Google exec: Android One is part of broader hardware strategy

Many Android users will probably have heard of Nexus devices at one point in time or another. But, unless they're in one of the very few countries covered by the program, they probably have never heard of Android One. The program was launched to sort of mirror Google partnerships with OEMs seen in the Nexus program but to a more liberal and more affordable degree. It hasn't, however, caught on, leading many to consider it dead. Google directory for Business Development and Android & Chrome Partnerships Mike Hayes says, however, that it couldn't be farther from the truth.

"Android One has become a part of the broader hardware strategy," so says Hayes. He doesn't exactly elaborate on what that means in practice, but we've seen Google paving the way for that strategy, whatever it is. It recently named former Motorola CEO Rick Osterloh as its new hardware chief, which covers Google's Android and Chrome devices, which, of course, includes Nexus and Android One. Osterloh has yet to make a public statement on his new mandate and how he plans to execute that all-mysterious hardware strategy.

From the outside, the Android One program may seem like a flop. Hayes claims that OEMs are still expressing interest in partnering with Google on this program, implying a reasonable amount of success in the market. At least enough to keep OEM interests high.

Android One is admittedly an oddball to some extent. It is almost the exact opposite of the Nexus program. Whereas the Nexus aimed for high end specs, Android One targeted mass appeal. While Google exerted much influence in the development of Nexus devices, and in fact is rumored to want even more control, Android One OEM partners have more freedom in the specs and components they choose. Google simply makes the software fit around the hardware.

Particularly in India, which is just waking up to an LTE world, cheap Android One devices will become the gateway to Internet for many of the new netizens. Hayes promises that there will be more Android One smartphones coming to the country, but hasn't hinted where Android One will expand to next. So yes, Android One is still alive, but it's future is still too vague to predict.

SOURCE: India Economic Times