Google has launched the infamous Android One project last year in India in cooperation with Micromax, Spice and Karbonn, India-based smartphone OEMs. What is Android One? Well, it’s Google’s way to offer stock Android one really cheap devices which are available in emerging markets. Android One smartphones were expected to be really successful in India, and several other markets Google launched it in. Well, that wasn’t exactly the case, Android One devices didn’t sell well at all, and there are a number of possible reasons for that. Android One’s VP of Product Management, Caesar Sengupta, was interviewed by Economic Times, and shared some of his thoughts on Android One, and has also confirmed that the project is here to stay.
When asked about the future of Android One, Mr. Sengupta talked about how Google has no intention of abandoning the project, and intends to expand its reach. “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 (original equipment makers) across the board, local and large OEMs for bringing Android One’s value proposition to many more markets. We are also thinking about specific phones for specific markets. We think of ourselves as more of a catalyst to the ecosystem. Android One is a very small part of Android, which is also what Google pushes,” said Caesar Sengupta.
Android One’s VP has also said that they’ve learned a lot from their initial mistakes, and intend to do things differently this time. He said that the placement of Android One smartphones was one of the biggest reasons why the project didn’t actually succeed, although he said that they’re happy with how the project is going thus far. When asked when will new devices land, Caesar Sengupta was rather vague, but he did say that they’re planning something in the second half of the year. In addition to all this, he also said that Google is working close with 20 OEMs when it comes to Android One project, and that they have big plans for the future.
Mr. Sengupta has also talked a bit about the ‘next billion users’ term that keeps on popping up when Google is concerned, it seems like Google expects Android One devices to be a big part of that. “There are some fairly unique challenges. The next billion users don’t have the same disposable income that the first billion users have had. Connectivity continues to be a challenge for many of these people. Language is also a challenge, especially in India where we’re starting to quickly run through the number of users who are familiar with English and now we’re starting to get into more regional languages,” said Caesar Sengupta.
There you have it, it seems like Google is still hoping Android One project will be a huge success. We can expect new devices to roll out before the end of 2015, and it will be interesting which areas will Android One roll out to next. Stay tuned, we’ll report back as soon as new info arrives.