Google Inc. India has launched a $105 phone called the “Android One.” It is one of the first phones of the kind that has been marketed at lower prices, but with better quality software. The company is now targeting the low-cost Smartphone buying segment through its smartphones.
What is Google’s strategy?
Google has partnered with three phone manufacturers Karbonn, Micromax, and Spice Mobiles to launch the phone that costs about INR 6,399. After launching the phone in India, the company plans to take Android One to the Philippines, Indonesia, and the other South Asian countries by the beginning of 2015 and then, expand to more countries. The company has partnered with HTC Corp, Acer, and Panasonic Corp in order to manufacture more such mobile phones, according to Sundar Pichai, the head of Google’s Android and Chrome divisions. Google intends to give handset manufacturers a frame of reference so that the quality of the software and the hardware is improved upon by them. The sales of Google’s Android One phones will also imply that their other suite of products is also going to be used along with more access to the internet. The many phones that have been manufactured by the makers of low-cost phones have several glitches that have left no choice for Google, but to manufacture its own phones so that the suite of its products can load properly.
Low cost and local
Many people are now able to afford smartphones and some, for the first time and this makes India a lucrative market for affordable smartphones. According to experts, only ten percent of the total population of India owns smartphones. In the next four years, that figure is likely to double. There are about 80 manufacturers of smartphones in India and if Google wants to compete with them, it should make the phones have more features and affordability should be just one of them. Google prioritizes customizing the phones according to the needs of Indian customers. The new Android One phones will be available in seven Indian languages, including Hindi. Google is also working on letting the users of Android One get access to YouTube videos in a country, where the internet is patchy as well as pricey. Google aims to reach the masses, who do not own a Smartphone yet through Android One. Where the other phones do not have a MicroSD slot, dual SIM, and a radio, Google’s Android One will have these features. The phone will run on an Android 4.4 KitKat. Google apps such as Google Translate, Google Maps, YouTube, etc. will come loaded on the phone itself.
Google also said that AirTel is offering to reduce the data download costs for those who purchase Android One phones by Google by introducing inexpensive data download plans. With an AirTel SIM card, people will not only be able to get access to 200 MB worth of app downloads per month but also free over-the-air updates for the first six months – all this without being counted in their monthly data plans.