-off approach here, we’ll likely see tons of new Android One devices trying many different things.
India is a key market for tons of manufacturers, and Google has a personal interest in getting as many people online as possible to use Google services like Gmail and YouTube. We’ve seen tons of growth in India recently, especially in the budget-friendly, large screen sector of the market. This is exactly the kind of market that Android One was created to capture, and with a refreshed take on the program Google stands to gain some ground in India with more Android devices.
source: Wall Street Journal