Don’t Hold Your Breath…

gphone_concept..because I don’t think we will ever see Google itself manufacture a handset for Android.  One of the pieces of buzz right now is how people are wishing that Google would be like Apple and create a piece of hardware that will run the Android system at its best. While I would LOVE to see that, we have to remember that Google is not in the hardware business, but the search industry.

Now before you go off citing different products that Google does make, hear me out.  Google at it’s core is a search company- everything they do is geared towards generating revenue for itself through keywording as it relates to advertising.  The genius in their multi-layered plan is that Google layers their core business value behind dead useful applications that users simply fall in love with.  ALL of those applications are geared towards targeting advertising towards those users in an unassuming but right in front of you way.  If any of you have ever used gmail you will know what I mean.  When you are reading one of your emails, you see ads that are targeted at the keywords in the title of your email, and in your body text that is sent to you.  It is pretty ingenious,and makes Google a lot of money.  This is not some nefarious plan; It is simply a “give and take” business model that I think is really not a bad one.  They give us some great applications, we give them our attention and info.

Apply that thinking to the Android platform.  They (Google) feed keywords to you, and then in turn, you feed those to advertisers who are going to pay you to target certain individuals.  Would you not be looking for ways to get your applications and search engine into as many people’s hands as possible?  Of course!  This is EXACTLY what Google is doing with Android.

I think that Google has created a business model where they are seeking for users to be using Android without even knowing it.  They want the Android experience to be almost transparent, like using Google in your web browser is now.  When you want to search something, you go to Google.  It is second nature.  Google wants you to start doing that with your data enabled smart phone.

Look at the scads of phones that are coming out with Android installed.  Every major manufacturer has jumped on board and are hard at work creating the killer handset.  From a business standpoint, using Android makes incredible sense.  It’s easily obtainable, open source and there’s very little investment risk into putting the OS on their equipment.  Couple that with the power of Google as a company and you have a no-brainer.  Google provides them with a promising platform that a lot of people are excited about and will sell handsets.  What does Google get?  Think about it.

Google gets you using their products constantly.  You search, read emails, use Google voice, and more.  It tracks your movements through maps, and it keeps track of what types of places you are searching for when you are looking for directions.  What does Google get? A TREASURE TROVE of info. Every single second they get access to your habits in spending, listening, emailing and searching.  This makes it that much easier to target you as an individual for advertising.

Essentially, Google is looking to get Android into as many hands as possible so that they can continue expanding their core function – search.

I think our desire for an Android handset that runs fast and smooth comes from looking at the iPhone.  Admittedly, the iPhone is a great piece of hardware.

With the iPhone, you have a great unit.  One that is an Apple built piece of hardware that pushes the OS to it’s limits.  With this great piece of equipment comes a HEAVY price tag of development.  Hence why the unit is pricey.  Yes, it’s coming down, that is for sure, but the newest versions are still up there.  Apple needs to recoup their investment and expand their business.  Google on the other hand, has VERY little monetary risk to recoup, and will make what they do have invested back through advertising pretty quickly.

I think that we will continue to see the Android foot print expanding as the different carriers work hard to bring an iPhone-like experience to an Android handset.  We will see Google focus on the different branches of updates, continue merging all their services with Android, making their applications more accessible to the handsets that are using the OS.

The end result being Android for the masses.  These masses will then return the favor with a wealth of information to Google.  Information which enriches their advertising strategy, in turn continuing to fuel them with money.  Google is a for profit business.  Their profit comes when you use their products.  They don’t want to build the best handset for their Android platform, they want as many people as possible using their product.  Don’t hold your breath for Google to make you a sweet handset, you will certainly lose.

  • kanzlr

    lol, thats windows mobile on the rendering 🙂

  • TareX

    After seeing the horrendous afterbirth that were the leaked Microsoft handsets, I'm not so sure about wanting Google to make its own phones…. I only wish HTC hired the same people who designed their WinMo phones…

  • TareX

    And nice one about Google not wanted the best phone for Android, but they want the most people using Android… which is something I never thought of…. Very good article. Android is meant to spread, not be the best.

    • Pulse

      Android is meant to spread and thereby be the best – attaining critical mass.

    • Thank you Tarex, I obviously agree with you as well lol!

  • BackInAction

    To the end user, the iPhone and the Android cost nearly the same. The biggest problem with Android is Google. They put out this OS hoping it would take off (Open source is a geek's pipe dream, nothing consumers care about) and never really pushed it all that much or put much effort into making it better sooner. And it doesn't help that since they don't control the hardware they end up with the G1 which is the "Osborne 1" of smartphones.

    While I've never been too concerned about phone looks, I am constantly amazed at how often it is a major selling point for a phone. Just look at the number of cell-phone stores (most often just "authorized resellers") that don't even have working models. Yet they still sell phones. That's like buying a car after just sitting in a plastic model it in the showroom. I almost bought some LG phone at Verizon some time back, but the store didn't have a single working model. WTF? All they could do was keep telling me it "looks good". That was their sales pitch, along with dropping the price and/or activation. Eventually, they powered up a phone, but until it is all setup you can't use 80% of the features (like Internet). That's just silly, but it works for so many idiot consumers.

