Right from inception, Google’s Android One program was focused on producing low cost, high quality smartphones. These phones are made to run stock Android undiluted – exactly how Google made it. Best of all, Google promised regular software updates to users of these devices. The Android One project was an initiative to bring the true Android experience to emerging markets – where many users can’t afford the more expensive Nexus devices.
Since the program was launched (first in India, before spreading to other countries and Africa), it has not been a runaway success. Why? you may ask. In India, it was sold only online. This restricted the sales to a limited set of enlightened people.
Another major complaint among Indian phone makers was the strict Android One hardware requirements Google placed on them. They had only one or two choices for most components, so local manufacturers argued that it is difficult for them to differentiate their devices from those of rivals on both price and features.
In a revamped plan, Google is hoping to relax her rules by giving phone makers more freedom when it comes to components, features and price. In a report by Wall Street journal, Google is working with Lava to release another Android One device as part of this new initiative.
Now, to the more interesting bit, here’s a snippet from Google’s software support page:
Android One phones receive the latest version of Android from Google’s hardware partners. Google’s partners send updates based on their schedule – trying to get them to you as soon as possible. All partners have committed to provide software updates for at least eighteen months after the phone’s initial public launch. This means that all phones will receive at least one major software update and several smaller security updates.
See that highlighted part. It seems Google is letting go of software updates, and leaving us at the mercy of hardware partners. My own concern is that I receive Marshmallow on the Infinix Hot 2. Is Google gradually ruining the Android One program?