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Google Decides to Change the Game for Android One in India 

Google is taking another chance with Android One in India, this time partnering with Xiaomi. 

Updated
Tech News
3 min read
Android One is back and this time, it’s with Xiaomi. 
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The story was first published on 5 September. We are reposting the piece as the MiA1 is available on 19 September.

The rumours were true then. Xiaomi has been chosen by Google to help Android One make a comeback in India. This was a project which was first rolled out in grand fashion with India-based brands like Spice, Karbonn and Micromax.

Google had high hopes, but numbers didn’t impress them, which meant no Android One goodies for the phones from this trio. But that was then, now in 2017 Google believes that a fine tuned version of Android One, along with Xiaomi to start off with, gives them the impetus to give it another go.

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What’s New About Android One?

Just to refresh your memory, Android One was pegged as an initiative that caters to affordability, along with offering pure Android experience on mobile.

Those phones from Spice and Co were priced at less than 8K. Now, in 2017, the avatar and motto of Android One seem to have drifted away from affordability and instead, focus on the stock Android experience.

Android One gets a reboot in India. 
Android One gets a reboot in India. 
(Photo Courtesy: Xiaomi)
When we launched Android One in India back in 2014, the goal was to get the next billion people online by providing them with high quality, affordable phones.
Jamie Rosenberg, Vice President, Business & Operations, Android 

For the Xiaomi MiA1 (yep, that’s the name of the phone), its selling point is Google’s software pedigree, combined with Xiaomi’s focus on hardware.

Google is finding its feet with Android One right now, but their focus is clear to them. 

Android One project has now shifted towards the 15K price point, which is already crowded with Motorola, Nokia and Lenovo (all three offering stock Android also) among others. And that’s happening because;

The larger community has told us they value what Android One stands for across a range of phones – a refreshingly simple software experience that is accessible, always fresh and stays ahead of the curve, with improvements to battery life, usability, and of course, security.  
Jamie Rosenberg, Vice President, Business & Operations, Android 

So, the pole-shifting narrative of Android One has a new definition, presumably to reduce the roll out of fragmented Android versions in the market.

That’s the Xiaomi MiA1 Android One phone. 
That’s the Xiaomi MiA1 Android One phone. 
(Photo: The Quint)

Google has now decided to let the phone makers do the heavy work, offering them their expertise on the software side.

Android One – Price No Longer the Focus

This time Android One will focus on products across different price points.
Jon Gold, Director, Partner Programs, Google

When this statement rolled out in front of the media, it was evident that Google had other plans for Android One from now on.

We all know that Nexus has already been shelved, with focus on Pixel series, and now Android One has been launched, with Android Go waiting in the wings.

First Xiaomi phone to come with stock Android. 
First Xiaomi phone to come with stock Android. 
(Photo: The Quint)

In addition to that, Xiaomi confirmed that the MiA1 is part of a new series, with other devices expected to be priced higher than this one. We’re not surprised that Google has abandoned its initial strategy. In Japan, Android One phones start at $300 and goes up to $500 for that matter.

Now that Android One is back on track, I am keen to see the impact Xiaomi makes for Google, and which brands are next in line for the project.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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