India is the second largest smartphone market in the world, the internet and LTE adoption is staggering. Thus, undoubtedly a number of tech behemoths like Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Microsoft and Apple are trying everything to grab a sizable share of the pie. To stay ahead in the race, Google has recently launched its Android Skilling program that is attributed to hone the skills of 2 million mobile developers in India for the next three years.
With around 4 million developers by 2018, India is expected to account the maximum number of developers in the world, overtaking the US. The similar move came from Apple as well when it announced to set up a Design and Development accelerator program by early 2017 to sharpen the skills of potential developers in India for its iOS platform.
The Google’s move is being seen as the dawn of the world class Android education which has finally arrived in India. The Android development fundamental course would be launched by Google under National Skill Development Corporation of India at a number of universities and colleges in India. The course would be included in Computer Science curricula and would be taught by trained and certified instructors. Those who aren’t able to take the classes in person can access the course material online as it’s an open source course.
On the successful completion of the course and passing the exam, the trainees would be provided with Association Android Developer Certificate that will aid them in the job hunt. The certificate has a global reach, and one has to pass the exam to become an Android developer.
Google’s training partners for the course are; Koenig, Edureka, Simplilearn, UpGrad, Manipal Global and Udacity to maintain the level of the course and the staff.
The purpose of introducing the program is to enhance the skills of the budding developer community to make them ready to work for Android platform.
What’s in it for Google
Firstly, India is a land of talent, and that talent is available at a cheaper cost when compared to other countries. This may be one of the reasons for Google and Apple launching their development courses in India.
Besides, compared to iOS, Android developers around the world earn half; on Android platform, the average monthly revenue remains $4.9k while on iOS its $8.1k. 55% of the Android developers around the world earn less than $1000 annually, while the percentage of iOS developers who fall under same earning bracket is just 47%. Clearly, Google will have to work hard in this area by sharpening the skills of Android developers and make them ready to compete with their counterparts.
However, developing an app for Android is a difficult task because a developer has to face some challenges to tackle the constant Android fragmentation problem.
Secondly, India is an emerging smartphone market with just 17% smartphone penetration. While the global smartphone shipments are moving towards saturation, Gartner has estimated 29% YoY growth in a total number of smartphone shipments in India in 2016. Android has dominated the smartphone OS market in India, around 97% of the smartphone are running on Android OS clearly outplaying Apple that has a little 2% of the smartphone OS market share in the country. Google doesn’t want to loose out the edge it has got over Apple in the country, and to counter Apple’s efforts to strengthen its iOS developers community, Google must make Android developers ready for the more futuristic apps.
India is the Golden egg laying hen for Google
The Silicon Valley giant has recently launched its Project Loon in India to provide free internet to millions of people staying in remote areas or Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. Another similar project, Google’s free Wi-Fi initiative partnered with RailTel, at the railway stations, was launched by the smartphone OS behemoth early this year. The move may be attributed to the fact that Google is vying for the untapped internet population of India which in turn would help in expanding Google’s user base. As a major part of Google’s revenue is fed through advertisements, the more the number of people staying connected with Android more is the revenue through advertisement.
One can foresee the hidden interest of Google behind its capital and idea investments in the country. Google’s wants to get most out of the growing opportunities in the country and is well aware of the fact that this could be achieved only by strengthening the whole Android ecosystem in the country.