The Google project eyes low-price smartphone boom
Google launches $105 Android One
Google’s $105 smartphone which is the first device to become part of the ‘Android One’ initiative has been launched today in India by Google Inc. The device comes as part of the plan to increase the sales in the emerging markets with the help of cheaper price tags and much better quality of the software. The new smartphone costs 6,399 rupees in the Indian market and is a joint effort of the Mountain View-Based company and other Indian handset makers including Micromax, Karbonn and Spice Mobiles. Together they launched the phone in India which is powered by Google’s operating system.
With this device, Google wants to target the low cost segment of the fastest emerging mobile market. These plans are not just going to be limited to the Indian market because Google is most likely going to expand this ‘Android One’ project into other parts of the world including Indonesia, Philippines and other South Asian countries. This is likely to happen by the end of this year and in 2015 for some countries.
Currently the company has partnered with Acer Inc (2353.TW), HTC Corp (2498.TW) and Panasonic Corp (6752.T) (6752.T) and together they plan to build more devices which are going to become part of the ‘Android One’ project. This piece of information comes from Sundar Pichai, who heads Google’s Android and Chrome units who revealed this plan while talking to the reporters at the India launch event in New Delhi. He said “When (handset companies) look to make a phone, they will get a menu. They can put together a device in a much quicker fashion, knowing we’ve already tested the software.”
The Android One project is largely going to enhance the quality of not just the software but also the hardware and this is going to be ensured by providing the smartphone manufacturers a frame of reference. Once the sales of these phones belonging to the Android One project start to soar, the internet access is also going to increase tremendously which would ultimately mean an increase in the use and purchase of Google products.
The Indian market has access to many different kinds of phones which have customized and different versions of the Android software and because of these variations in the operating systems, the phones ultimately have to face multiple glitches as Google is left with little or almost no control over their own software platform. However, this is not going to be the case with the Android One smartphones because as Pichai said the eventual software upgrades on the Android One phones would come directly from Google. This means more control over the operating systems and customers will enjoy a consistent service to.
“After China and the United States, India is the third largest smartphone market in the world and Google won’t like to leave such a huge market in control of brands looking to use a custom-forked Android OS as is happening in China,” said Neil Shah, research director for devices and ecosystems at Hong Kong-based technology research agency Counterpoint Research.
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Ahmed Humayun is a technology journalist bringing you the hottest tech stories of the day.
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