Cheap Android One handsets prove hard to sell in India

Google's inexpensive Android One smartphones with a promise of timely updates have been outsold by cheaper devices with better specifications.

Back in July, Google announced the Android One platform, in order to provide a fixed set of hardware specifications to manufacturers developing low cost smartphones and guaranteed timely updates. However, aggressive pricing from rivals such as Xiaomi and Motorola for devices with better specifications has resulted in lack of sales for the Android One smartphones.

The initial batch of Android One devices priced at nearly $100, was manufactured by Micromax, Karbonn and Spice with more companies expected to join the program soon. The smartphones were launched exclusively on e-commerce portals, a strategy which had proven good for Motorola, Xiaomi and Asus in the recent times, in India. According to a report from the Times of India, a total of 480,000 Android One smartphones were imported into India, while Motorola shipped 500,000 Moto E smartphones during the same period.

The failure to sell these devices has urged the manufacturers to sell them offline. Analytics firm Counterpoint Research has revealed that brick and mortar stores are responsible for 88% of smartphone sales in India, but most retailers have decided to not stock the Android One devices due to low profit margins.

Google's plan to control updates on low cost devices was a well appreciated one, but without a proper sales strategy and support from retail channels, it could be a tough one to execute. With more Android One smartphones launching in the near future, it will be important to establish a good sales network and improve from the previous launch.

Source: Times of India | Image via Firstpost

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