Google to Launch a $50 Android Smartphone

After launching a couple of Android One smartphones with Spice, Karbonn, Micromax and Lava, Google is now planning a revamped Android One programme in India. In an interview with FT, Rajan Anandan, MD for Google Southeast Asia and India revealed that Android One has not delivered to expectations thus far, so the program will be rebooted in the next few years.

The company’s focus is now on delivering a $50 handset, which he termed would be the ‘sweet spot’ in a price sensitive market like India.

“It is like any company when you try to launch a new initiative — we had a few hiccups,” he said.

The Mountain View based company had launched Android One project in June 2014 to target the ‘next billion’ users, but it failed due to limited advertising and online-only purchases. The company has failed to establish its offline presence, but it would address it with upcoming launches.

Google is also creating new apps and services specifically for Indian market, including the launch of YouTube’s offline mode and a version of Google Maps optimized for low-bandwidth connectivity. The company will be investing heavily to bring tens of millions of small businesses online and develop content suited to Indians.

“Strategically it [India] is very, very important. Don’t get me wrong, the revenue is interesting but . . . we’re here really because 10 years from now a billion Indians will be online and when we have a billion Indians online we think that’s going to make a huge difference to the global internet economy.”

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