It looks that way
A few days ago we were all blindsided by Xiaomi’s announcement of a stripped down, pure Android smartphone under Google’s Android One program, the Mi A1. Before that announcement we thought that Google’s initiative was on life support, but it looks like they’re is taking a new tack with Android One, re-positioning it as a logical replacement for the company’s Nexus program.
Android One for those not familiar, was an initiative started by Google back in 2014 which lays out hardware and software guidelines for manufacturers to stick to. It was primarily aimed at low-end devices for developing markets, with Google teaming up with local brands to deliver a pure Android experience, as well as guaranteed updates to entry-level devices, making the initiative analogous to the company’s Nexus program.
But sales for Android One phones weren’t the best, and slow hardware certification plus stiff competition (sometimes from rival devices within the same brands) made budget Android One phones a tough sell. The project seemed to die off in 2016, as local brands stopped offering Android One powered phones in the market.
From what we’ve been seeing with Xiaomi’s recent announcement and Motorola’s rumored involvement, it seems to us that Google is re-positioning Android One to cater to mid-range phones and customers. With their vaunted Nexus program gone replaced by the much more expensive Pixel line of smartphones, it only makes sense that Google position Android One to pick up the slack. The mid-range market is where the Nexus program started with anyway, and since Android One devices are among the first phones that get the newest version of Google’s Android OS, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Android One takes the place of the Nexus program.