Google initially debuted the Android One platform to cater to the smartphone needs of developing nations, back in 2014. This was designed to enable phone makers to manufacture low-cost Android devices that receive stock updates directly from Google. But the platform failed to court buyers after some initial excitement. Google, however, is planning to keep it alive in a new skin at a new location.
Fresh reports from The Information now suggest that the tech behemoth plans to bring the experiment to the United States. It will be aimed at providing Android devices without any bloatware, crippling software, updates and other security features.
Citing three anonymous individuals aware of the development, Google is mulling over the launch of such devices in the U.S with a price tag of $200-$300. They’re expected to be launched sometime later this year, with LG being the potential launch partner.
The Android One project was launched with the primary aim of achieving the ‘smartphone in every hand’ vision. With its lukewarm debut in India, Google remained undeterred and extended the said program to other markets including Africa, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It didn’t stop there and launched the program in Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Morocco in the coming months.
The OEM manufacturers under the Android One program included Micromax, Karbonn, Infinix, Lava, Spice and numerous others. Google also specified the hardware specifications for these handsets. They had to be based on a quad-core MediaTek processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. It also packed at least 2GB of onboard storage and dual SIM card support — which is the norm in emerging nations. It was also said to be powered by the latest flavor of Android, with stock updates from Google itself.
Seeing the low adoption rate, Google has now loosened the restrictions on internal components and feature requirements. The said devices retailed in these emerging markets for as low as $100. But Google is touching the peak side of the range with its expected price tag during the time of release. And for the same reason, these devices will be premium branded and feature packed as compared to the cheap Android One devices we received.
After releasing its own-brand Pixel smartphones earlier last year, Google is now also eyeing the fledgling budget smartphone market with a revival of Android One. The tech behemoth is looking to extend the usefulness of its platform to more users, now in the States. It now plans to make Android Pay, Google Assistant, and other exclusive features available to a larger audience.
There is currently no information on hardware or software specifications for the said device, which will arrive this year. But we’ll update you once we receive more information about the launch of the program in one of the most developed nations.