Google’s presence in the UK smartphone market has traditionally been via the Android operating system, but recent sales figures suggest that the company could finally be making an impact in hardware.
Sales of the Moto G, a budget smartphone from Google subsidiary Motorola, helped the company’s UK market share jump from 0 per cent to 6 per cent in the three months to the end of February, says analysts Kantar WorldPanel.
The handset, which retails for £135 off-contract, comes with 8GB of memory, a 4.5-inch screen, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and a 5-megapixel camera. It received positive reviews across the board and was widely hailed as a successful attempt by Google to create a capable and functional smartphone that didn’t cost the earth.
The new report from Kantar says that the Moto G has found its market amongst lower income groups, with half of owners aged between 16 and 24, 83 per cent of them male and 40 per cent earning under £20,000.
However, this news is counteracted by the fact that smartphone penetration in the UK stands at 70 per cent, with 86 per cent of devices sold in the past three months being smartphones – a figure that has barely changed in the last six months. This means that the Moto G will have to work hard to steal sales from other manufacturers.
The future of this potentially disruptive device is also in question with Motorola’s handset division being sold to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo in the new few months. Google reported a loss on the Motorola subsidiary of up to a billion dollars a quarter, and it’s not certain whether or not Lenovo will be content to subsidize this pricing just in order to grab a foothold in the UK market.