Google is expected to launch its much-awaited sub-$100 (around Rs 6,000) Android One smartphones in India this month, which will further intensify competition in the booming multi-billion dollar smart devices market here. According to an invite sent by the company, Google will make “an exciting new announcement” on September 15. Also Read - Facebook Messenger becomes third non-Google app to garner five billion downloads on Play StoreAlso Read - Website notifications bothersome? Here's how to block them on Google Chrome
In June, Google announced its ‘Android One’ initiative to launch sub-$100 handsets aimed at bringing the next one billion population to the Android operating system ecosystem. The US-based tech giant has partnered domestic handset makers Micromax, Karbonn and Spice to bring these devices into India. Also Read - Roku taken aback as Google adds YouTube TV to YouTube app
Micromax’s Android One smartphone would be a dual-SIM 4.5-inch display device with a removable SD card and MediaTek processor, costing less than $100, Android Chief Sundar Pichai had said at Google I/O. He had added that while Android One devices will be launched around the world, the initiative would start with India.
According to research firm IDC, smartphone sales in the country grew almost three-fold to over 44 million in 2013, buoyed by affordable devices made by local firms such as Micromax and Karbonn. In the second quarter of 2014, 18.42 million smartphones were shipped in India. Though Samsung is the leader with a 29 per cent market share, Micromax (18 per cent), Karbonn (8 per cent) and LAVA (6 per cent) are close competitors.
While Android is the dominant operating system globally, newer platforms like Firefox and Tizen may emerge as strong challengers to Google’s platform. Last week, Firefox (in partnership with Spice and Intex) launched two new smartphones, priced below Rs 2,300, aimed at those looking to upgrade from feature phones to smartphones.