Launched in 2014, Google’s plans to have developing markets use a more controlled and stock version of Android have yet to really take off. According to The Information, Android One is now pivoting to the US with a launch later this year of a device in the $200-300 range.
While new Android One devices have been released in the past year, adoption in intended developing markets have yet to achieve success. Google has already loosened restrictions on parts and feature requirements, but the devices are still relatively expensive compared to existing alternatives.
In comparison, there is already an established market for $200-300 unlocked devices in the US. As such, bringing Android One to the US makes more sense and comes with a greater possibility for growth.
Consumers get a Pixel and Nexus-like promise of two year of software and security updates from an affordable device. Meanwhile, it ensures that Google’s prized services are not replaced by competitors. Notably, Huawei placing Amazon Alexa on the Mate 9 has apparently been a point of contention.
The first Android One device in the US is expected to launch in the middle of this year. LG is noted as a possible partner, though The Information does not have precise confirmation.
For OEMs participating in Android One and following the guidelines, Google will be funding an ad campaign. With Pixel advertising continuing to be a success, the profile of cheaper Android devices might get a significant boost.