Of Google, Android and a prune-down strategy
Google’s Android is going places, even while Apple holds on to 80% of the smartphone industry profits. Despite clocking an impressive growth worldover, Android’s worries are far from sorted especially when one considers that Android has not made anything close to a ripple (forget a splash) in the Tablet segments and the developer interest in the platform is eroding gradually. Android with its “open” mantra is now witnessing a bifurcation in its markets – the low cost Androids making rapid strides in market shares globally and the high end Samsung S3, HTC One, Moto Razr which are the flagship products. Interest in Android is now flagging because the hardware and software profiles for it are so fragmented.
The state of affairs at Android are an outcome of the way Google is positioning itself across domains. On Mobile domain, the success of Android is because of the fact that developers don’t want to be locked into Apple, which is why Google, limping social strategy and fragmented Android and all, remains a solid option. But Google is going to have to figure out who, exactly, it is, and why developers should care. It has billed itself as the open alternative to Apple’s and Facebook’s closed ways, but it needs to be more than open. It also needs to be good, and its history of product failures (Read Wave, Buzz) is worrisome.
There’s no doubt as to Google’s ambition. The company has been throwing itself into everything from flight search to payments. But adoption for these services,has been painfully slow. In sum, instead of putting faith in Google’s broad portfolio of services – social or otherwise – perhaps developers would be wiser to urge Google to focus on a narrower set of clearly defined, easily deployed services.