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Google sticking with Android One despite poor sales

Google’s Android One project, which helps OEMs (original equipment makers) launch low-cost Android handsets in developing markets, hasn’t had the most auspicious of starts. But Google isn’t giving up that easily…

Despite early bullishness, Google’s Android One initiative has seen less than one million devices sold in India, a territory which was seen as a ripe proving ground for piloting the scheme. However, Google insists that it will stay the course, contrary to mounting gossip suggesting that the search giant could already be about to phase out the budget blower scheme.

Google’s vice president of product management, Caesar Sengupta, was recently interviewed by the Economic Times and he addressed speculation regarding Android One directly, unequivocally restating the company’s dedication to the Android One concept.

When asked whether Google was dropping Android One, Mr Sengupta said: “No, we’re not backing away from the program,” and continued: “We remain pretty committed to it. Android One is now in seven countries. Overall, we continue to work with OEMs across the board, local and large OEMs for bringing Android One’s value proposition to many more markets.”

Issues with sales and devices which weren’t suitable for their market were cited as reasons behind One’s slow start. Issues which Google is actively looking to deal with, according to Mr Sengupta.

“Initially, when we had launched, people couldn’t buy them in all channels, that is something that we need to address. In our future (launches) with our partners, we want to make sure that we’re truly available everywhere,” he said.

The idea of launching specific devices for specific territories is also something which Google is reportedly exploring, in order to best match technology to areas which are more likely to actually use it. Upcoming Android One phones may actively move away from the sub-$120 price point which was initially set, towards a more moderate $100-$200 price range, given the emergence of research which shows that people seek to spend more on their second device.

Still, whichever direction Google seeks to take with its pet project, you can expect to see changes, as the company looks to introduce “the next billion people” to its already hugely popular operating system.

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