Alphabet, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google has partnered with a couple of low-cost smartphone-makers to launch its most ambitious Android One budget smartphones, with the intention of sneaking into the fast-growing emerging markets, starting from India. However, it seems didn’t work out for Google in its first attempt. Now the company wants to try again by providing relaxed rules to its OEM partners.
According to a report by Wall Street Journal, Google and India’s Lava International Ltd. will be attempting to launch a new budget smartphone under Android One umbrella in the coming months. According to the sources, the new product that would be launched soon comes under Google’s new softened Android One rules that gives more freedom to the phone-makers to choose the hardware and features, along with the cost decision.
Earlier, Google had partnered with India’s Micromax, Karbonn, Lava and Spice to launch the first set of Android One phones in September 2014, but those weren’t a big hit for these companies. Experts feel that Google wants to push its services like YouTube, Gmail, Search and other products to the early mobile adopters, ultimately eyeing on the advertising revenue.
These first set of devices was costing around $100 when launched and only managed to reach 1.2 million units in sales in its first year. These numbers are less than 4 percent of the budget smartphone market ($50-$100). In India and other parts of Asia, Chinese smartphone-maker Xiaomi has managed to garner over 7.5 percent of market share in the low-cost smartphone section. Google sold only about 3 million phones globally, outside of India (including Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Eigypt and Philippines.
According to the reports, Google’s partners in Android One program have sold more Android phones with a low price tag without entitling into the program. That means, the search giant had also faced a stiff competition from its partners.
Chief executive of Cyanogen Kirt McMaster said in a statement:
“There’s a long way to go before an effective reboot of Android One. Google tried to define too many parameters in regard to device components that were required for Android One, when Indian manufacturers really value supply chain flexibility.”
Google’s strict policy on Android One program said to be the main reason for the bad performance of Android One devices, because Google wanted phone-makers to choose the specific components, although they had options to use one or two choices. Here, the smartphone-makers couldn’t able to decrease the price of the phones because of the non-flexibility.
But now, Google seems learnt from the first mistake and loosens its strict policy and allows the hardware partners to choose the components from their choice of vendors. This will enable more options to choose from a chip to the camera sensors from different vendors, hence, reducing the price tags of these upcoming devices.