Teaming with Xiaomi Google invades emerging markets
8 September, 2017
Google and Xiaomi last Tuesday revealed their new partnership by presenting the Mi A1 device in New Delhi – the first under the Android One banner. The partnership marks a departure from Google’s earlier cheap-gadgets approach, and is intended to shore up their presence in the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market. Launched in India at the end of 2014, Android One was a signature project of Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, then head of Android at Google. A native of the country, he pushed to get more people in emerging markets online. His initiative was to make quality Android smartphones, with stock Android experience, available to users at affordable prices. The initial crop of Android One smartphones came a couple of years ago, from Indian phonemakers such as Micromax, Spice, Karbonn and Lava. They offered basic specifications and were available at entry-level prices. However, the initiative didn’t really take off as the devices were too modest and had no outstanding features to draw users. Google has decided to up the game and offer better hardware on Android smartphones. “Google came to us in Q4 of last year as they were seeking to evolve their Android One program,” Xiaomi Senior Vice President Wang Xiang said.
Xiaomi’s new all-aluminium smartphone with a dual camera, which will be on the market in India on 12 September, is aimed at the middle market. It will be sold in countries from Indonesia and Vietnam to Russia and Mexico as well. It was SoftBank Group Corp. that convinced Google to move away from cheap gadgets, Android Vice President Jamie Rosenberg said.