August 10, 2009

Why Google will win the Mobile War?

Recently, I've come to the realization that ultimately, Google is going to be the big winner in the mobile space. The reason is because of the freedom Google has given to the smartphone community which allows room for vendors and users to shape their own mobile solution.

At the heart of this matter is the famous or infamous Android OS. A robust mobile OS with simple UI design, iPhone-isque appeal but preserves the grassroots of a PC in terms of ability in customization. Which is probably why it would even dominate the netbook market but I digress. When using Android, mobile manufacturers can use it for hardly any cost right out of the box or customize it for it's own branding and flavor. Already, HTC has been cranking out some slick integration on the upcoming Hero handset which one could easily argue that it rivals with iPhone's visual aesthetics; considering this is just one of the very many vendors to be involved in the perpetual customization of said OS. Android is in favor to becoming the de facto standard of smartphones.

When it comes to the hardware, we are starting to see a few popping up here and there; while the availability is scare (HTC and Samsung for now) and could use improvement, more player are expected to enter this space in a big way (Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Asus, Lenovo, etc.). One can make a strong argument that as of today, the handsets available are rather boring when compared to the iPhone, but this article is not arguing about today, its trying to predict the future. It’s just a matter of time before someone figures out a killer combination of application customization and hardware offerings. Google is banking on the collective efforts of an entire community to be innovative versus Apple or Palm's strategy of counting on their own team of talent to figure it all out (for Apple, the iPhone 3G[s] update is not saying a lot about innovation]. Unlike Apple or Palm where their OS and Hardware design will be limited by their creativity, Android’s open market competition will reward both the manufacturers and users by providing more powerful handsets to the marketplace, faster! Smart money will be on Google.

Keep in mind, I'm not discounting what Apple has done here; in three short years they've taken the iPhone and placed it on the map with a huge and influential footprint. Apple is the leader right now and they are definitely going to try and maintain that by producing what they “think” the consumer wants and market the hell out of it. With the uproar lately over its many app store approval process (some funny ones here), many of the tech industries thought leaders are starting to walk away from the mighty Apple. Something like this would probably be less severe in the Android world as the community together determines what is to be produced or not. On the other hand, I will acknowledge that Google’s mobile approach has been tried before by Symbian and Microsoft WinMo. What separates Google with the rest is their intent, by design, to provide "freedom" for every party involved. Unlike Symbian and Microsoft, Google has made it easy to work with Android; developers are encouraged to think outside the box, customize, and innovate. In addition, Google’s has been diligently working to perfect a suite of mobile tools that offers the same powerful functionality as seen on the desktop (Gmail, Gmap, YouTube, Google Earth, Google Voice, Google Talk). While Microsoft has made good effort in making its Office Suite available on Windows Mobile, the mobile experience is just not quite the same as offered by Google.

Google’s strategy is, inevitably, going to make them the biggest player of the mobile industry. In short, Google encourages the mobile community to be innovative by being flexible while focuses on leveraging their desktop experience into the perfect mobile integration.

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