Back at the Google I/O developer conference in June 2014, Google officially unveiled the Android One project, a program in which Google would work hand-in-hand with low-cost smartphone manufacturers in emerging markets. 

The goal of the program is to provide manufacturers with hardware specifications that these companies can use to easily build the most cost-effective smartphone devices, which run the stock Android operating system, similar to the OS found on Google Nexus devices. Android One's initial launch was in India, and it is also now available in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Philippines, and Bangladesh. Beyond South Asia, Google may look to Latin America and Africa as potential regions for Android One expansion, although no announcements have been made.

Android One Creates A Walled Garden

With the help of Android One, Google has already been winning back market share from devices running the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) — an "unofficial" version of the Android mobile operating system that does not include official Google mobile services — throughout 2014. The Android One program will put Google's proprietary mobile services, like Gmail and the Google Play app store, on more low-cost Android devices.  

AndroidAOSPshareBI Intelligence

  • Phones running Google's version of Android accounted for about 65% of total smartphone shipments in the second quarter, according to data from ABI Research. That's up significantly from a 52% share at the end of 2013. 
  • Devices running unofficial Android (or AOSP), without Google's services, accounted for 20% of the total smartphone market in the quarter. Its share has fallen from a peak of 25% at the end of 2013. 
  • Looking at just the Android platform, three out of four Android phones shipped run Google's Android.That's up from just a 68% share in the fourth quarter of 2013.

A resurgence in Google-Android phone shipments through the first half of the year marks an important step for Google in recapturing the market. And with the newly-implemented Android One program — an initiative to provide emerging market vendors with hardware specifications and a stock version of Google Android — Google's hold on the smartphone market will strengthen. 

Android One is Google's answer to the proliferation of devices that run a more bare-bones version of the Android mobile operating system, the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). These devices became popular in emerging markets where first-time smartphone users looked [...]