Science and Tech


Google Teases India Event, Possible Android One Reveal

Google has announced a Sept. 15 event in India during which they're expected to reveal their Android One phones.
Posted at 10:32 PM, Sep 01, 2014

If you're in the market for a cheap Android phone, you might want to save the date: Google has sent out invitations to a press event in India, and it's a safe bet the company will talk about its new Android One program there.

NDTV first reported on the invitations, which simply announce Google's got something big planned for Sept. 15. The invite teases more details will be announced closer to the date — but NDTV's not shy about predicting that the announcement has something to do with Android One.

Google first announced Android One during their I/O developer conference back in June. The program amounts to a set of low-cost standards for device makers, designed to help manufacturers make cheap, reliable Android phones — with a target baseline of under $100 for production costs.

And it makes sense to reveal the first Android One phones in India, where the smartphone market is growing at a rapid pace — annual growth in the country often exceeds 160 percent.

Google's announcement comes a week after Apple released its own mysterious invite, teasing what could be the iPhone 6 on Sept. 9, possibly alongside an iWatch of some kind.

The invitations might look similar, but the two companies have completely different approaches to the smartphone market. While production of Apple's iPhones is tightly controlled by the company, Google's already announced three different manufacturers — Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice — who will be producing Android One phones.

And while Apple's phones are mostly restricted to premium shoppers, Google's aiming to capture the lower end of the market with Android One — something a BGR writer predicts will put developing smartphone markets firmly in Google's grasp.

"Google has essentially no competition in this space. ... If an Android One device becomes a community’s first smartphone, and it transforms their lives in the way that smartphones have transformed developed markets like North America, the ecosystem stranglehold could provide Google with an entire [generation] of repeat Android buyers."

Google's already captured a pretty impressive share of the smartphone market — bigger than you might think given Apple's reputation. According to one recent analysis, Android accounts for approximately 84 percent of the smartphone market worldwide.