Google’s Nexus One Tactic is the Only Way to Keep Up

| Editorial

Technology developers tend to move fast while vendors tend to minimize their investment to maximize profits. That's a modern paradox, and despite what some people think, the only way for Google to compete is to both supply the Android license and compete with partners with its own phone.

All things being equal, makers of consumer electronics would rather just do nothing when it comes to updating their products. They don't like to retool, re-write manuals, and change specifications and Websites -- so long as the money keeps rolling in. That may have worked in the 1970s to the 1990s for home electronics, but it no longer works in 2010 (which is not the start of a new decade, by the way. The new decade starts Jan 1, 2011.)

The pace of the development in Software tools in this decade has been staggering. Whether it's with Java, Ruby (and Ruby on Rails), NetBeans, Eclipse, new languages, you name it, it's clear that better tools are creating new technologies, tools and languages. Groovy is just one example. My wife, who is heavily into Java, professionally, reports that she has to study, learn and work at home, just keep up.

Nexus One

Credit: The Nexus One from Google.com

As a result it's no longer satisfactory for Google to just sit back and watch its Android licensees fritter away time and opportunity. Some Android phones, as a result, still ship with pre-2.0 versions. If Google is going to surpass Windows Mobile, it has to promote its smartphone OS in a visible way that spurs its partners to move along. That's why, I believe, that Microsoft's Robbie Bach is wrong when he said that Google will have a hard time attracting new partners when it competes with its own phone.

Of course, the remarks by Mr. Bach could be taken as seriously self-serving. Microsoft is having an increasingly hard time attracting partners to its own Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile 6.5 was met with a tepid response, and Windows 7, which is supposed to solve all Microsoft's Mobile OS problems is very late. It may ship late in 2010 according to the latest report I've seen.

As Mac users we have seen Apple move us relentlessly forward with Mac OS X. That drives many companies and government agencies crazy because they would just as soon settle on an internal suite of COTS and in-house software and be done forever, spending no more money. However, high technology companies like Apple and Google can't afford to do business that way. Smartphones and tablets are the wave of the future, and Google knows as well as anyone that the only way it can keep up with Apple and kick the stuffing out of Microsoft is to build, essentially, a reference platform that shows its partners what they should be investing in.

Android is freely licensed, but carriers are always looking for ways to minimize their efforts and costs and maximize their profits. That's why Apple had to strike the deal it did with AT&T. And that's why Google is selling the Nexus One. In the age of the smartphone, the mantra is move forward fast or become irrelevant. Google and CEO Eric Schmidt learned that in spades from Apple.

Comments

studentx

Man do you have it wrong. Even if they can minimize costs will it really make a difference? Apple has cornered the market on just about everything that goes into an iPod/iPhone. The economy of scale their working on has already crushed the portable music/video market.

Surely, this will minimize any cost advantage the Android platform will have from a free OS?

If not, the fact that there is so much fractalization in the Android market that it will only drive up support costs as carriers push out model (gimmick) after model (gimmick) trying to get an edge on the iPhone.

John Martellaro

Actually,  I explained Google’s rationale, not the full fall out. Taken together, I think we both have it right.

Al

studentx, when you say “?The economy of scale their working on?” I believe you mean “?they’re working on?”

geoduck

(which is not the start of a new decade, by the way. The new decade starts Jan 1, 2011.)

Been there done that. I remember in 1999-2000 going on and on with people about how the Millennium didn’t start until 2001. It seemed to make no impression.

If Google is going to surpass Windows Mobile,

It just has to maintain a pulse and little else. IMO WinMobile’s days are numbered and it will die quietly in a couple of years regardless of what Apple, Google, or RIM do. It isn’t just that Android is better than WM (IMO). It is that there are several alternatives to WM that are free. AFAIK MS still charges for WM. It’s like the browser wars all over again. Adequate and free will beat perfect and costly most of the time, and WM is nowhere near perfect.

Nexus could herald a new era where most phones are sold and you go to any carrier you want to get service. I’d love to see that. I’d love to be able to buy an iPhone and walk into any carrier and see what a deal they would cut to get my business. That would put me back in charge.

(Mind you I’m in Canada home of the Big “It’s Not Collusion if We Accidentally Have Exactly The Same Abusive Prices And Terms” Three cell providers. YMMV south of the border.)

studentx

Its not the Nexus we have to thank for a new era, its Apple’s iPhone. The iPhone changed the telecom model forever by placing the phone before the network.

Before the iPhone manufactures had little control over how the phone was sold, which resulted in features being removed from the phone like bluetooth and WiFi to maintain the network’s monopoly over services by making you use their network for all data transfers.

But in my opinion Android will be the new WINMO of mobile phones, but certainly not with any monopoly share of the market.

Mark_S

I definitely agree that Google needed to take the bull by the horns and drive things forward more quickly.

The iPhone doesn’t have a monopoly in the same sense that MS has so sadly and destructively held for far too long.

We need Google to be a big success in this field, to drastically undermine current and future MS power, and I believe they will achieve that.

It will be very refreshing to see Apple and Google as the main players in future developments, leaving Ballmer hollering into the wind “I’m going to f***ing kill Google and Apple .....” in his usual “what the hell is this idiot doing as a CEO” antics.

wab95

That drives many companies and government agencies crazy because they would just as soon settle on an internal suite of COTS and in-house software and be done forever, spending no more money. However, high technology companies like Apple and Google can’t afford to do business that way.

IMO if MS did not exist, Apple and/or Google would have to invent something like just to keep enterprise off their backs while they got on with the business of rapid innovation/development. I think you have underscored the fundamental difference between the business/govt and consumer markets and the current polarisation in their tech consumer behaviour.

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