Are Google's Android One devices losing the race in India's smartphone market?

  • Pratyush Ranjan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 13, 2014 16:10 IST

Did Google's ambitious move to address the fragmented Android ecosystem with its Android One devices help in redefining the affordable smartphone segment in India?

It is a different story if we believe the early trends in the country's smartphone market.

According to a report published in The Economic Times, Indian smartphone users have given a poor response to the Android One devices.

The daily has quoted data from market research firm Cybex Exim Solutions as saying that Google's Android One partners — Indian handset makers Micromax, Karbonn and Spice — together had imported nearly 2.3 lakh handsets in the first 15 days of September. But the total number of devices sold was not more than 2 lakh in the entire month of October.

Google had launched Android One range of devices in partnership with Micromax, Karbonn and Spice and mobile operators like Airtel and Reliance in mid September.

The smartphones are priced Rs. 6,399 onwards.

Google's devices are facing tough competition from some Chinese models, which offer almost the same or better specifications in the same or lower price range.

The research firm IDC believes India will be a tough crucible for US-based tech giant.

"Blocked out of China, Google has no choice but to make a large downstream investment in the next billion consumer segment in India," IDC said.

Karbonn, Spice and Intex are gearing up for round two with a slew of Android One smartphone launches in December this year.

India was the first country of launch for the Android One smartphones and Google has indicated that many more firsts could come from India in the future.

Competition in the booming multi-billion dollar Indian smartphone market has intensified with e-commerce giants Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal launching many handsets in October and November.

According to IDC, India is the fastest growing smartphone market in the world with over 44 million devices being sold last year alone with players competing head-on to capture a bigger share of the pie.

(With inputs from agencies)

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