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Android One Gaining Momentum by Engaging Major OEMs

by Yiwen Wu | 9月 28, 2018

Google’s Android One program has been gaining momentum and growing fast in global smartphone market in recent quarters, while it still remain niche by volume and market share.

Google’s Android One program was initially launched in 2014, with the goal to address Android fragmentation problem in low-end smartphone category. Google created hardware and software standard (pure Android OS) for Android One smartphones, intending to provide consistent user experience and enhanced security. The program had a strong focus on emerging markets, but the reception among OEMs and market was lukewarm at best. Lack of profitability and lack of room for customization discouraged major OEM partners to join the camp. Google had to team up with microvendors mainly in India to roll out the first generation of Android One smartphones. Unsurprisingly, these products failed to attract price-sensitive consumers due to unsatisfied user experience and undesired hardware features.

Google took lessons from the failure of phase one, it redefined and re-introduced a new Android One program (phase two) in 2017. Google has shifted Android One smartphones to mid-range and high-tier, and managed to engage major vendors like Xiaomi, HMD and Motorola, work more closely with carriers like Softbank, and expand footprint to mature markets like Japan, US and Europe.

HMD (Nokia) and Xiaomi are top two players.

  • HMD (Nokia) announced strategic partnership with Google / Android One in the beginning of 2018. HMD comes back with strong momentum recent quarters, thanks to the enhanced product portfolio cross multiple price tiers, solid global distribution channel / partners, and its strong brand equity in selected regions / countries. HMD (Nokia) is now the largest OEM in Android One camp.
  • Xiaomi is the first Chinese vendor who joined Android One camp for overseas markets. Its first Android One model Mi A1 was launched in over 30 countries outside China, generating an encouraging result according to our Smartphone Model Tracker (SMT) service. Xiaomi launched its second generation of Android One models Mi A2 and Mi A2 Lite in July 2018. For Chinese OEMs, Android One is a shortcut to tap mature markets.

We expect new Android One program is well-positioned to gain more ground with faster growth trajectory in 2019.

Our latest report Android One Gaining Momentum by Engaging Major OEMs was published. WSS clients could access the full report from here.

Mi A2-lite

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