Thursday, January 14, 2010

State of Google Mobile - Android, Search, China, Nexus One

Nexus One pretty much sums it up but things have evolved quite a bit since January 5th.  So here's what Google's mobile strategy stand.

NEXUS ONE AND ANDROID.  Some what of a good news is that 20K units of Nexus One has been sold.  Now, that might not sound a lot compared to the Droid or the iPhone.  But this is a Google's business plan to promote Android devices as a whole.  It'll take time for things to evolve.  If you know Google, you know that from the prehistoric days of the Gmail (still evolving in my opinion) to the G1 to, now, the Nexus One, it'll be in beta for about a year before things shape up to the way it'll eventually be.  Honestly, I'm not even sure Google knows what that will be.

The bad thing about Nexus One is that it's currently having 3G issues.  Some folks either don't have 3G or have their 3G cut out and end up with very slow Edge.  Just about everyone has acknowledge this problem.  It's a problem for the first adopters, Google, T-Mobile, and HTC but with 20K users, it should be easier to manage despite Google having virtually zero customer support.

More bad news.  Google, where's the customer support?

Now, some good news, Google lobbed off $100 for some T-Mobile customers eligible for upgrade.  Bad news is no one knows who is eligible.  Worse, I'm not one of them.  Worser (spelled this way on purpose), at $279, it's still more than $179 for new users.

More at Tmo-News.

MOBILE SEARCH.  Now a bit of good news for mobile users on the mobile search front.  Google's search now offers location suggestions based on where you are.

More at Google Mobile for this feature.  I suppose some folks are having issues so Google suggest refreshing Google search in your browser and to make sure your location awareness feature is turned on such as the GPS.  I know I don't always have it on to save battery power.

Yes, this is very very useful.

Google Stares Down Beijing.  Yesterday, Google announced they were a victim, along with 30 or so foreign companies of cyberattacks sanctioned by the Chinese government.  Though Google doesn't come right out and say it, I'll do it for them.

For that and the fact that Google's search results has been subject to censorship (which the Chinese likes to call "self-discipline"), Mountainview felt it could no longer operate in this manner in China.  They are currently discussing with the Chinese officials on how Google can operate its search engine without filters.

If no agreement can be reached, well, Google will put out of China.  Bravo!  It's about time.  So proud...

Once this is resolved (and to my satisfaction), I'm gonna push for everyone I know to go Android.  I'm liking the Nexus One but the 3G issue has given me pause.  I'm sure the three parties involved will solve that soon.  By then, the China standoff should be resolved.  Google called Beijing's bluff.  So proud...

More Android.  Out of CES, many companies made announcements relating to the mobile platform.  There are more Android devices coming to the market (probably not to China anymore).  In fact, iPhone-only ATT will be bring a couple of Android devices "soon".

Plus, there are more tablets based on Android coming out way as well.  We already know that Archos has tablets on the market.  Personally, I'm interested to see if there will be come based on Nvidia's Tegra chip that offers gobbles of hours of use.

On the software side, I'm very concerned about fragmentation.  Most of us are just users with no in-depth knowledge about programming so we like things to just work.  It would be insane for Google, carriers, hardware developers, and app creators to keep track of whether an app will work on our Android device or not.

It's good that Google is trying to come out with a reference device in the form of Nexus One but Google also has to realize that carriers and hardware developers don't care much about upgrades once they sell something to the end users.  I'm hoping Google will come up with a new scheme that is independent of hardware or which wireless provider they use.

In conclusion, things are looking great for Android.  It's a strong competitor in the mobile market and will certainly do very well as it expands into more markets with dozens of models in 2010.

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