Google is reportedly chalking out details of an initiative, which will allow the consumers in emerging markets to access certain Android apps for free on their smartphone. According to The Information, the search giant has been in talks with wireless carriers as well as third-party app developers for the same in the recent months.
“Data costs are still stifling app usage in emerging markets like India, spurring Google to talk to third-party app developers about discounting data costs for their users. The effort is also a gambit by Google to sell more Android One phones as potential rivals like Xiaomi and Cyanogen enter such markets,” wrote The Information in its report.
The publication notes that the initiative will be an improved version of something called “zero rating,” which has been prevalent for years, but typically includes one-off deals between a telecom operator and an app developer like WhatsApp or Twitter to offer access to that app for free. Google’s version of zero rating will be broader and include multiple apps or allow any dev to partner Google for this program.
Google is likely to initially bring the support for this initiative to Android One smartphones in markets such as India, where existing telecom partnership with Airtel already allows the Android One to users to download Android apps for six months for free from Google Play (upto 200MB per month).
No other details are available at this point, but we hope to hear from Google regarding the zero rating initiative at the I/O developer conference in May this year.
Google to set-up team for Android One in India
In other Android One developments, Google is planning to set-up a team of engineers to works on Android One in Hyderabad, India, reports The Economic Times. This team will include around 50 people, which will lead the development on Android One.