Google Is Working On A Rs 2000 Android Phone For India!

After unveiling a made-for-India Digital Unlocked program yesterday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai visited his alma mater today, IIT Kharagpur, after 23 years. While interacting with students there, he let slip the fact that Google was working on a US $30 or Rs 2000 Android smartphone exclusively for India.


“We at Google want to focus on usage of Internet in rural areas in India. We are big supporters of the Digital India program. We are also working on digitising payments and I am fully confident that India will be a global player in terms of digital economies,” Sundar Pichai said at IIT Kharagpur earlier today.

 To enable the digital economy, the need for a really cost-effective, inexpensive smartphone is an absolute must, and Mr Pichai and Google is clearly targeting the largely untapped rural smartphone market with this upcoming $30 or Rs 2000 Android smartphone.

 Despite the tantalizing hint on the prospect of a Rs 2000 Android smartphone, Mr Sundar Pichai offered no further details on the specifications or make the $30 smartphone. Will it be similar to the Android One program launched in 2014, where Google tied up with Micromax, Spice and Karbonn to launch inexpensive smartphones in the country? Mr Pichai didn’t give any further comments.

 While we know the upcoming $30 or Rs 2000 Android smartphone from Google won’t be a Project Ara replacement, but we hope it’s a Google branded phone -- like the Pixel, but available for a whole lot less money -- instead of engaging with OEMs.

 Here are some other interesting things that Sundar Pichai said recently on his India visit in 2017. 

 UPI is “phenomenal”

 Sundar Pichai had high praise about the Unified Payments Interface launched by the NPCI, a government body. Pichai said, “These things can have tremendous multiplicative effects for a place like India. This country has a chance to leapfrog some things other countries have struggled with.We’re doing it with cellphones instead of landlines.

Similarly, in digital payments, the UPI stack in India is phenomenal. Something like that doesn’t exist in most countries. I do think we have a unique opportunity. There is a lot more infrastructure here than people realise. The foundations have been set for digitising India on the payment side as well. I am not an expert on this. But I think it is a courageous move and from Google’s perspective, if there is anything we can do to help, we would be glad to do so.”

 No prizes for guessing Pichai’s hints here. We should all look forward to seeing Android and Google Play Wallet supporting UPI very, very soon, for Indian users.

 On autonomous cars 

 “I don’t think a country like India is going to see, as Travis (CEO of Uber) said, completely automated cars. But just like technology is assisting humans, we can make cars so that they are safer, and the driving experience is comfortable and shared,” Pichai said.

 He didn’t comment on any dates or tests for self-driving Google cars in India anytime soon. Guess he knows a thing or two about our crazy on-road driving skills and traffic situation, eh?


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