I woke up and opened my browser. Google news greeted me with a new story.
I’m glad I wasn’t drinking coffee. I would have spit it out and then buy a new laptop to write this. For a second, I thought someone was playing a very well orchestrated joke on me.
So I decided to get on my computer, read up on the deal and then quickly share my thoughts. As someone who eats, sleeps, and breathes mobile I realize how big of an announcement this is. So, What does this mean for Android?
Google now has control of 30% of the Android Market
Instead of just playing in the software / cloud space, Google is now a manufacturer … and a big one. Google now has the ability to transform a third of all Android handsets into their vision. If there was any question about their commitment to Android, it’s just been answered.
Google takes one step closer to being Apple
One fact touted by iPhone (and Mac OS X) fans is the tight integration of hardware and software. Everything was made together from the ground up, in the same house, under the same roof, and works together beautifully. Now Google is in that game too. Also, Google finally now has a direct financial incentive to make Android great (it will drive sales). Remember my previous warning!
The “Microsoft Model” is gone
As mentioned, Microsoft never got into the production of PCs. Android, up to this point, had been following a modified version of the Microsoft Model (make the software; sell (or give away in Android’s case) the software; stay away from the hardware; let the market forces drive down prices competition, and increase your market share; rule the world). Now, they have a 30% influence in the hardware side of the equation. Welcome to the “Google Model”.
Handset Makers will be Mad!!! (possibly)
I think if you ask anyone why Microsoft never made computers or laptops the answer is obvious: you will piss off your customers. You and I are not Microsoft’s customers, it’s the Dell’s, HP’s, and Lenovo’s of the world. Most people get Windows from a new computer, not from a box. For Android that turns into 100% (you always get Android through a phone maker). Google’s customers are Samsung, HTC, LG, and (formerly) Motorola. Now they are competing against all of them, but have a clear advantage. This will get interesting …
This may not impact users … really
The truth is, most people don’t follow tech news. There is a good chance this deal may not even come into the minds of most consumers in a store looking for a new phone. I do think sales reps will start pushing Motorola phones with a new vigor, but until Google actually brands a phone as the Google xxxxx 4G, it may not affect your average consumer.
This will make or break Android!!!
This will be very good for Android or very bad. If all the other makers of Android devices decide they don’t want to compete with the maker of the OS that they are selling, things will get ugly. HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson would all eventually drop support for Android (maybe for Windows Phone 7). And since Google has NO proficiency in designing or selling hardware (remember the failure of the Nexus One), Motorola-Google-Android could quickly die. Then Google is the sole maker of Android phones, but is incapable of selling them correctly.
But, on the other hand, this could now force the standardization that Android needs and solve a lot of the crappy usability issues the platform is plagued with. And, if handled properly, handset makers won’t fear the competition if it results in better sales.
Too much to predict
I’m trying to predict how consumers, the market, manufacturers, Microsoft, Apple, and my mother will be affected by this, but it’s overwhelming. I don’t want this to turn into a 10 page list of every possible impact … so I will end it now.
– Damien Peters