Google's Android One program and its low-cost phones could help solve Android's fragmentation problem.
Following the resounding success of its Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, Google looks to be putting more skin in the smartphone game. According to a new report from The Information, the tech behemoth is planning on bringing one of its most popular foreign programs back home — Android One is said to be making its way to the United States “in the coming months.”
The three-year-old program has proven useful in developing markets like India where demand for low-cost smartphones is high. As per the Information’s unnamed sources, the first of the Android One phones (which will be made by an unidentified hardware supplier) will cost somewhere between $200 and $300, and ought to appear in American markets by mid-2017.
Perhaps the most important aspect to these low-cost phones comes in the form of a Google guarantee that the handsets will be updated with the latest Android updates and security fixes for a full 24 months from the date of sale. This is key because many of the more affordable Android phones currently in the U.S. market tend to ship with outdated software, or wait quite a while to get updates. Android One, however, will make that a problem of the past.
The original Android One devices debuted in India in September 2014, manufactured by local firms and bearing a price tag of $105. Since then, the program has launched handsets in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Turkey, Nigeria, Ghana, Spain, and Portugal. So sure, it seems like high time that the U.S. benefited from these phones, too.
Google’s latest move could help Android stymie its loss to the iEmpire. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted, “… fiscal 2016 saw more customers switch from Android to iPhone than ever before.” But just maybe, Android One can stop that trend from repeating itself this year.