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When it comes to using Android devices, the impression that most would have, is that the variety of devices, from high-end to low specs is that Android targets the masses. According to Andreessen Horowitz analyst Benedict Evans, this is even more so evident in how Android though having 1 billion users versus Apple’s 470 million pays out half the amount at 5 billion dollars when it comes to revenue to developers. This is interesting as it indicates that Android’s focus isn’t to the rich but to the masses a la the average joe and the poorer/emerging market. The Android One initiative is one such example of the strategy that Google is taking to actively and aggressively go after markets which cannot afford the more expensive iDevices, by offering devices with decent specs at an affordable price. Evans then goes on to make the point that as a result of Google focusing on users who are more price sensitive, it inadvertently creates the impression that developers should prioritize on iOS first followed by Android users as spending habits for Apple is twice that of Android. This thereby translates to Apple being king in app/games rollout due to revenues whereas support for Android is usually slower. Another aspect or contributing factor to the lack of sales on Android, is that Google is rather slow in providing alternative payment methods such as carrier billing for these developing markets thereby limiting or pushing users to pirate as a means of ‘purchasing’. The graph above, is a rather clear illustration of the Android to Apple segmentation and translates to Apple losing market share as the market evolves and grows larger.
Android One initiative could also be a way of Google to regain control of emerging markets such as China, in which locked down derivatives of Android is rampant and something that Google frowns on due to the difficulty to control or support changes and security etc. This is relatively important as a huge bulk of userbase comes from these emerging market and translates to where increases in revenue comes from. Interestingly enough as Google Play revenue for 2014 is 2.4 times over that of 2013 signalling a time in the future in which Google becomes king over apps in which developers’ priority shift to Android first. This then raises the question as how what Apple would do in response, aka more patent wars or in a more radical manner. Another intriguing aspect of this, is that Android could very well replace Windows as the dominant OS of the world in how integral it is to our daily lives. In short, in the words of Pinky and the Brain, Google is trying to take over the world!