Google (GOOG, Financial) had announced in June that it would be launching cheap Android One smartphones first in India and then in the global markets. According to analysts, Android One would be playing in the volume sweet spot of the Indian smartphone market. This launch is important from Google’s strategic perspective as it wishes to reach 5 billion people in the emerging markets, with over 1 billion located in India. In the multi-billion dollar market, Google has partnered with domestic handset makers such as Micromax (MICRO, Financial), Karbonn and Spice to launch the much-awaited Android One smartphone. And finally the countdown is over as the smartphone has been released in the Indian market on September 15. So, what’s the story on the Android One mobile launch? Let’s check it out.
The plan of action
India is the first country where the U.S.-based firm’s Android One devices are being launched. Following this launch, Google will be rolling out the model across other emerging markets such as Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka in the upcoming months.
Google has also shared plans of expanding the Android One program with Acer (ACER, Financial), Alcatel OneTouch (ALU, Financial), Xolo, HTC (HTC, Financial), Lava, Intex, Asus and Lenovo (LNVGY, Financial) in the near future.
The Android One smartphone of Micromax named the Canvas A1 would be available through Amazon (AMZN, Financial), while Spice Dream Uno would be sold through Flipkart and Karbonn Sparkle V would be selling through SnapDeal. Hence all the three popular online channels have been tapped for offering Android One smartphone to the interested customers. However, the phones would also be available at the retail outlets of India from early October this year.
What does the mobile feature?
These devices have a dual SIM and will sport a 4.5-inch screen with a quad core MediaTek processor, 1 GB RAM and 4 GB internal storage which may be expandable to 32 GB, as and when required.
The smartphone features a 5 megapixel rear camera and a 2 megapixel front camera with replaceable battery and built-in radio.
The smartphone is meant for the burgeoning class as it’s pretty affordable with a starting range of around $105.
Analysts are of the opinion that as the devices would be under Google’s control, they would feature standard hardware and software specifications, which in turn will lead to a better experience for consumers.
Offering an edge in the Indian smartphone space
As both Microsoft (MSFT, Financial) and Apple (AAPL, Financial) are not eyeing the low-priced smartphone market in India, Google can be stated to be safe in terms of such competition in the emerging markets.
According to research firm IDC, smartphone sales in India grew almost threefold to over 44 million in 2013 as smartphones were made grossly affordable by players like Micromax and Karbonn. In the second quarter of 2014, 18.42 million smartphones were shipped to India. As Micromax holds around 18% market share which is just next to the market leader Samsung (SSNLF) leading with a 29% market share in India, the launch of the Android One smartphone will obviously give Google an edge over Samsung which is still targeting India with its premium-priced smartphones.
As this market looks pretty lucrative at this point in time with about 80 million plus shipments to be generated this year, Google clearly has picked up the correct destination for the premiere launch of its Android One smartphone with a reasonable sticker price.
While Android is the dominant player in the operating system domain on a global scale, other OS’ like Windows and iOS of Apple are gaining traction in the Indian smartphone arena. With this launch, Google attempts to hold its importance as it aims to capture a chunk of market share of the entry-level segment.
Google has set the stage on fire as it's out to create a market for its Android One smartphone which might hold a lot of appeal in the forthcoming days. A lot remains to unfold as days go past, as to how much attention this smartphone series is able to grab in the emerging market space. So we need to stay tuned and keep a close watch on the Android One smartphone sales which will reflect the real success story of Google.