Google’s Android One initiative promises to change the experience of budget smartphones. By working closely with manufacturers, component makers and production companies, Google is hoping to eliminate some of the pitfalls such as performance, longevity and software updates that have long plagued this segment.
With a focus on sub-$100 smartphones, Google is hoping to bring more people into the Android fold. But Google is reportedly going beyond just working with manufacturers before and during production. The Economic Times reports that the search giant will allocate considerable resources for marketing purposes with the Android One range. In addition, the paper reports that Google has snapped up Intex and Celkon as hardware partners besides the previously announced trio of Micromax, Karbonn and Lava. Google will reportedly spend more than Rs 100 crore on advertising and marketing, in what was called an unprecedented push into the Indian market.
ET also says Android One range will be launched in time for the Diwali and the holiday season around India’s largest festival this October. This would also be in line with the expected release date for Android L, which will power the Android One range. Sundar Pichai, in charge of Android and Chrome, is expected to visit India at this time, according to the report.
The first wave of Android One smartphones will only be the beginning and average prices will fall even lower than $100, which will open Android up to a larger audience.
In a way, Google is mirroring the efforts of Microsoft, which has seen tremendous success in the low-end Windows Phone segment. Microsoft has not only worked with manufacturers but has actively promoted the new players in the ecosystem at global events. Google took a page out of that at I/O and now it’s going one step beyond Microsoft, if the reports are accurate.
For the Indian manufacturers currently on board, Android One represents a path to global legitimacy that has so far eluded them. With Google’s backing, the brand value will certainly rise, while the reputation of Indian manufacturers as paper (read: specs) tigers might also see some improvement.