Last September Google announced the Android One, Google’s attempt to get smartphones in the hands of “the next billion users.”
Their tactic is to get a simple, solid Android Lollipop device into the hands of users in developing countries for a fraction of the price as their first world sellers.
But it appears Google’s first attempt has been priced too high, with most of the devices costing around US$100 where they have launched in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
The company has stated supply issues being the primary cause of shortage, but Google’s Rajan Anandan, managing director of Android One in India and Southeast Asia, told The FT that the company will continue pushing the programme there.
He also hopes that Google’s partners will be able to drive down phone costs dramatically lower in the coming years.
According to the FT, Anandan wants Android One phones to be available in what he says is a potential “sweet spot” of smartphone pricing for India, at just Rs 2,000-3,000.
These wouldn’t be flagship phones, but still, getting an Android L device for under $50 would be incredible.
If they work well enough to perform. It’s hard to believe they would have the processing power or the RAM to do more than the most basic functions.
Assuming the Android One gets the price point Anandan is hoping for, it would be in a position to undercut Xiaomi’s efforts in Southeast Asia and India.
This could be the beginning of the biggest budget Android arms race we’ve ever seen.