Android One coming to the US could be just what Android needs
We got some interesting news last week from Google. Sources indicate that the Android One program might be hitting US shores. ORLY? Very interesting. For those of you who don’t remember, Android One wasn’t a device, or series of devices. Rather it is basically an instruction manual on what components could be used to deliver a quality, inexpensive, “pure” Android experience. Putting those three words together is bound to set the salivary glands into overdrive. This is an Android geek’s dream.
And it’s one we thought died with the Pixel. The Pixel phone, called by some the successor to the Nexus line of phones, is a high priced, high quality item. Android One focuses solely on the low to midrange specifications. Essentially, Google might be resurrecting the Nexus line of phones in the Android One program with several companies lined up to take part. This is really great news to those of us who longed for an inexpensive Nexus phone since the introduction of the Nexus 6.
Granted, these will not be Nexus phones. It’s important to make that clear and to hedge our bets accordingly. It’s just as likely the phones designed with the Android One program may be more underpowered than their Nexus cousins. That might make for an unpleasant experience for those who are looking for a Nexus replacement. But having a lost-cost, pure Android phone in the US is nothing but a win for Google.
What’s in a name?
Google’s goal right now is getting the brand out there and making people recognize that Google is at the heart of every HTC, LG, Samsung, BLU, and a multitude of other phones out there. Google got lost there for a while under the shadow of Samsung and others. It’s time Google stand up and be recognized, beyond just the Pixel. Google has been steadily building brand recognition in the phone arena for years now. Making Android One phones accessible to a whole new demographic is a major win for Google.
Consider also, Google’s latest push of Google Assistant. Android One phones are a great way to get Google Assistant into the mind of those who can’t afford the Pixel, or don’t have the disposable income for a Google Home. Android One could consolidate Google Assistant across multiple tiers of smartphones, helping it evolve in ways that wouldn’t be possible under the thumb of skinned phones, or carrier restrictions.
Android One will also strengthen the partnerships Google has with HTC, LG, and any other OEM that decides to pick up the project. The great thing about Android One is Google is doing all of the development legwork in advance. All an OEM has to do is put the Legos together. Having Google design and lay out the best specifications ahead of time allows an OEM to focus on different aspects of the experience. With components out of the way, hardware design and production are all that’s needed. This essentially halves the amount of work that needs to go into a new product.
Overall, Android One could potentially be a big win in the United States. Consumers here are looking for a wide variety of devices that perform well and won’t break the bank. Android One provides just that with less costs to the OEM itself. Google is winning, OEMs are winning, and consumers are winning. You know what we call that? Winning. It would be an extra level up if we see phones like the Nexus of old emerge with near flagship specs but still a low price tag. But, since this is only a rumor at the moment, it’s probably best to manage our expectations.
But what about you? Would you go out and pick up an Android One device? It’s not a straightforward question. Android One devices are low-end phones meant to be “good enough” and definitely not great. But with its lack of popularity overseas, ignoring Android One devices here could lead to an early death of the program. If we are to see Nexus-level devices on US shores, we might, as an economy, have to pay the piper with first-gen phones before we can re-catch our unicorn. On the other hand, the phones will be wasted silicon if they don’t perform well. Sound off below with your thoughts; I’d love to hear them!