Date : 07-Feb-2015
Subject : Google takes Android One outside India, launches handset in Indonesia

Google has taken its Android One initiative outside India with a launch in Indonesia in partnership with Spice Mobility's local brand Nexian and two other handset makers, Evercoss and Mito.

This comes at a time when the US search giant's Indian device partners are launching the devices in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

 Indian handset makers are taking separate routes to the overseas markets with home-bred Micromax having launched its Android One phone in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh a month ago and the third partner Karbonn finalising its overseas plans, despite little local consumer interest in the four months since Google launched the Android One initiative in September.

On Friday, Spice Mobility said it will begin selling the 4.5-inch screen Nexian Journey One smartphone in Indonesia, which has 1.3 GHz Quad core processor and nearly the same specifications of the its Dream Uno Android One phone launched in India over four months ago; only Nexian will run on version of Android Lollipop 5.1, the latest operating system update that offers improved battery life and enhanced security features. The company did not reveal the pricing.

Dilip Modi, chairman of Spice Retail, told ET that Spice Mobility will introduce two more devices in varying screen sizes, which will range between Rs 5,000 and Rs 8,000, in India in the coming months. These devices are likely to be launched in Nepal and Sri Lanka simultaneously.

"We're working closely with Google to work on the next set of devices. Android One is a multi-country play for us," he said. "India and Indonesia will become our anchor markets, while others will become support markets for Android One."

Spice will follow a model with two-to-three smartphones on the Android One platform that will have incremental specifications at different price points under Rs 8,000, which will be taken to other markets including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Singapore. Close to 40% of smartphone shipments in the October-December quarter were in the sub-$100 segment (about Rs 6,300), as per Counterpoint Technologies data.

Google's Android One is a project piloted from India aimed at increasing adoption of smartphones, with handsets co-developed with Indian vendors Micromax, Karbonn and Spice.

"All our rollout plans for Android One are on track," a Google spokesperson said when asked about the reported delay in international expansion that was supposed to happen in December.

Micromax launched the Micromax Canvas A1 in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in December and is preparing to launch in other markets, which will be timed on its overall product roadmap. "Micromax continuously evaluates new models depending on the requirements in a particular market," said a spokesperson from the company, which is among the top smartphone vendors in India.


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