Update:Google reached out to us and clarified that Android One will continue to function as a platform, with the search giant working with its global partners to roll out affordable hardware with a stock Android user interface.
Original story follows:
Google has failed to make strides with the Android One platform in India, but the search giant isn't giving up on the initiative. The program will be "a part of the broader hardware strategy," and will co-exist with Rick Osterloh's newly-minted hardware division.
In an interview with Economic Times, Mike Hayes, director of business development for Android and Chrome partnerships said:
Android One has become a part of the broader hardware strategy, under which Motorola's Rick Osterloh has joined Google recently. Google is taking a broader view of its hardware business. So you should expect to see a position around what we are doing on low-end devices all the way through.
We still continue to support a number of OEMs (original equipment makers) that partnered with us on the programme. However, speeds at which the devices are coming to the market are completely dependent upon the OEMs.
We still have interest from a number of OEMs wanting to work with us on programmes like the Android One. The program is about mass market low-end devices, more affordability and to drive services into the market, and the premium things that we are working on with a number of OEMs.
Hayes confirmed that new Android One handsets will launch in due course of time, and that Google will continue to partner with local vendors Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice.
The freedom to choose components is now around for OEMs. The decision to procure the components to build the device is still very much taken by the OEM, as they decide everything in terms of specification, pricing, and when to launch. We work around the software elements such as bringing services and Android as a platform OS on to those devices.
The executive also talked about carrier billing, which was enabled for Idea Cellular subscribers earlier this week. Google is currently in talks with other carriers to bring the feature to more customers in the country:
We are actively engaging with other major carriers. I can't give a specific date but we expect that in the short term, there will be several announcements that we would announcing with them. We have learnt a lot and are able to talk intelligibly what those opportunities are with the carriers.
We'll likely hear more about what's planned for Android One at I/O 2016, which starts on May 18.
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