Google’s Android One partners in India, namely Spice, Karbonn and Micromax, decided to make their handset available exclusively online. And this has caused a bit of an issue for the search giant as leading retail stores across the country are refusing to open their doors to its devices.
The culprit, as you’ve probably guessed, is tensions between e-commerce websites and brick-and-mortar stores mainly since purchasing products online is more convenient than physically visiting a nearby shop. In short, the former is ‘stealing’ business from the latter.
The Times of India has learnt from 5 different senior executives that major names such as Planet M Retail, Lot Mobiles, Reliance Retail, Croma, Future Group and Sangeetha Mobiles, amongst others, haven’t stocked up on any of the three Android One smartphones. These brands operate a total of 1800 stores across the country, thus causing a huge problem for Google.
On the upside, there are still many outlets which are offering these handsets, as we reported a couple of days back. But that might not be the case for long. The report goes on to say that The MobileStore and UniverCell have been selling Karbonn’s Sparkle V phone for a couple of weeks now and they don’t intend on expanding the portfolio with the other two Android One devices mainly due to low sales.
Overall, Google’s plan of bringing its mobile OS to the next 5 billion looks to be headed downhill. And the cause of this is the immense competition in the same price range especially from Motorola, Asus and Xiaomi which have been successfully selling their handsets online.
It’s most likely that Google will work things out with local retailers. But if not, the Android One project will suffer a huge blow.