Google announced the Android One program for India in June 2014, and then the search giant launched three Android One smartphones in the country in September 2014. All these smartphones were priced around Rs. 6,000 (~$100), and came with similar hardware specifications as well as a promise of fast Android updates. However, the sales of these smartphones were just lukewarm. Now, it is being reported that Google is planning to launch a revamped Android One program in India.
Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google, will reportedly launch the new Android One program and smartphones in India at an event that is scheduled at December 16, 2015. The invites for this event have been rolled out, and the invite states “At Google, we believe that technology can change people’s lives for the better. Indians are coming online at an astonishing rate with affordable smartphones. These new users have a completely fresh view on what the Internet has to offer. Please block your date for an event with Google as we outline our vision for these users.”
Reports also highlight that Mr. Pichai will meet the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee during his visit to India. The invite hints about affordable smartphone that will help new smartphone users in the country to connect to the Internet. Google’s first attempt at Android One failed due to manufacturer’s half-baked interest in the program, lack of proper marketing, and non-stellar hardware specifications of Android One smartphones. Moreover, manufacturers had very little independence when it came to customising Android One smartphones.
If Google can bring in more manufacturers to support the program, and give them enough independence to make changes to the hardware specifications, the revamped Android One program could work in India. Moreover, Google would need help from telecom carriers like Airtel, Idea, Vodafone, Aircel, Reliance, and others to subsidise Internet data, which would help first time smartphone users in using apps and services at a lower cost. Google should also market and explain better about Android One smartphones so that people can understand the importance of software updates.
Android One smartphones received Android 6.0 Marshmallow update even before the Motorola Nexus 6 and many other high-end smartphones in India, but they still didn’t sell as much as Google expected. What do you think about Google’s plans to revamp Android One program? Let us know your thoughts and discuss about the reasons why Android One failed in India and how Google can improve it in the future.