Google seems to be the only one making money off of Android. We’ve watched heads roll at Samsung as their sales didn’t meet expectations. We’ve seen what was supposed to be the ultimate Android phone from HTC not even make a ripple. And really, what else can we expect? There are a multitude of Android OEM’s selling basically the same device. The ways that they had to differentiate themselves were skins and of course, the spec race. Google has started to close it’s fist on Android, thereby limiting what OEM’s can do with Android if they choose to keep Google Services and thus all the apps that come with it. And the spec race is costly, cutting in to what little profits they may hope to gain. What are they to do?
The obvious choice is to leave Google behind. And right now, that’s not so easy. Samsung has created it’s own Tizen OS, and has sold a decent amount of sub-100 dollar units. Although at that price it could probably be running the old Palm Pilot software and sell decent in emerging markets. Forking android is an option as well, leaving Google out of it and making your own version, utilizing other app stores. We’ve seen Amazon do it, and while their phone was anything but a success story, they are still forging ahead with their app store, providing it to any other devices. The various Chinese OEM’s are doing same. With Google refusing to play ball with them, they are having great success in their markets. And let’s not forget Cyanogen who has promised a Google free android by next year.
9to5Google is reporting that yet another manufacturer is taking a step away from Google. Yota, the maker of the Yotaphone, that odd phone with the second e-Paper screen, will be choosing Sailfish instead of Android for its future phones, which will reportedly be able to run Android apps as well.
So one must ask themself a few questions with current rumors running amongst of BlackBerry making an Android device, and yesterday’s rumors that Microsoft will be transitioning to Android for it’s mobile devices. Why? Not why would companies such as BlackBerry and Microsoft make an Android device. Personally, I’m tired of talking about that. We know why they would; apps and possibly a bigger bite of market share. There are much more interesting questions that should be asked of Google.
Google has the number one mobile OS. That with it’s Google Services and App store is highly profitable. However, handsets are needed to keep this active. And handset OEM’s, again, are not making money off Google Android, and are looking elsewhere. Google is a lot of things, but not stupid. It’s time to recognize that what has worked for them in the past, won’t hold up longterm. Why won’t it? Because other’s are stepping on their toes. Not only is Google now competing with other OS’s, but they are now competing with their own OS as other create their own ways to use Android and Android apps without giving anything back to Google. Oh the dangers of an open source platform!
The mobile landscape is evolving. BlackBerry, once the premier smartphone manufacturer, is now primarily a software and services company. Apple Computers should really be called iPhone Inc. And Google, a search engine has found themselves to be the top mobile OS, and is on the verge of having that OS taken away from them. Is it time for Google to realize the rules of the OHA will hinder their future and start to make deals with the likes of BlackBerry and Microsoft to ensure their future viability?
I believe so.
Update: Android Central is reporting that Yotaphone is not leaving Android for Sailfish. We’ll have to wait for confirmation one way or another.