This Tuesday (4) several technology sites published news decreeing the death of the Android One program on Xiaomi. Among the announced casualties was that of the Mi A4, a cellphone not yet made official by the Chinese manufacturer. Despite news “confirming that the company would not launch any other cell phone with Android One”, everything suggests that it was another case of translation error, but even so, the (false) news highlights a problem in Google’s strategy.
The source cited by the websites, the SmartDroid, updated the page mentioned as a source by technology vehicles explaining that everything was just an error of interpretation. Denny Fischer, responsible for the cited article, said that the text is based on market observations, but does not reflect any leakage or inside information from Xiaomi.
Fischer also wrote that it is possible for Xiaomi to launch new devices with Android One, although there are no concrete signs of this.
Problems in 2020
The fact is that the Android One program was the source of some headaches for Xiaomi this year. The update to Android 10 had problems with both the latest model in the line, the A3, and the A2 Lite. In the case of the first, the correction of the problem delayed the distribution of the stable version of the system by one month. The blame remained even for the new coronavirus, and the standardization of Android One promised to reduce the time for updates and decrease the margin for bugs.
The fact is that the launch of the Mi A3 has already completed a year and there is no evidence that the company works on a supposed Mi A4.
The last one to leave …
After the headaches faced by Xiaomi with Android One, an eventual abandonment of the program by the Chinese would not be surprising, and the manufacturer would not be the first to “abandon the boat”.
Flag bearer of the program in Brazil, Motorola, it seems, gave up the pure version of the system on the Moto One line devices, launched just to offer clean Android. The last model of the family that includes participation in the program is One Action, which also completes a year of launch.
Since then, the following Moto One devices have been launched, all without the commitment of Android One updates:
The Google program page for Brazil is another negative sign for Android One, the site lists only five cell phone options, two of which – both from Nokia – have not even been launched in Brazil, even though the Nokia 5.3 model has already been approved by Anatel.
In the last year, the Finnish brand was the only one to launch Android One devices globally, with five models (including 5.3). Another three phones with the system have been announced, but only for specific markets: the Mara Z in Rwanda, the Sharp S7 in Japan and the Moto G Pro in Europe.
Apparently, the program that was born to guarantee Android updates, especially in emerging countries like India and Indonesia, does not live its best days, particularly in Brazil, where it did not reach the mark and today only offers Nokia 2.3 as option launched in the last 11 months.
Wanted by Canaltech to talk about the status of the Android One program, Google responded that it will not comment on the case.
On the other hand…
Despite the pessimistic tone for Android One, it is possible to argue that the program is no longer as relevant, and perhaps it has achieved the goal of shaking manufacturers to offer more frequent updates.
The structure of Android itself has changed in the past five years, becoming less dependent on new versions. Components like Google Play Services and the adoption of new features through updates to the Play Store have reduced the impact of the feared system fragmentation.
Other important changes include adjustments made by Google to facilitate the development of updates and the separation of security patches from versions of the system, which reduced the vulnerability of cell phones even with outdated Android.
Even Motorola, despite dropping the program, has come to commit to at least two years of updates on most of its smartphones. Not only the Chinese brand Lenovo, all major manufacturers have made progress in the distribution of system patches.