Skip to main content

US-Bound Android One Phones Suggest Further Google Encroachment Into Marketplace

Last week we started to hear that Google's Android One initiative, launched as an emerging market platform nearly three years ago, may be about to reach the United States, probably at a higher price point than current Android One phones achieve.

Strange decision? Maybe not. If the rumours are true Google will benefit in two ways: better control of Android upgrades and the exclusion of more OEMs.

The first is a no-brainer. Android Nougat has rolled out to a limited number of devices from a limited number of handsets. Almost exclusively they have been higher end phones from premium OEMs. Phones in the Android One programme get their updates from Google. By creating a new tier of Android phones in the developed world, Google takes back the upgrade high ground from Apple.

The second benefit is more complex. Right now OEMs are pushing phones into the market that are under specified and perform poorly, hurting the Android brand. Those mid-range Android OEMs who currently sell almost exclusively in China are starting to break out of their local markets and sell devices to the West.

As most of these ship without Google Mobile Services in China and many export versions have retained that 'feature', Google effectively gains nothing from its endeavour.

So I'm expecting Google to pull a junior Pixel from its metaphorical pocket at the earliest opportunity. It will be a phone with mid-range specs and Pixel-like features and it will be a Google phone, like the Pixel. The manufacturer may even turn out to be HTC as well.

A Google branded phone at half the price of the Pixel would be a device to put Google back in charge of the market. Given its potential, it would be even more concerning for Android partners than the Pixel was.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…

WhartonBrooks Indiegogo Windows 10 Mobile Even More Doomed To Failure Than Usual

WhartonBrooks is currently crowd-funding its latest Windows Mobile smartphone on Indiegogo. If crowdfunding isn't already a bad enough idea, a company trying to crowdfund a Windows Mobile device should be warning enough for you.
Not that anyone seems to be taking the project too seriously. With a few weeks left to run the campaign has managed to ensnare just 2% of its $1.1m target.
If you want a better indication of how few Window Mobile loyalists remain I doubt there is one. Of 3,900 Windows Phone enthusiasts Wharton Brooks was seeking for its new phone, it has managed to entice just 50.
Windows for Phones is dead, even if the corpse hasn't stopped twitching yet.