Google launched the first wave of AndroidOne devices in India in mid September, in collaboration with leading Indian device brands like Micromax, Karbonn and Spice. These AndroidOne devices are priced in the range of US$105-110 (INR 6,399-6,499).
IDC believes that AndroidOne is crucial for Google to execute on its strategy to leverage the fast-growing Android user base to drive engagement for its increasing portfolio of essential Google services, including search, Maps, Google Now and others. A consistent user experience, or at least a vastly improved one, will greatly increase engagement and ultimately revenues.
“The secret sauce of AndroidOne rests on the reference designs that are at the core of the new products. The initial wave of devices launched are all based on Mediatek reference designs of the MT6582 SoC chipset, while Qualcomm-based devices are expected for future releases”, says Shiv Putcha, Associate Director, Consumer Mobility, Gaming and Advertising, IDC Asia/Pacific.
Google is partnering with leading Indian mobile operators like Airtel and Reliance as well as e-commerce giants like Flipkart and Amazon to launch the devices. Launched in India to begin with, Google will expand this significant initiative to other emerging markets like Indonesia and Brazil.
“AndroidOne represents the latest iteration of Google’s Next Billion strategy, a belated bear hug of the fragmented Android ecosystem. IDC expects AndroidOne will attract significant sales and redefine the affordable smartphone segment by reshaping the mid tier with a range of devices that feature “good enough” device specifications for a fraction of the price compared to flagship devices”, continues Shiv Putcha.
According to him, AndroidOne will go further and effectively create a bipolar “pear shaped” environment where the high end will be dominated by the likes of Apple and Samsung with their iPhone and Galaxy flagship devices; and the low end will increasingly converge around the $100 Average Selling Price (ASP) benchmark.
Despite significant marketing spend already in evidence on AndroidOne, IDC believes India will be a tough crucible for Google. Blocked out of China, Google has no choice but to make a large downstream investment in the Next Billion consumer segment in India. Success in this segment will greatly enhance their ability to leverage Android to drive adoption by the Next Billion of the Google consumer cloud.