    If Google wants more Androids on the market in order to feed their search engine, they need to put a bit more effort into the platform/OS. And put some real minimum specs on the hardware in which it is installed. Until then it will continue to be a step-child in the smartphone business. Though they just might get lucky given that Palm just announced they are nearly DOA and MS lost all of its phone business to RIM (BB). I guess 3rd place in a three horse race isn't so bad (ooops! Forgot about Symbian phones….lol). I think of BB as primarily a business phone, yet I see more BB in hands of soccer moms than I do any other phone device. In fact, I have yet to see a woman using an iPhone. But I'm older (40 with 3 kids) so maybe I don't hang with the iPhone crowd.

    Sorry about the rant…..FWIW, I plan to get an Android in the coming months, which one? Who knows?!!?

    • I am not sure that open sourse is a geek's pipe dream, I use several open sourced programs that work very well, you are reading one of them as we use WordPress here at Androidguys. I use Joomla for websites, zencart and osCommerce for shopping carts, I use open office and Google docs for my word processing, and I use google voice for my voice communications. All of those are working, dependable open sourced applications.

      I do however agree with you on the whole plastic handset thing. I refuse to buy anything from a store that only stocks plastic replicas. Heck, the WALMART around here has working units you can play with, I have never understood that methodology, but I guess it works on some people.

      I do think a minimum spec would really be helpful, it seems that the one that is out there now may be a little unrealistic, at least for the G1.

      I would not put Android in a distant third place at all, I do think Crackberry is the phone of choice for people who simply want what the masses have out there.

      I do not think that Android needs to get lucky, I think they have established a foot hold of sorts, and there has been a good adoption rate for the platform. Is the platform perfect, heck no! But if you know Google at all, they will work to make it better and better.

      Good luck with your Android future purchase, we look forward to hearing from you when you start using it!

  • bwam

    Good article. I agree with the idea of "Android is meant to spread, not be the best." But that only reflects Google's DIRECT interest. INDERECTLY, Google will need to be the best to have the biggest spread.

    As long as the hardware of Android phones do not serve Android's needs, Android will not be ready to be served to the masses. It is not in 'the masses' interest WHO will make this 'fully Android compatible' hardware, but WHEN it will be ready.

    • bwam,

      I have to disagree, have you ever used Windows Mobile? If so you may know then how horrid it is as a platform. (or maybe you like it, more power to ya!). Windows Mobile was not the best, but it was still the mass used os that was out there. It was bigger than the palm os at one point.

      Think about media formats, I was an early adopter of mini-disc's (yeah I know, bad move), which was a SUPERIOR format (I will always hold out on that) to compact discs. Scratch proof, shock proof, re-recordable up to 1000 times, they were great. But they did not catch on. Heck look at Blu-Ray VS. HD Discs, many critics say that HD was the superior format, but it still lost.

      You don't need to be the best, you simply need to have the best public perception to sell products. It is like Halo, what is so great about that game? Honestly I have tried to like it, I think it sells because people WANT to like it because it is cool to do so.

  • Bruce

    Two points to make:

    1. If Google builds an Android phone, other manufacturers are going to think twice before adopting Android. They will suspect Google of keeping the best bits for themselves or tuning Android so that Google's own phones run better.

    2. The performance problem is real but I blame it on the carriers. Apple had the mojo to stand up to the carriers and say, "here is our phone, take it or leave it." Most manufacturers can't get away with that.

    I'm sure HTC would like to sell a more capable Android phone. I'm just as sure that T-Mobile and other carriers would not buy it. They would go to LG or Samsung or whoever and say, "Could you make us a cheaper, crappier version of this new HTC phone?" So HTC plays the the carrier's game. Make the outsides as flashy as possible to attract customers, make the insides as cheap and crappy as you can get away with to keep the profit margins of the carriers up.

    Get rid of carrier subsidies, or don't allow the carriers to sell phones at all, and people could buy what they want instead of what the carriers want to sell them. Phones with better internal hardware would start to appear in the market.

  • Outstanding article. Google is always looking to expand their reach of their search-based ad network – it feeds them!

    It was clear to me from the start that Google never wanted to make the hardware, they wanted to control the OS so they can better target ads. As a mobile OS, Android will allow them to tap into the location-based capabilities of the phones so they can target ads to much smaller locations than they ever could over the web. Whereas the web allows them to target ads based on a region, the GPS capabilities of the phone will allow businesses to target their Google ads to people within feet of their business. Google knows that businesses will pay good money to capitalize on this capability, so don't be surprised when Google starts offering hyperlocal ad targeting once Android starts hitting critical mass, if not before.

  • i think y'all forgot… google makes money OFF THEIR APPS!

    thus the cease-and-desist………….