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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Android One isn't doing all that well, but Google is determined

Android One was launched back in 2014 with a lot of enthusiasm and determination. Now, as the first more substantial reports start coming in, it seems that the initiative hasn't been doing all that well. For anyone unfamiliar with Android One, it is a Google project intended to aid manufacturers in developing and offering budget-friendly smartphones on developing markets.

It is Google's intention to introduce new technology and current means of communication and data-exchange to vast developing markets such as India and China and the Android One initiative definitely looks like the way to do so, at least on paper, that is. The reality, however, is that less than a million Android One handset have been sold in India to date, which is definitely a slow start towards the ultimate goal of reaching "the next billion people", which Google set for itself at I/O 2014.
But, despite the poor results, the tech giant has remained determined to proceed with the project and like the wisest of PM's, has carefully identified its errors and is taking steps to correct them. Caesar Sengupta, Google's VP of product management, was recently interview on the matter. His comment was filled with optimism about the future of Android One:
No, we're not backing away from the program, ... We remain pretty committed to it. Android One is now in seven countries. Overall, we continue to work with OEMs across the board, local and large OEMs for bringing Android One's value proposition to many more markets.

Sengupta also stated that two main problems with the program were identified. The first one has to do with offering unsuitable products on certain markets. In the future, Android One devices will be better tailored for the specific needs of the market they are meant for. This might break the initial concept of uniformity across the whole Android One realm, but will most-likely have a positive effect one product desirability.
This being said, Google might also be reconsidering its initial sub-$120 price point for Android One devices. After reevaluating consumer needs and desires, the price target might be shifted up to the $100-$200 range. This will give OEMs a lot more room for feature implementation and hardware improvements, while still retaining the original idea of an affordable package.
Last, but not least, there is the issue of availability. As Sengupta out it:
Initially, when we had launched, people couldn't buy them in all channels, that is something that we need to address. In our future (launches) with our partners, we want to make sure that we're truly available everywhere.
It is vital for Google to iron out these problems to ensure a bright future for Android One. Still, it is quite optimistic to see that the search giant has taken the initiative to heart and is determined to see it through.

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