Google’s Android One initiative, which was launched back in 2014, is aimed at manufacturing affordable devices that meet a certain set of quality standards and are targeted at emerging markets. However, the search giant is now reportedly planning to launch mid-range Android One smartphones in the US later this year.
The US-targeted Android One devices are expected to cost between $200 (roughly Rs. 13,600) – $300 (Rs. 20,400) and the first Android One device is expected to be launched in middle of this year with LG being a possible partner, as per a report by The Information (via 9to5Google). However, there is no precise information regarding the companies that will partner with Google to bring Android One devices to the US.
Further, for OEMs that follow the search giant’s Android One guidelines, Google will be funding an ad campaign. Notably, with Android One smartphones, users get a promise similar to Pixel devices that ensures that the device will get two years of software and security updates.
Google reportedly relaxed its required hardware requirements earlier last year, in what seemed like an attempt to woo OEMs to its Android One initiative. However, with the price tag between $200 and $300, it is arguable if the company is moving away from its aim of providing stock Android experience at an affordable price.
Considering that the US already has a market for unlocked phones in the price range targeted with the upcoming Android One devices, launching Android One phones might not be a bad strategy by the company, 9to5Google opines.
The first mid-range Android One smartphone – GM 5 Plus was launched by US brand General Mobile at MWC 2016 last year.
Interestingly, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, during his recent trip to India, said that the prices of entry-level smartphones in India need to come down further to around $30 (roughly Rs. 2,000) to improve access to the Internet and digital services for people.