When you state something which goes along the lines of India being likely to be a tough market for a program such as Google Android One, people expect an explanation. Just because you’re IDC, one of the most quoted market research firms, it doesn’t mean there’s no need to elaborate.
The truth is that the deal stinks for Indian manufacturers even though handset part of the Android One program are assured software updates straight from Google. Take for example the Sparkle V and Titanium S20 which were released by homegrown company Karbonn, not too long ago.
The former is being offered for Rs 6399, while the latter (pictured above) costs Rs 4999. Both Android phones share most of the specs; but the Sparkle V handset is part of the Android One venture. Google’s hardware and software reference design OEMs must follow in order to become a member of the club could force them to price their devices higher than necessary.
Aside from that, India is already saturated with Android phones which are much cheaper than what the aforementioned program has to offer. And when you have a basic smartphone for fulfilling the simplest of day-to-day needs, you’re probably not going to care much about software updates.
But we’re just playing the guessing game of course, and Google has invested hugely in India since its way to China is barred, as IDC correctly points out. Android One is expected to influence the smartphone scene in such a way, high-end products from Apple and Samsung will capture the upper part of the market share.
On the other hand, the lower end segment may play host to phones priced at around $100 or so. The first wave of Android One smartphone offerings are based on MediaTek processors. And Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips are being tipped to enter the game sometime in the future, possibly embedded in more expensive devices.
Tough market or not, India’s appetite for smartphones is growing so rapidly, there’s plenty of room for everyone including budget Google Android One handsets.