Google Plans to Revamp & Relaunch Android One Project in India
The Android One program was launched in India and other developing countries to provide low-cost smartphones with high-end Android experience. The program was aimed at streamlining the user experience of high-quality smartphones with low price tags.
It was similar to the Nexus project, but for the developing countries where high-end smartphones are a luxury to a major part of the society. However, with poor sales since launch, Google is contemplating a revamp to the program by removing a lot of standardizations and restrictions on the current Android One OEMs.
Since the beginning of this year, once the sales went offline, OEMs have not marketed the products and it is effectively Google making an effort to sell the smartphones. Micromax was one manufacturer that ditched Android One program altogether to partner with Cyanogen in a very early stage.
Because of low margins, OEMs do not find any incentives in advertising and selling the smartphones autonomously since Google is pretty much leading everything.
Until now, OEMs were majorly under the control of Google which left little or no space for customizations and innovation. Google plans to let the manufacturers choose the hardware components and remove some of Google’s default applications from the software.
The move will ensure that the smartphone manufacturers are able to produce low-cost phone with different specifications, each catering to a different part of the segment eventually. Prices, to some extent, would also be decided by OEMs which means cut-throat competition in the low-end smartphone segment.
Wall Street Journal reports that Lava and a current Android One partner are in talks with Google to launch Android One devices in India soon. We can expect the devices to be in line with Nexus’ methodology. Google would still have some control over the OEMs to provide hassle-free updates and experience to its customers, which makes sense if the Android experience is not to be diluted.
Android One phones receive instant updates like Nexus phones which is one of the best features of the program. However, if the hardware does not mix well with the smartphone, the performance will deteriorate manifolds over time.
In the coming months, we can expect more Indian and Global brands to partner with Google to revamp the project and provide cheap smartphones like the ones Motorola and Xiaomi are already providing to a large audience.