Will Google Sell Budget Phone Stateside?
Threatening to upset the domestic smartphone market, Google reportedly plans to bring its Android One phones to the U.S. Launched in India in late 2014, Android One originally sold for $105 and included a pared-down selection of software and features.
Now — as sources tellThe Information — Google thinks U.S. consumers would be receptive to such an offering. The search giant is so confident in the move that it reportedly plans to put big marketing bucks behind the launch.
Android One phones are expected to hit U.S. shelves by mid-year, but the makers of the first phones are not yet known.
In 2014, the first Android One phones launched in partnership with Micromax, Karbonn and Spice. Each phone maker was given the same specifications, which they incorporated into modestly different designs.
As part of the original effort, Google assumed control over the phone’s software updates, rather than let wireless operators release new versions. Considering that smartphone sales dropped to a three-year low, last year, it’s no surprise Google is thinking outside the box.
That said, global smartphone sales are expected to bounce back, this year, according to a recent forecast from Accenture.
Among other factors, the research firm credited falling prices for the more positive outlook.
“Improved features and falling prices are key reasons consumers around the world are signaling a desire to buy new smartphones,” David Sovie, global managing director for Accenture’s Electronics and High-Tech business, noted in the new report.
Overall, more than half (54%) of consumers surveyed said they planned to buy a smartphone in the next year — up from 48% in last year’s survey. The number of U.S. respondents who said they planned to buy a smartphone in the coming 12 months increased by double digits over last year — up from 38% to 52%, year-over-year.