Android One smartphones enter the mobile market

Just a week after Apple announced its latest premium devices, Google has revealed its own range of Android One smartphones. The two announcements confirm the distinctly different strategies of both companies. Google's Android One smartphones will only be available in India at first, but other Asian territories before the end of the year can expect to benefit from the initiative including Indonesia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Android One smartphones are designed to allow phone manufacturers to benefit from economies of scale and reduce their costs. Google has taken the burden of R&D costs away from manufacturers. Creating an Android One smartphone has become a bit like a pick n' mix experience for the phone manufacturers signed up to the program - which already includes companies such as HTC, Asus, Acer, Panasonic and Lenovo - Samsung being the most notable absentee.

Google have created a higher base standard across the board, and reduced the costs drastically of production. Google Android One smartphones will retail for the genuinely affordable price of 6399 Rupees (£65). It has yet to be revealed how much the iPhone 6 will retail for in India on its release on October 17, but its predecessor, a 16 GB iPhone 5s retails at 44,500 Rupees (£449.26), and that's after a recent price drop.

"While Apple is clearly focussing its efforts on the premium and top end of the market... Google is happy to support the rest"

India has had smartphones on the market at a similar price range as the incoming Android One phones before, but their poor quality has probably done more damage to the market than good. The Android One should provide a higher base standard of smartphones in India, and help the second largest mobile market in the world embrace the smartphone revolution.

After Apple's announcement last week of their entrance into the mobile payments market, this is more great news for those with a vested interest in the growth of mobile payments.

While Apple is clearly focussing its efforts on the premium and top end of the market and the developed world - Apple pay is an iPhone 6 US only offer at launch - Google is happy to support the rest. What's more, with Android-based devices already accounting for 80 per cent of the smartphone market; this new, highly affordable, Android One program, looks set to help Google make even more inroads into some of biggest potential markets left.

And as far as mobile payments are concerned, more smartphones and more connected users - especially in those countries with a high proportion of pre-pay customers without traditional bank accounts - is cause for excitement.

Android is certainly showing that there is more than One way to go - and given Ensygnia's ability to support multiple payment methods across a broad range of devices - we can't help but agree.

By Matthew Taylor 17th September 2014

Related story around the web:

Google reveals the first ultra-cheap Android One smartphones - The Verge

Android One smartphones released in India by three companies - BBC

First Wave of "Affordable" Android One Phones Breaks Cover In India - Tech Crunch