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The real reason Google gave up on the Android One program

When Google announced the Android One Program a couple years ago, it had big promises — bring the Nexus experience to the masses. If we have more sub-$100 smartphones with the latest Android OS, more people will flock and switch from feature-phones to smartphones. The latest Android updates will now be available to select budget devices, a feature only available to flagship and Nexus phones.

Google launched the Android One program in the Philippines last February 2015 with two local smartphone brands in tow — Cherry Mobile One and the MyPhone Uno. This meant the two devices will have guaranteed updates from Google for two years (the reason why the Cherry Mobile One is getting an Android 7.1.1 Nougat update).


The initial release was a good start. Demand was there. Cherry Mobile and MyPhone’s participation was well-received.

However, there were no new Android One phones released after then (the last one was the Cherry Mobile One G1 in August 2015), at least in the Philippines. The reasons were unclear, until now after we talked with the partner brands. As it turns out, Google did not have the budget resources to continue the program as it is. The Android One program required resources, a development team that will focus on providing updates and testing each single device that’s part of the program. Growing the list of devices would also mean growing the team of engineers that would ensure regular updates for at least 2 years.

Since Google’s revenue model hinges on the ads that are shown on these Android One devices, perhaps the volume of units released was not enough to justify putting additional resources in the program.

When discontinuation of the program was eventually revealed, some brand partners offered to tackle the problem of ensuring regular updates for the foreseeable future. Google was open to the idea but it needed all Android One partner brands to agree with this setup, which didn’t get the nod of everyone. Eventually, the program was shelved.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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17 Responses

  1. easy e says:

    Parang di ko madigest ang reason na yan. Mas madaming subsidiaries ang Alphabet na di kumikita at mas malaki pa (siguro/malamang) ang losses. Sure naman ang kita sa ads ng google android. Sana ituloy nila lalo pa at napakamahal ng pixel.

  2. haelmikir says:

    I was looking around the web for a while regarding info on the Android One project (i’m using a CM One G1 for more than a year now). This makes sense now. I just feel bad that there were no updated phones for it that is available in the PH… and there will never be..

  3. NotASheep says:

    Or it’s because it was partnered by a company we have low expectations from?

    Cherry = Cheap and Brittle
    MyPhone = Expensive and Low Spec.

  4. Allen says:

    I have the myphone uno and the memory is not even enough to download the updates. I have uninstalled all the apps except the necessary ones.

  5. The author must have confused Cherry Mobile One, the first generation Android One phone launched in the Philippines, with Cherry Mobile One G1, the second generation Android One device which was also launched in the Philippines. It is the 2nd gen device that got the 7.1.1 Nougat update (the link he supplied points to the article about the 2nd gen G1). And this fact also debunks his statement that “there were no new Android One phones released after then, at least in the Philippines.”

  6. V. Q. says:

    RIP Nexus and Android One projects, you will be missed. But I think Google joining the premium smartphone train is a good step towards stock Android getting recognized in the market. But that just leaves us poor Android fans devastated since there are no more local phones that guarantees up-to-date software (except CM One G1).

  7. accel says:

    Another reason to blame here is how fragmented Android is. Developing an Android OS isn’t a “one size fits all” affair – you’ve got many hardware configurations to develop the OS for. It’s not like your typical desktop OS where you can just install it on any hardware configuration and call it day. And this is one problem that Google needs to sort out.

  8. radioactive balut says:

    “Google has no resources” is a bs excuse from Google’s Android One partners. Demand was really there but searching a needle in a haystack was a lot easier task than finding Android One unit in the wild. Sabotage was more likely the real reason for Android One’s failure.

  9. dito nakakalamang ang apple. kahit na luma na ang device nakaka-update pa rin. sa android kahit wala pang 1 year yung device wala na, nganga. kasi nga kumita na sila.

    • mehhh says:

      Depende sa manufacturer. Kuha ka ng Nexus devices or Pixel, sure ang updates for 2 years (or more?).

  10. el gato says:

    boss, may official announcement na ba ang google regarding android one program cessation/termination ?

    wala kasi akong makita sa internet…

  11. el gato says:


    Android One devices
    Android One phones get the latest version of Android from Google’s hardware partners. Google’s partners send updates based on their schedules, trying to get them to you as soon as possible.

    When your Android One will get updates
    After an update is available, it can take up to two weeks to reach your phone. When the update is ready to be installed on your phone, a message on your phone will say, “System update available.” You’ll need to connect to the Internet to get the notification and to download the software.

    How long your Android One will get updates
    All partners have committed to giving software updates for at least 18 months after the phone’s launch. All Android One phones will get at least one major software update and several smaller security updates.

    from 2 years of continued support, now down to 18 months, straight from the horse’s mouth.
    i guess no more android nougat update for cherry mobile android one (first gen).

    false advertising by google and cherry mobile? failure to hold their promise?


  12. el gato says:

    nalilito na ako. galing sa isang indian website, may android one v2.0 daw, old news, may 2016:

  13. technoob says:

    So, ganun pala. Pero from what I see, it is because google has no more interests whatsoever in phone manufacturers anymore. Kaya nila ginawa ang pixel. It’s Google’s phone, not LG, Sony, Huawei, Samsung or whosoever. It’s their vision; providing the world their “own” tech. Chromebook, chromecast, pixel, the OS from google and everything.

  14. Andorid Pancake says:

    You might want to update this article, considering the release of the Xiaomi Mi A1 and the upcoming (as of March 2018) Nokia line of Android One phones. Also worth noting is the rumored plans of one local brand of releasing an Android One Go device.

  1. December 30, 2016

    […] via The real reason Google gave up on the Android One program — YugaTech | Philippines Tech News &… […]

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