Android One was one of the biggest threats to Windows Phone, which has slowly built up a niche in the low cost smartphone segment with reliable, fluid handsets, building on Nokia’s legacy in the segment.
Android One handsets were introduced in June 2014 by Google, and would feature $100 smartphones running stock Android, Google services , and receive updates directly from Google. The devices promised to be super cheap and reliable, and basically extinguish Windows Phone’s niche in emerging markets like India. At the time a number of OEMs such as Karbonn, Micromax and Spice released the first Android One phones.
Now CCS Insight reports that the initiative appears to have stalled, noting that “Android One has had a limited direct effect on the market” and while “sales of Android One-based smartphones began more than half a year ago in India, but volumes don’t stand out.”
“The fading momentum of Android One is an indication of the expanding selection of equally well-specified, low-cost smartphones and tablets in emerging markets. Hundreds of models are available at $100 or below — a once impossible price band has become very ordinary.”
The $100 mark in particular is now well populated by numerous handsets, including a good selection of Windows Phones offering great performance for the price. Slowly growing market share in India indicates good reception for these devices, and as Microsoft continues to concentrate on their low-end strategy with handsets like the Lumia 435 it seems Android One has turned out to be an initiative too late.