10:30 AM -- Now the mobile device competition is getting interesting again.
With Google's coming purchase of Motorola Mobility Inc., it may be that Google is attempting to be the standard-bearer -- the influencer with the clearest, loudest voice -- in that disjointed jungle known as the Android marketplace. (See Google Acquires Moto Mobility for $12.5B.)
In May, Google revealed that more than 310 different Android devices were launched by 36 different OEMs so far. It's a notable achievement but it illustrates just how confusing the Android space has become.
In the Pyramid Research report on the smartphone ecosystem back in June, analyst Stela Bokun did a great job of spelling out how Google's indirect involvement in Android helped the operating system take off:
"Unlike other smartphone OS developers, Google does not manufacture any device or charge for software licenses, and thus does not have direct sources of revenue as the foundation for its business model. The main motivation in the creation of Android was the development of an OS ecosystem powerful enough to make the mobile Internet opportunity a reality available to as many people as possible. By doing this, Google expects to expand its core market on mobile search and ad businesses by enlarging its audience to the mobile population. Its motivation is then an indirect one, which is best met by making Android available to as big an audience as possible, thus the open source and free-of-charge nature of the OS."
For even more consumer adoption on the high-end, Google needs to lead by example so the rest of the world can figure out which of the 310 devices by 36 companies makes sense for them.
Apple Inc.'s simplicity, single product line and value-chain control have made it the most valuable company in the world.
Microsoft Corp.'s arrangement with Nokia Corp., too, is the talk of the industry because of the worldwide potential those two brands might have by helping one another's cause. (See Windows Phone & World Domination.)
Google now feels that the way to help Android move forward is 1) get more directly involved by profiting directly from the devices sold and 2) to become a sort of de facto standard in the industry, using the current and future Motorola Mobility portfolio to show the rest of the ecosystem how to win (while, of course, remaining open).
— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading