The launch today of the Google Nexus was less about technology and more about changing how customers obtain mobility service. Carriers needed a handset alternative to the iPhone and Android's timing last year was perfect. Windows Mobile or RIM Blackberry was not going to unseat the iPhone, even with their recent App Store forays. By offering an unlocked phone, Google avoids some of the negative backlash of network quality because they allow users to select their own carrier; poor service won't be their fault, or HTC's. The big winner here I believe is Verizon as they will have both the new 4G iPhone and several Android handsets including the Nexus One by this summer. The business managers at the carriers can justify their next round of network upgrades to 4G and take advantage of the new spectrum they've acquired. One thing to remember, unlike cable TV and satellite, there is no alternative to carriers with regards to cellular service. No carrier, no service; no VOIP, no Mobile Internet, no SMS and no PCS. Much has been reported of the billions of App Store application downloads but I believe users only use a very small subset of what they download. I would think 100 applications would be plenty and you can always change them out. Google is courting more developers with their friendly, open source licensing schemes. I went ahead and ordered mine, even got customized etching.
Results tagged “htc”
According to Flurry Media, Droid accounted for 48% of the download volume during the month of December. Motorola and Verizon executed on a $100 million marketing campaign resulting in Motorola over-achieving on their previous forecast of 600,000 units in the 4th quarter. The device received good reviews in late October setting the stage for a big 4th quarter push. Even though the music and video capabilities are lacking, the faster web browser and call quality make it the star in Android handsets. Motorola fully embraced Android and made some good design choices; including using the more powerful Arm Cortex A8 CPU. The same CPU in the iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre. The upcoming Google Nexus will be another HTC variant sporting better performance on web pages due to some tuning with Android 2.1 and the Snapdragon processor. Now we have to determine who is the better high-volume manufacturer, Motorola or HTC? Since HTC gains the benefit of multiple OEM relationships, they come down the learning cost curve much faster than a stand-alone Motorola. I would see the Nexus One come out with an initial high price, then rapidly decline during the Spring of 2010.
Is it real or a PR buzz generator for Google? The device is built by HTC and patterned after the HTC Passion but is reportedly thinner than the iPhone. Is this just a Passion running an alpha version of Android 2.1? Google employees have been tweeting and showing off their new toy to their friends. This has generated a storm of speculation and controversy on the blogs both in favor and against Google selling their own hardware. Google has handed out developer phones before such as the unlocked G1 HTC Dream last year. In the U.S., if I buy this unlocked phone I can put in my AT&T or T-Mobile SIM card and get it to work. But I would be unhappy if it only supports EDGE speeds on the AT&T network! Unlocked phones occasionally suffer some technical disadvantages by not supporting advanced services and quite often ratchet down in connect speed. The Snapdragon chip from Qualcomm runs 30% faster and consumes less than 10 milliwatts in standby mode. This makes video scream, but I'd be concerned with getting the bandwidth I need with the carrier. You'll get free GPS voice navigation, Google Talk/Wave and QR (Quick Response) Tagging; making it a great advertising vehicle. Google's taking a play out of Apple's playbook. The innovator needs to have some level of control over both the hardware and the software of the device. The challenge will be in managing the market supply chain and technical ecosystem. They should target prepaid MVNO carriers who need a decent smartphone option thereby avoiding the potential backlash from paid subscription carriers. I will probably add one to my utility belt in January.
Last week HTC launched their latest Android device, dubbed the Hero. In addition to supporting multi-touch Flash Player 10 content, the Hero has a new UI layer called "HTC Sense." Among other things, it allows the use of widgets to bring information up the UI stack, like Twitter or other applications. It has similar behavior to the Palm Pre in this respect, allowing more end user customization. From a business perspective, it is strategically valuable to separate the user experience from the underlying operating system. That way, HTC can choose to change out Android for Windows Mobile and HTC Sense will still look the same. However this begins the fragmentation of open source code that could disrupt a fledgling ecosystem. For one thing, users would need to wait for HTC and the carrier to release updates. Google Android has made strides last year at the expense of the more prolific mobile OS, J2ME. Both Windows Mobile and J2ME variants suffer from a high degree of code fragmentation. J2ME is slowly dying and MIDP3 is way too late to make an impact. Apple got it right because they control the device and the OS, not to mention making app discovery and payment seamless and carrier independent. Developers will still need to maintain multiple versions of popular applications for Smartphones. We need a stable Android in order to achieve break-through market traction and avoid the developer frustration experienced with J2ME.