Google to Change Android Tactics

June 7, 2012

We thought Google had its Android carnival under tight management, but we guess changes are needed since, according to ZDNet, “Google to Centralize Android Development and Sales.” There are several reasons the move is a good idea, but fragmentation and a loss of control to vendors are probably foremost; the hardware vendors Google partners with tend to impose non-removable skins on top of Android that can hamper or, worse, change functionality. Now is that any way for partners to treat each other? Furthermore, these altered versions are often based on an outdated Android version, which further confuses and frustrates customers.

So, just how is the company planning to reign in its wayward offspring? Not all details are in, but the article informs us:

“Wall Street Journal reporter, Amir Efrati reports that ‘Google plans to give multiple mobile-device makers early access to new releases of Android and to sell those devices directly to consumers, said people familiar with the matter.’ In the past, Google would pick a single vendor to introduce major Android updates in lead devices, and then all the other vendors would follow. These devices were then, as now, sold to end-users through wireless carriers or retail outlets.

“By the holiday season though, there were be as many as five manufacturers creating a portfolio of ‘Nexus’ lead devices that include smartphones and tablets. While the old sales channels will still be there, Google will sell the gadgets directly to consumers in the U.S., Europe and Asia via its website. These will run on be running Google’s next version of Android, Jelly Bean.”

As a consumer, I’m in favor of this plan. We don’t yet know just who these “multiple” manufacturers are, though writer Steven J. Vaughn-Nichols suspects Motorola (of course), ASUS, HTC, Samsung, and Sony will make the list. He also posits that the consolidation may be, in part, an effort to present a united front against Apple’s intellectual property hullabaloo.

Cynthia Murrell, June 7, 2012

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