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The Android One could gut the market for high-end Android phones

Chris Nerney | Sept. 11, 2014
Compared to the glitz and fanfare surrounding Apple's announcement Tuesday of the iPhone 6 and the long-awaited Apple Watch, next week's expected debut in India of Google's Android One smartphones should be a more modest affair. It certainly will be treated that way by the media.

But if Android One delivers a quality Android experience with reasonably acceptable hardware, many high-end Android owners will be more than willing to spend less to get what they need (as opposed to what they want).

I'm one of them. I love my HTC One, but if I wasn't locked into a two-year deal with Verizon, I would have snatched up the Nexus 5 last year for $349 without a contract. 

Samsung, the leading Android manufacturer, knows all too well that this race to the bottom could devastate its high-end, high-margin business. It's one of the reasons the company developed its own mobile OS, Tizen. And the other high-end Android OEMs, such as LG and HTC, have their own financial struggles. 

If you're a satisfied, high-end Android device owner, this might seem like a gloomy prognosis. But I think trying to make the less-expensive Android devices better not only will help Google in the long run, it will be good for consumers. Smartphones break, get lost, and get stolen with amazing frequency. Why continue paying top dollar (either through an unlocked device or a prohibitive carrier contract) for what essentially are disposable devices?


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