Feb 10

Battle of the androids

Now now, Google - play nice

Back when Google launched its Nexus One phone, I thought it was odd that Google had chosen to compete with its own partners.

It’s interesting that after the Droid (the best Android phone) came the Nexus One (the best Android phone), and now, just announced at the Mobile World Congress, we have HTC’s Desire (the best Android phone). And yes, that’s the same HTC that builds Google’s Nexus One.

Of course on one level this is a silly thing to point out. After all, hundreds of PCs run Windows, and the fact is some PCs are better than others for a hundred different reasons. That’s called choice. The only difference is that Microsoft does not manufacture PCs. They don’t serve up the “best” version of the same product they’re asking their partners to make. That’s called evil.

Absolutely, competition is good. Customers benefit as the various Android-makers try to outdo each other with new reasons to buy their own devices. But for all of Google’s “partners,” there is something extremely unholy about competing with the guy who controls the OS your product depends on, and knows every new feature that’s on the drawing board.

It hurts a little to see Google move in this direction. We were all rooting for them for so long. The brainiest, coolest company out there. This is starting to feel like the end of the movie, when we find out that the least likely person in the room turns out to be the serial killer.

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  • Well, considering there were rumors of a Microsoft Phone, this doesn’t surprise as much, I mean, it seems crazy to see these giants coming back to choices opposite to their nature. But this makes you understand that nothing is set on stone in regards technology.
    The move from Google seems also a test to see new distribution channels (the web, not the telecommunication companies), not many companies have the power to try so.
    Also look how Microsoft Mobile 7, or whatever name is, has a very “branded” interface. I am very curious to see how the phone manufacturers will be able to differentiate from another without compromising that enjoyable user experience Microsoft is so much struggling to achieve.

  • Marian

    Google didn’t have a smash hit for many years. I really have nothing in mind after GMail.
    Google’s success rate is actually not that high (under 20% of their products are a success in the market). They try too many things and they don’t focus. But they manage to maintain the aura of “the company that doesn’t fail”. I guess it’s not Apple that has the Reality Distortion Field. It’s Google!

  • Everyone with their own hangups: Some want to find LOVE, Google wants its operating system on the market! They continuously comes up with new products and new methods to stay afloat in a constantly changing mobile phone landscape. Will be cool if we could all combine love with whatever we do, no?

    Thanks for the post!

  • ken segall

    I’ve made it a point a few times in the past to preface my observations about Google with the fact that I’ve always thought the world of them. What’s a concern to me is that Google has been so open about its “do no evil” philosophy, yet it goes ahead and does something like this — competing somewhat unfairly with its own partners — which is something even Microsoft does not do. In this particular case, they could easily be promoting the hell out of Android, getting it on as many phones as they can, with much the same result we’ve seen so far. Instead, they very consciously make a different choice. They choose to compete directly with their own partners, even though they have the unfair advantage of knowing exactly what’s coming, and how to guide HTC’s development of Nexus One accordingly. I’m not seeing the love in that.

  • David

    I think it’s fair to say that Google is so big now that even if Motorola was mad about what Google is doing, they have no better alternative for putting an OS into their phone. Clearly, they can’t produce a solid OS on their own and no one is dying to get their hands on a Microsoft OS on their phone. So it looks like Google wins in this scenario.