Since Imtiaz wrote his take on Google’s IO we decided to have this weeks podcast as the basis for the show.
Google I/O 2014… Our Thoughts After the Event
However, during the course of the show one major thing struck me is that Google by offering smaller manufacturers the opportunity to create cheaper handsets while still having the latest Android OS on them is a dangerous and maybe a stood strategy. Lets be clear, that while Google is an amazing company for what it does, its strategy with Android has to me always be a questionable one.
I own, use and rely on Apple devices, whether it be iOS or OSX and one thing I have always seen is that with Android there is the issue with disparate handsets and various numbers of software versions knocking around at the same time that causes problems for the consumer market that you just don’t get in the closed and guarded world of Apple. This was a Google strategy though in pushing out the software and yet having little regard to the manufacturers, an issue they caused themselves. So what do they now propose to do? Well its to work with the manufacturers and allow them to have the latest version of Android on their devices. But, and this is the big BUT we are being told that these companies will release cheaper handsets for the emerging market. Does Google really think that these cheaper handsets will stay in the emerging markets though? Have they, the internet giants that they are not heard of online buying and selling and the grey market of imports. Smartphones are desirable items, but people owning a cheaper smartphone may be even more desirable.
However, and this is my take on it, cheaper manufacturers make cheaper goods, the products do not have that well built quality that is synonymous with smartphones and the worry is that these companies will produce a sea of cheaper goods that will damage the Android marketplace. Yes there will be room for Samsung and HTC to make the high end goods but if enough consumers experience a poor product then this will become synonymous with Android and the Android smartphone experience will not be seen as a pleasant or reliable one. This is what Apple already knows with the level of control that they place on their hardware and software and the reason why iPhones are still a desirable product.
So why does an Apple fan worry about the future of Android? Well for a start, I think competition in the marketplace is an incredibly important one. Apple actually does need Android and any other competition to snap at it’s heals to drive change and productivity. Android and particularly Samsung, definitely need Apple as if there was no competition their advertising team would implode and be unable to actually produce an ad that was interesting and showed what an Android device can do 😉
But seriously competition stops prices from going crazy and being rampantly inflation busting. Too low however and people think the product is too cheap to be taken seriously. Android Beware!