Google’s Android One platform was originally designed to provide low-cost Android devices to developing markets without the stuff that usually comes with low-cost Android devices: bloatware, competing services, and a crippling lack of software and security updates. Now, according to a report from The Information, the program is about to make it’s way to the US market to help solve those problems.
Android One phones have historically been produced by companies you probably haven’t heard of, like Micromax, Cherry, and QMobile. Originally Google had a direct hand in detailing what components would go into the phone, but apparently became more flexible over timeand eventually expanded the program beyond India to parts of Africa, Spain, and Portugal.
Android One may not have been the rousing worldwide success Google was hoping for, but it’s still an important initiative for the company. Especially at the low end, there’s a lot of incentive for manufacturers to pile on extra software in a bid to make those devices more profitable — but that could cut against Google’s efforts to make its own services more pervasive and popular. As Efrati points out in his report, Huawei recently opted for Amazon’s Alexa assistant instead of Google’s on its phones (The Google Assistant isn’t yet available for non-Google phones), which apparently caused some tension between the companies.