A while back Google launched a project that they called Android One. The project was designed to get the world’s “next billion” smartphone users online by offering customers in developing countries low-cost Android smartphones running the latest version of Android. Not only would these Android One branded smartphones be low-cost and be running the latest version of Android, but the version of Android would be “stock” Android. Unfortunately, despite Googles significant push on the Android One project, it never really got any traction.
Since its launch, it is estimated that there have been less than 1 million Android One devices sold in India, which is Android One’s most important market. As you can probably guess, that is a pretty abysmal number considering the fact that Google had plans to get 1 billion of these devices into users hands. But India is not the only place where Android One devices can be purchased. The project has spread to seven countries since its launch, but numbers for these other countries likely don’t look any better.
Why is the Android One project not taking off like Google anticipated? Why are so few of these seemingly great devices being sold? Well, there are a couple of things that Google didn’t quite do right. First and foremost is the pricing of these “cheap” Android One devices. In the emerging markets like India, where Google is pushing these devices, smartphones need to be very cheaply priced, but Google does not seem to be hitting that price-point. Most Android One smartphones are priced at just under $200 when they really need to be priced closer to $150 or less for a majority of consumers in these markets to be capable of affording one without breaking the bank.
Thankfully, Google seems to have finally got the memo about this pricing issue. The search giant is apparently not going to be giving up on the Android One initiative and has even gone as far as to say that they will be creating an Android One device that cost only $50. Also, Google’s very own Rajan Anandan, the companies managing director in Southeast Asia, stated that Google will also be focusing more on services designed for Android One smartphones. Services such as offline YouTube videos and Offline Google Maps.
Not much besides this is known, but at least the important piece of the puzzle is known, Google is not giving up on Android One anytime soon. Anandan says that the Android One initiative is very important to Google and that the company will work hard to make it a success in the end. Devices priced at $50 and a better focus on services that work well with lower-end Android One smartphones is definitely a fantastic start to Google’s second push with the project. More details on Google’s plans for Android One should become available over the coming weeks.