Why India is a test bed for Android One smartphone?

India is a big market for smartphones worldwide and it is still growing thanks to consumers who are switching from feature phones to smartphones.

In 2013, India sold 40 million smartphones and in 2014 the forecast is around 80 million, which is twice 2013 figures. This opens up big opportunity for any mobile player and Google does not want to be left behind as it considers India as a test bed for its recently launched Android One smartphone.

To increase its reach in India, Google introduced its first family of high-quality and affordable Android One smartphones based on MediaTek’s MT 6582 from Micromax, Spice and Karbonn for Rs 6,399.

“Together with an ecosystem of partners, including MediaTek, we’re building a future where high-quality smartphones are accessible to mainstream consumers at affordable prices. This work together will also allow our partners to pool resources to bring these great phones to market faster,” said Caesar Sengupta, VP, product management, Google.

The Android One smartphones launched are Karbonn Sparkle V, Micromax Canvas A1 and Spice Dream UNO. These smartphones are available for purchase through online channels as Karbonn has signed up with Snapdeal, Micromax with Amazon and Spice with Flipkart. Once the online sales picks up, Google and its partner brands are planning to increase its reach by making these smartphones available offline at 200,000 retail stores across 240 cities during Diwali i.e. early October.

Google has also signed up with retailers to create 30,000 Android One ambassdors who have been trained to highlight specific features during customers demo.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of Android, Chrome & Apps said, “By working closely with phone and silicon chip makers to share reference designs and select components, we are making it easier for our partners to build phones that are not just great to use, but also affordable.”

“With Android One, we not only want to help people get online, we want to make sure that when they get there, they can tap into the wealth of information and knowledge the web holds for everyone,” added Pichai.

Through Google Play, Android One phones have access to over one million apps that allow people to message friends, make video calls, socialize, check news and weather and play games. Google apps such as Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Google Search and Google Translate will come pre-loaded on the phones.

Presently, there are 4 billion people who do not have any access to Internet and Google through Android One smartphone is planning to reach the next billion people.

The company has also announced an expanded set of hardware partners for the Android One initiative, including Acer, Alcatel Onetouch, ASUS, HTC, Intex, Lava, Lenovo, Panasonic, and Xolo, as well as chipmaker Qualcomm. With this wide range of choices, Google wants to flood the market  with Android One smartphone in India and emerging economies in the second half of FY 2014-15.

Once these brands perform well in India, Google plans to take this successful India template to emerging economies and work with local brands to customize Android One smartphone as per their local flavor.

India is the start for us and we plan to use this template for other countries says Sundar Pichai.

Google is planning to launch Android One smartphones in Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka by the end of the year added Sundar Pichai.

So, Google have no other option but to be successful in the Indian market and the company is leaving no leave stone unturned to make Android One smartphone successful in India.

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