When Google announced the Android One platform back in June at the Google I/O conference, we were all saying in our heads, “That’s not a bad idea. Affordable smartphones for emerging markets.” It started out well, with a handful of devices being launched on the platform and we were thinking that it was going to be a success story for Google to thrive on. Well, maybe we might have spoken and concluded too soon. Google’s Android One isn’t doing as well as we thought it was.
The aim of this Android One project is to make smartphones available and accessible to everyone. Meaning, affordability is the key in this project. Through this project Google aims to work with its partners to release affordable smartphones with high quality materials. Google says that they are currently looking into manufacturers (OEM) that can actually manufacture hardware at a low cost but with a certain quality about it. They want to make “high quality, affordable smartphones”. The Android One device or devices for that matter will be sporting the stock Android ROM. What that will do is ensure that those phones under the Android One project will be updated as and when they are available.
Three Android One devices have been launched in India back in September and we would assume sales would be booming as it’s a smartphone with an affordable price tag. The equation doesn’t seem to have a place for error. The reality however, paints a different story. It seems not one of the three are doing good. And the reason for this? Simple, too tight of a competition.
230,000 units of devices running on Android One were shipped to India in the last two weeks of September. Sales have declined in October as only 200,000 units were imported for the entire month. This data is courtesy of The Economic Times and a local marketing firm Cybex Exim Solutions. Android One gadgets only made up 2.5% out of the 8 million smartphone imported to India in October. This does not live up anywhere near expectations and the numbers are worrying.
Google may have overestimated their success of the Android One and produced more than demand. It might also be the fact, that the specs on the devices are just well, too basic. 4GB of on-board storage is not something to get excited about especially with better options to choose from. And, also, Google initially only sold the devices via online. Some people, especially those looking to buy affordable phones, would not have access to internet. The software updates lacked publicity as well. Maybe Google needs to go back to the drawing board for a new marketing strategy for the platform.
Competition is getting more stiff with OEMs and rivals such as XiaoMi and Motorola as well as Samsung making a name for itself in emerging markets. If Google doesn’t pay attention to the numbers, well, it might just need to scratch Android One off as a has been project. The only comment a spokesperson gave was that the Android One shows ”very strong sales and consumer interest” which is contradicting every other report. Needless to say, better act soon before you end regretting later, Google.
Source: Android Authority