The Android One initiative, which Google launched last year in India, hasn't taken off as well as it expected. Android One smartphones were marketed with stock Android UI and a promise of faster software updates, that too for 2 years from the release date. However, consumers don't seem to be amused by these features, so they are still favouring non-Android One smartphones with better hardware specifications over Android One devices like the Xiaomi Redmi 1S and the Lenovo A6000, but looks like the Internet giant isn't going to back down without putting up a fight.
According to a report from The Information, Google is working with selected carriers and app developers to explore a possibility of making data usage free for consumers using Android One smartphones. If accomplished in a right way, this might help consumers where data connectivity is unreliable or disproportionately expensive. Google wants to take off the burden of data usage cost from consumers' pockets by "zero rating" data transmission for certain applications. Even Facebook had launched Internet.org in India earlier this week in collaboration with Reliance Communications, which lets consumers using Android devices browse Internet for free through Internet.org app.
Under this initiative, brands like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Redbus, and Ola Cabs are working with Google to get their apps "Zero Rated", so that consumers can use their Android apps without paying for data. As Google doesn't want to piss off carriers, apps like YouTube, Skype or Viber aren't going to be included under this initiative, at least for now. Apparently, Google tried this initiative with its own apps a few years back, but that didn't work out very well. We hope that Google succeeds in this plan to make data usage for free to consumers, at least for some necessary apps like GMail, Facebook, WhatsApp, and some shopping apps.