Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The KitKat Roar

The KitKat Roar

In 2013, Google has successfully secured the future of its Android business. Android is now an undisputed world winner in mobile computing and services, unthreatened for the foreseeable future.

Android Mobile Computing

In mobile computing, the value is all-in-one hardware, essentially an Internet-connected display. The winning criteria is:
Radial time picker of
Android Jelly Bean
  1. Value for money
  2. Ease of use
  3. Device design
The winning formula for Google was the ease of use provided by Android 4 launched in October, 2011, to establish a value price point with its own Nexus brand, and to finally partner with the world’s top device makers that have now firmly committed to the Android value proposition:
  • Samsung
  • LG
  • HTC, ASUS and newcomers

Google has sold Nexus branded devices at near cost and unparalleled market-leading value:
  • Nexus 7 and 10 tablets
  • Samsung Galaxy Nexus LTE
  • Kat video leak
  • A future 2013 Nexus device leaked on September 3, 2013

Android Mobile Services

In mobile services, a comprehensive free offering is required together with choice and premium services satisfying emotional consumer needs. Here is what you need to offer:
  1. Third-party app selection
    1. Social networking
    2. Games
    3. Banking and Shopping
  2. Video, audio, and visual content
  3. Online identity, messaging and storage
The winning strategy here is to identify the consumer, obtain payment information, track usage data and then forever monetize in any way possible.

The basic premise of Android is being open source software fostering rapid open innovation. A service business, however, requires a closed-source component or service to be sustainable. In November 2011 Amazon forked Android, taking advantage of this fact, and four months later, in March 2012, Google firmly secured its service business by introducing the Google Play software suite.

Can’t touch this
Google Play is the core of a closed-source software suite for mobile services. If you want to compete by forking Android, you will have to write replacement software for this entire suite yourself which is an enormous challenge. Only a handful of companies world wide have even a remote possibility to successfully compete with the Google Play suite. Here are the apps provided:
  • Google Play App store with a million third-party apps
  • Chrome browser
  • Maps Navigation
  • Gmail, People and Calendar productivity
  • Play Music audio and video
A large number of efforts competing with Android have been announced, but this is why they fail. If they even make it to launch, the overall offering is not competitive and ends up in obscurity.

Winning in Business

Mobile computing and services is an extremely attractive and lucrative business that not only brings plentiful tough competition but also the challenge of managing high-revenue partners and suppliers that could easily become competitors. Google took a stumble here at the end of 2012, but has now returned to its former graces. However, as late as Google I/O in May 2013, things did not look officially rosy:
  • Shipping problems
    • A delayed Nexus phone
    • A delayed Nexus 7 tablet
    • A delayed Android 4.3
  • Strategic problems
    • A Nexus 4 being a peculiar fit for the US market
    • A device debacle by the Motorola subsidiary
    • Google shamefully providing Android developer builds for Samsung and HTC in lieu of Nexus hardware
  • Vision problems
    • No Android 5
    • Various forks and competing mobile operating systems in the offings

The 180

Sundar Pichai
Between March and September of 2013, Google fixed the business strategy of Android in a record six months. Unbelievable.

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