Sunday, January 17, 2010

Will Google Phone create impact ?

Google Nexus is competing against handset partners like Motorola, HTC, Sony Ericsson, LG and Samsung, which have been rolling out their own smartphones running on Google's Android operating system software.

“Android is a mobile operating system running on the Linux kernel. It was initially developed by Android Inc., a firm later purchased by Google, and lately by the Open Handset Alliance. It allows developers to write managed code in the Java language, controlling the device via Google-developed Java libraries. The unveiling of the Android distribution in late 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 47 hardware, software, and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards for mobile devices. Google released most of the Android code under the Apache License, a free software and open source license”.

Android phones are now making an impact and are expected to surge from their current 2 per cent global market share of smartphones to 14 per cent in 2012 - placing the search giant in second position behind long-time market leader Symbian (most commonly found in Nokia phones).

Google selling the N1 directly to customers through its new Web store, Google is ruffling the feathers of telcos globally which might see their direct relationship with consumers using lock-in contracts weakened.

SingTel, is launching a Motorola Android phone here (new to Singapore, but already launched months ago worldwide). But with the latest top-of-the-line N1 now available via a three-day DHL delivery, it has taken the shine off the impending launch.

Google has proven itself to be a master strategist in the way it works. When it was a dwarf, it played its role as a humble free search engine for the Web, making friends with everyone and enemies with no one. But since becoming a public-listed behemoth, Google has pulled out all the stops to compete and is not afraid to ruffle feathers. Google looks set to disrupt the tech world by giving out free software to consumers. Unlike other tech companies which make money by selling products, Google earns money from online advertisements, and the more people get online, the more Google earns.

Integral to that, Google will try to grow the base of Android phones. If Android becomes a dominant phone platform, then Google can make its apps and ads optimised for the phone. At the same time, it is insurance against other phone platforms blocking its apps, as Apple did when it blocked Google Voice from the iPhone's App Store in 2009.

The N1 is designed by Google but made by HTC, so if the phone sells well, HTC benefits. But by choosing HTC over other handset makers, Google risks alienating them. Will Google work with all of its key handset partners to roll out the N2s and the N3s ?? Wait and see.

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