Google made a mistake; they chose the wrong market to launch the Google edition phones.
For years we have heard Android enthusiasts begging for manufacturers to launch a high end device with unadulterated version of Android. Most prophesied that the company to launch such a device would be propelled to the top of the Android market. Instantly becoming king of the hill since all enthusiasts will line up to buy the device and influence people around them to do the same because pure Android, is the best possible Android experience.
These wishes were fulfilled earlier this year as Google launched the Google edition Galaxy S4 at the I/O conference. A few weeks later, HTC followed suit with a Google experience HTC One.
Yet a few weeks down the line, we have yet to hear the news about the sales of either of these phones going off the charts? Why is that?
Has the Android enthusiast crowd finally fallen in love with Samsung’s TouchWiz, or HTC’s Sense, that the de-Wizzed and non-Sense versions of respective phones failed to disrupt the market as initially predicted?
Of course they haven’t. If the internet is any indication, they still hate TouchWiz as much they did in the past. The problem with these phones is the fact that they’re primarily marketed through Google Play, thus their prices are un-subsidized.
For most people in Asia and most parts of the world, the $650 for a flagship device such as the Google edition HTC One and GS4 is considered cheap, even a crazy bargain, considering that the Play Store’s asking price for these devices are cheaper than the second hand price of the normal versions of these phones in their local markets.
Unfortunately, Google is not selling those devices in Asia. They are selling it first in the US. The land where, thanks to years of carrier subsidy, most people think that a $650 phone is astronomically expensive.
If Google were to launch these two devices in India or Indonesia, they would have sold millions in the first weeks. Why? Because Google’s asking price undercuts Samsung’s and HTC’s offering by at least $150!
C'mon Google make these babies available through the PlayStore in the third world already.