The Information: ‘Google to Expand Mid-Range “Android One” Program Into U.S.’

Amir Efrati, reporting for The Information (behind a paywall, alas — here’s The Verge’s regurgitated version if you don’t have a subscription)

For instance, Google recently expressed its displeasure with Huawei after the China-based smartphone giant said earlier this month it would offer Amazon’s Alexa “virtual assistant” on upcoming U.S. phones, according to a person briefed about the matter. (Google developed a rival virtual assistant that will be built into Android phones besides the Pixel later this year.) It’s likely that Huawei made the decision in order to be in Amazon’s good graces, given that Amazon is an important seller of Huawei phones to U.S. customers.

I think it’s more likely that Huawei went with Alexa instead of Google Assistant because Alexa is, you know, actually available to them, right now. Maybe Google shouldn’t be surprised that Android handset makers are looking to Amazon when Google keeps the best new features exclusive to its own Pixel phones. But what do I know?

Google already has lined up at least one phone maker to be a U.S. launch partner for Android One, said one of the people briefed on the program. The identity couldn’t be learned.

You have to love the passive voice. It’s not that Efrati couldn’t learn the identity — the identity couldn’t be learned. It’s unknowable!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017