Google launched the phones in partnership with Micromax, Karbonn and Spice Mobiles
Hoping to lure feature phone users in India, which form 70 per cent of the mobile market in the country, to upgrade to smartphones, Google on Thursday launched the first Android One devices in India with prices starting from Rs 6,399.
The first three phones have been launched by domestic handset makers Karbonn, Micromax and Spice. While the ones from Karbonn and Spice are priced at 6,399, the one from Micromax is for Rs 6,499.
Interestingly, India is the first country where the technology giant has rolled out these devices. The launch across other markets, including Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka will follow in the coming months.
Commenting on the same, Jaideep Mehta, GM, South Asia, said, “It is a positive development. Fundamentally, Android One devices are going to help enable smartphones prices to go lower. While there are phones available in this segment, more competition gives more options to consumer to choose from.”
He added that typically first time smartphone buyers, who have been using feature phones and have not upgraded due to lack of options will go for these devices.
The Android One devices will compete with like of Moto E, Xiaomi Redmi 1S, Asus Zenphone 4, and models even from Micromax such as Unite 2, all with similar features and priced below Rs 7,000.
With Android One, Google has given a frame of reference to OEMs, based on which the device has been designed for optimum performance. This is likely to significantly improve the quality of hardware and software used.
Presently majority smartphones, including in the affordable range, already run on different and somewhat customised version of Google’s Android operating system. However, this makes the phone more prone to glitches.
In case of Android One devices, the eventual software upgrades will come directly from Google, giving Google better control of the operating system and ensure users get a consistent service.
Vishal Tripathi, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner opined, “This would bring higher traction to the smartphone market, he said, adding consumers will be clear winners. Majorly users looking to upgrade from feature phone to smartphones will go for these devices, he added.
India is an attractive market for companies that make low-cost smartphones because of the immense opportunity it offers as about 70 per cent of the mobile phone users are still on feature phones