Google CEO: Emerging markets like India need smartphones that cost just $30

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Google wants to bring Android to everyone. The company has shown that Android devices can be as cheap as $100 with the Android One program, but now the goal is to drop that price even more. How low? To a measly $30.

According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, while Android manufacturers are starting to offer devices as low as $50, $30 is what’s really needed in emerging markets like India.

“I think two big things, one is from our side — we are committed to making even cheaper smartphones. […] The right price point for smartphones in India is $30, and pursuing high-quality smartphones at that price point will unlock it even more,” said Pichai in an interview with NDTV.

As a report from Mashable notes, India has the largest Android user base, and many people in the country simply can’t afford to buy flagship devices like the Google Pixel. If the goal is to connect as many people as possible, then offering an extremely inexpensive device will be very important.

Getting smartphones down in price, however, is only part of the problem. Connecting the rest of the world relies on decent networks, and when networks aren’t as strong as they should be, it’s the apps that need to be able to work with an unreliable connection. For example, Google’s YouTube Go app now offers options for allowing users to download videos for offline viewing. According to Pichai, Google is working on making similar tweaks to its other apps, and it’s likely we’ll see more apps from other companies make similar changes in the next few years.

Pichai himself is currently traveling in India. He announced the Digital Unlocked initiative on Wednesday, which is aimed at bringing all small and medium businesses online. According to Mashable, about 68 percent of small and medium-size businesses currently don’t have any online presence.

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