Android One is an ambitious project Google announced at I/0 2014 addressing the need of budget users for complete Android experience at fraction of price of current flagships. Google aimed to capitalize the fastest growing smartphone market i.e. India by partnering with local manufacturers like Micromax, Spice and Karbonn. All that seemed fascinating back in summer when Google wanted to add next billion users on Android platform and with these devices priced under $100 it seemed possible.
As the world of technology is rapidly changing it took Google quiet a lot of time to actually get devices on market and when the Android One arrived it had various better competitors at same price point so it failed to create the big splash. Android One devices came with 4.5” qHD 960 x 540 pixel resolution display, Mediatek 1.3GHz CPU and 1GB of RAM. The internal memory is mere 4GB with option to expand it via external cards. The rear of devices features a 5-megapixel camera along with 2-megapixels in front and all devices came pre-loaded with Android 4.4 Kitkat.
While the competition from Moto E, Asus Zenfone 4 and Redmi 1S led to low sales of Android One. Redmi 1S brought much better specification to table with 4.8” 1280 x 720 pixel resolution display, 8-megapixels rear camera, 1.6-megapixels rear camera, 1.6GHz Quad Core Snapdragon 400 CPU, 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage with external card support. It is currently the hottest smartphone for its price which is RS 5,999 which translates to just under $100 which is same price the Android One is retailing for. As Redmi 1S is currently available in limited quantity i.e. generally in batches of 100,000 units per week the impact is much more controlled.
Similarly competition from online exclusives like Moto E and Asus Zenfone 4 series has led to low sales of Android One handsets. The other big reason for low Android One sales is less presence in retail where these handsets are not available instead the same manufacturer had better devices available in retail segment in form of Micromax Unite 2 and many more. Android One is not readily available in brick and mortar shop just like Google Nexus One which failed to make big impact and in country like India where 95% of users like to try before spending so that part of market has been lost.
Google also failed to advertise the best part of Android One handsets, the software updates delivered directly from Google on time up to 2 years from launch and if a user doesn’t know what software update is or he just cares about Whatsapp running smoothly then how can you convince him to purchase an Android One. Sure every users have their own choice but the marketing of Android One and retail presence could have been better. Google expectation hit the ground with its marketing failing considerably to get consumers attention.
Android One handsets neither were too good for their price for many new comers to dump their conventional shopping habits of purchasing from retail outlets nor had it employed some viral marketing strategy. Only a niche community of hardcore android enthusiast knew what software update meant and went with the device so to conclude Android One devices failed to pick up momentum. Now Google will try to enter more Asian markets like Malaysia and Indonesia with Android One and we hope the same mistakes are not repeated there as the battle of budget devices is quiet fierce.