Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOGL) on Monday launched its new Android One program in India, which offers its Android operating system on low-cost smartphones, in partnership with local smartphone manufacturers.
The new Android One-powered smartphones, which are priced at around 6,399 rupees ($105), are manufactured by Indian mobile phone makers, such as Micromax, Karbonn and Spice Mobiles. The latest move by Google is being viewed by many as the company’s attempt to corner the lower end of the world's fastest growing smartphone market, Reuters reported.
In India, where the smartphone market reportedly doubled to 44 million units in 2013 and has already touched 36 million devices in the first half of 2014, Google is expected to face challenges from companies including Motorola and China's Xiaomi, both of which offer affordable smartphones such as the Moto E at 6,999 rupees ($114.6) and the Red Mi 1S at 5,999 rupees ($98), respectively.
“It will be interesting to watch if they are able to maintain that (6,000 rupees) price band or whether it will go to (7,000 rupees to 7,500 rupees) since Google is also specifying the hardware,” Karan Thakkar, senior market analyst at IDC, told Economic Times, a local business newspaper.
According to reports, the new Android One handsets are expected to offer features such as 5-megapixel cameras, quad-core processors, 1 GB RAM, screens measuring 4.3 inches to 4.5 inches, Android KitKat 4.4.4, a 1700-mAh battery, dual SIM capability and SD card slots to expand memory capacity.
Announced by Sundar Pichai, Google’s head of Android, Chrome web browser and apps, in June, the Android One is a set of competitive specifications that allow manufacturers to produce affordable smartphones with the latest hardware. These low-cost devices will feature the original Android OS and receive updates directly from Google, PC Advisor reported.