We are taking Android One global: Google’s Pichai

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

SUNDAR PICHAI, Senior V-P, Android, Chrome and Apps at Google

Chennai-born Pichai Sundararajan is the man leading Google’s Android One programme at the Internet company’s headquarters in Mountain View. An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, Sundar Pichai, as he is popularly known, joined Google in 2004. Considered by many as the most powerful man in the mobile tech world, Pichai was in New Delhi to launch the Android One programme where he took questions from Indian media. Edited excerpts:

Samsung is the largest Android phone seller and it is not part of the Android One programme. How does this impact your relationship with Samsung?

What you are seeing is the initial set of choice. We will be expanding this programme and you will see lot more choices coming in. I think it is important to remember Android One is an addition on Android. It does not cut in using Android. Samsung is a very good partner. They shipped more smartphones than any other partner in the world. We work with them for many things very closely. Sometimes, in such initiatives we don’t work together initially but later join hands.

The phones being launched with Spice, Karbonn and Micromax have very similar specifications. Would consumers buy this only because of the Android One tag?

Very soon, you would see a wide variety of products. This is about enabling as many users to experience smartphones and we see lot of opportunities here.

The most important part is we are taking Android One globally beyond India.

How is Android One different from Project Ara? When will the day come when a user can choose specifications and get it manufactured?

Project Ara is an advance technology and very different from the Android One programme.

Ara is an ambitious advanced technology initiative to push innovation in the industry.

It is still a while away. Android One is happening now.

Earlier you had said that Android One phones would be priced under $100 (around ₹6,000), so why has that changed? How serious are your partners as they sell other Android products in a similar price band?

I think it is not about Android versus Android One actually. I think the partners are seeing an opportunity tapping a whole new market to gain new customers and soon, better, new offers would come across the range. On the price point, we are aspirational. For example, in the rural areas, users here aspire for the same quality of experience that others have. We never approach partners with any cost initiative and we didn’t say we are going to build a $50 smartphone…our goal was to build high quality smartphone. This is about having the best possible product at the entry level.

Will Android One enable Indian vendors to compete more effectively with Chinese vendors?

Chinese vendors like Xiaomi have been our partners. It is early days for Android One. Today, we have a set of partners who wanted to be with us in this initiative. We have plans to expand the markets significantly with more partners.

Published on September 15, 2014

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