Google to Shake Up Android Strategy, Says Report

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News Posted: Wed, May 16 2012 1:46 AM
Well well well, maybe the new guy in the CEO’s chair at Google knows what he’s doing. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Google is revamping how it handles its Android business, starting with Android 5.0 Jelly Bean. If the report is accurate, Google is about to make some interesting business moves.

Despite the fact that Android is the world’s top mobile OS, there are a couple of problems that it faces. Apple’s iOS is a constant thorn in Google’s side, not to mention the dent in Android’s market share that Windows 7 may eventually make. Further, because mobile carriers enjoy a certain amount of control over the services end users can get (and due to the very nature of the open Android OS), Google can’t control the Android experience as tightly as Apple does its mobile OS. There’s also the issue of Google’s pending acquisition of Motorola, which is sure to make some hardware partners uneasy.

It looks like Google is deftly addressing these issues.

Larry Page, Google CEO

For one thing, instead of choosing a lone hardware partner for Jelly Bean’s launch, as Google has done in the past, the company is reportedly working with as many as five launch partners. Thus, a variety of companies will get a crack at Android 5.0 early, resulting in a greater number of devices available early on in the Jelly Bean launch process. (True, one of the early Android 5.0 phones could be a homegrown handset, but for now at least, the playing field is probably level.) Having more phone options to choose from may bolster initial sales.

Even better, users will apparently be able to purchase the aforementioned devices directly from Google, unlocked, if they so desire. The company has been experimenting with this idea already, but the Jelly Bean launch looks to be the first large-scale attempt.

Cutting out the middle man of the wireless carrier is somewhat of a bold move, but it makes plenty of sense. Android already comes in as many flavors as there are hardware partners; why not simplify things and keep wireless carriers from tweaking the experience further? Ensuring that most (all?) hardware makers are on the same update track will help maintain a more unified (read: iOS-like) experience across multiple manufacturers.

It’s not unreasonable to think that this direct sales approach is a shot across the bow for wireless carriers that have perhaps too much control over the mobile industry, but it most certainly will affect Google’s profits positively. If nothing else, it will be an educational experiment.

Tightening up control over the Android experience, appeasing partners, rocking the boat of the mobile industry, and boosting profits all at the same time? Well played, Larry Page. Assuming everything works out, anyway.
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omegadraco replied on Wed, May 16 2012 10:46 AM

Very nice, personally I think it is terrible that mobile carries have so much control over the market and this might just make that change. I have a Sprint phone and the only way for me to get rid of their bloatware (a couple hundred megs of apps that you can't move to the SD card) is to root my phone and deal with the potential for instability and lack of official support.

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Google definitely has to take control of the upgrade process. Wireless carriers upgrade on their time schedule not the customers who own the phone. THe m ore they can bypass the carriers the better.

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rapid1 replied on Wed, May 16 2012 1:33 PM

Maybe; I am adventurous, but I upgrade myself not to mention using various versions. Although the Revolution and Cyanogenmod rom's are stable there are many out there. My point being if your careful and backup as well as becoming experienced through study of which there are thousands of forum direction manuals for you can use what you want.

Either way beyond that I do understand the point and applaud G-Monster for stepping up a bit more here. I want to see what happens after the Motorola stuff is done as well as what they do when they hold the design completely by owning a HW manufacturer such as Motorola. It should be interesting over all.

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karanm replied on Wed, May 16 2012 4:38 PM

Yea I definitely want to see the first phone that google puts out with the manufacturing resources of Motorola behind them. Should be a killer phone unless they didn't learn anything from Samsung!!

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MMadru replied on Wed, May 16 2012 6:41 PM

If they can keep competitive prices on the phones like the price that they have currently for the galaxy nexus in the play store, I feel this will be a huge success! Especially with t-mobile's walmart deal to get service for $30 a month!

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Diggity0 replied on Wed, May 16 2012 10:25 PM

I've had the experience of a wireless carrier customizing or modifying a OS. When I had a Blackberry I wasn't able to upgrade to the latest OS because my phone would only work with the modified OS and my carrier didn't bother offering the new OS for my phone because it was old.

When my contract came due and I made certain to get a phone with a stock OS, the Nexus S. Earlier this year ICS was pushed to my phone and it made my phone feel new again, that's how it should be. That's what the iphone people get and Android should be at least as good IMO.

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bobaberry replied on Thu, May 17 2012 8:52 AM


What do you mean about upgrading your BlackBerry? You don't need your carrier to do anything for you to upgrade. I used BlackBerry from OS 4.5 to OS 6 and my wife is currently still using BlackBerry a OS7 Bold.

In the time I was using BlackBerry I usually updated my phone twice a month at least. In that time I almost NEVER used an official carrier tested OS. The reason why is the updates came from RIM and they came from RIM before the carriers even get the OS for testing. So once a carrier did release a OS it was always 2 updates behind what I (and most of the people I knew) was running.

To use a OS that isn't from your carrier you just delete one file (vendor.xml) and then install it the exact same way you do as if it had came directly from your carrier. I currently use a release day Galaxy Nexus on Verizon. I have had it for 5 months now. I haven't gotten a single update yet. But my wife has updated her phone at least a dozen times in the same time period. That is one of the best parts about BlackBerry.

Sure I could do the work and update my Nexus. But deleting one file to install a BlackBerry OS not from your carrier is much much easier than what I would have to do to update my Nexus and to be honest I'm still worried I will screw up my phone.

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Diggity0 replied on Thu, May 17 2012 10:03 AM


I was not able to install RIM's updates, I tried and I was told I had to get the update from my local carrier. Anyway that's ancient history as I've had my Nexus S for a while and the blackberry is long gone.

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mhenriday replied on Thu, May 17 2012 1:24 PM

Google tried to break the carriers' control over the US mobile-phone market with the release of the Nexus One, but unfortunately it failed. Hopefully, Google will be more successful this time around - given the oligopolistic nature of the carrier situation in the US, allowing them to maintain their control over how consumers are allowed to purchase their phones is greatly to the latters' disadvantage. Being locked in to a particular carrier for up to 24 months if one wants to «purchase» a specific telephone (or rather, device ; calling these machines «telephones» seems a bit odd, as they are used as least as much for other ends as for telephony) significantly limits competition and therewith innovation, to the detriment of users' interests....


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ajm531 replied on Thu, May 17 2012 11:47 PM

i can not even begin to think about how awesome this is going to be. I really hope this is true. If this happens i will go prepaid and buy a phone from google. Now if google were to sell cdma/lte phones(which is not going to happen cause verizon is stupid and greedy and they will screw it up somehow) that would a real win especially for us verizon and even sprint customers. I am going to support this 100%.

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