Blass just shared a render of an Android One-branded Motorola device. The phone looks identical to the mid-range Moto X4, which Motorola introduced during IFA earlier this month, except for the Android One badge at the bottom of the device. Blass didn’t reveal any other details about the phone, but previous reports suggest we might be looking at the first Android One phone for the United States.
Pieces of the puzzle
Back in January, The Information reported that Google is working with unspecified OEMs to launch Android One in the United States. One potential partner was LG, according to a person familiar to the matter, though The Information stopped short from naming any companies. According to the report, Google was aiming at a $200-$300 price range, with a release by the middle of the year. That didn’t pan out, obviously.
In April, 9to5Google shared several “rumor tidbits” regarding the US launch of Android One, including the name of the two candidate devices for the initial release: Moto X (2017) and a mysterious HTC E37. The publication pointed at a higher price range ($300- $400) and a release around October-November.
Could this be the One?
Back to the present, and we now have palpable evidence that Motorola is part of the Android One project. The Moto X4 will be landing in Europe this month for €399, which somewhat matches 9to5Google’s rumor of a $300-$400 price tag in the US. Phone makers often price devices in Europe at the same nominal price as in the US, just swapping the currency symbol; i.e. €399 >> $399.
It’s possible that the Android One Moto X4 will be launched along the new Pixels, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Google and Motorola would want to put some distance between their devices.
It’s worth noting that The Information said that more OEMs could be allowed to release Android One phones in the US after the initial launch (Google seems selective about who gets to participate). As already mentioned, LG and HTC may be interested.
On a – probably – unrelated note, HTC is said to be in advanced talks with Google for a sale or strategic investment.
Mi A1 for the West
The Moto leak comes just days after Xiaomi introduced its own very attractive Android One device, the Mi A1. I called the Mi A1 the most exciting Android device of the moment, thanks to its excellent value for money and potential to bring better software updates to the masses.
The Mi A1 will be sold in 40 countries, but none of these markets are in Western Europe, US, or Canada. It’s possible that the Android One Moto X4 will be the Mi A1’s counterpart in the West, albeit at a higher price.
Regardless of region, it’s clear that there’s a still a huge appetite for affordable, solid devices that stick close to Google’s vision of what Android should be. It could be a great autumn for budget-minded Android fans.