Google has held firm that its Nexus One smartphone is selling just fine, even though it failed to make a dent into the Apple's iPhone market share, or any other major smartphone for that matter. That feeling of contentment -- if it ever really existed in the first place -- appears to be no more, and Google suddenly seems interested in pushing more Nexus One sales. To do that, the company needs to refocus its sales strategy, and that's exactly what Google is doing.
"While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not," Google wrote in an official blog post. "It's remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it's clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone and they also want a wide range of service plans to choose from."
Having reached the above epiphany, Google said that once it increases the availability of Nexus One devices in retail locations, it will stop selling the handset online.
"Innovation requires constant iteration," Google added. "We believe that the changes we're announcing today will help get more phones to more people quicker, which is good for the entire Android ecosystem: users, partners and also Google."
We tend to agree, but why stop there? Under the Nexus One's current pricing model, only T-Mobile customers who are on an Individual plan qualify for the discounted handset pricing, which pegs the smartphone at $179. Everyone else -- including those who pay more for a Family plan -- have to shell out $529.
If you don't already own an Android-powered smartphone, there's a good chance you will the next time you upgrade. It's just a numbers game, and according to Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, there are least 65,000 mobile phones running Android being shipped each and every day.
"Our partners are shipping about 65,000 Android handsets per day but if you check the blogosphere you'll discover there are some reports that that number might be quite low," Schmidt said.
If Schmidt's numbers are correct, that would mean there are more than two million Android handsets shipping out every month, putting it almost on par with the 8.75 million iPhones Apple said it shipped last quarter.
"Our strategy is very different from everybody else's," Schimdt added. "We license our code for free, so that's really pretty revolutionary. We're trying to build an entire ecosystem of openness, the inverse of the other guys."
Bits of information have been leaking out about Google's next iteration of the Android platform with increasing regularity as we near the Google I/O event. Today we've gotten perhaps the tastiest tidbit yet. According to TechCrunch, Android 2.2 (codenamed Froyo) will have tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality built in. This would be the first modern smartphone platform to integrate these abilities natively, without carrier support.
Some phones, like the Palm Pre Plus and HTC EVO 4G (and costs extra for the EVO), are shipping with specialized apps for sharing their mobile connection over Wi-Fi, but these solutions are developed with the blessing of carriers. It's unclear if carriers would be able to disable this functionality or require a fee, without using a non-standard build of the Android OS. In the screen shots we can clearly see options for both standard tethering, and Wi-Fi hotspot tethering.
Google clearly sees this a differentiator in the US market where the iPhone still lack any tethering options at all. We are definitely looking forward to hearing more about this feature when Froyo is announced.
You may remember a few months back when Apple sued HTC for patent infringement. The case centered mostly around HTC's Android phones. Long story short, it looked a little grim for the relatively young HTC, though it will still likely take years for the case to run its course. But now HTC is coming out swinging, and has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission (ITC) against Apple for infringing five of their patents. HTC has asked the ITC to ban imports of the iPhone, iPad , and iPod Touch. This is a common request in these cases.
According to GIzmodo (though not yet confirmed), two of the patents are related to power management, two are for personalized phone dialers, and one is for a dialer with special memory access. Apple threw everything they had at HTC, and by comparison this is small potatoes. It could be HTC is attempting to extract a cross-licensing deal from Apple, or just get them to call it a day. No corresponding federal lawsuit has been filed as of yet, but that could be coming too. We'll keep an eye on this one folks.
News broke yesterday that Android market share had passed that of the iPhone in the US. The numbers were based on an NPD group survey. NPD Group is usually highly regarded for their market analysis, but Apple is taking issue with the value of the report's findings. “This is a very limited report on 150,000 US consumers responding to an online survey..." said Apple in a statement.
Apple goes on to point to their astounding growth numbers. Others have made note that Verizon Wireless is pushing Android especially hard these days, offering buy one, get one deals. Still, no one is actually disputing the numbers for smartphone usage in the US itself.
Apple is confident in the quality of their products, as well they should be. iPhone sales grew 131% in the last quarter. Even if Android's growth is greatly helped by special promotions, we're sure Google will take the market share any way they can get it.
Despite the cancellation of the Verizon Nexus One, Big Red is looking like a very Android-friendly carrier as of late. This is especially true given the news that the nation's second largest carrier is working with Google to deliver an Android-powered tablet. This has been confirmed by Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam. Elaborating further McAdam said, " "We're working on tablets together, for example. We're looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience."
Verizon did not disclose any sort of timeline or details for the tablet. In an interview with Bloomberg, Verizon's VP of corporate communications said more information about the Android-based tablet will be disclosed later this week. Do you think an Android tablet can compete with the iPad?
It was just a few months ago that Sprint got in on the Android action by claiming they too would be selling Google's superphone, the Nexus One. Now in the wake of Verizon's decision not to support the handset, Sprint too is nixing plans to allow it on their network. And just like that, the dream of a CDMA Nexus One was dead.
Sprint said when asked about the cancellation, they would be focusing on the upcoming HTC EVO 4G instead. Much as Big Red decided to avoid self-competition and focus on the HTC Incredible. The EVO 4G is looking like a nice handset though. It will pack a 4.3-inch LCD touch screen, 8MP camera, WiMAX data, and HTC's Sense UI with Android 2.1. This is currently the newest build of Android, but Google may push out an update for stock Android that makes the EVO seem out of date.
CDMA carriers have more control over the phones that run on their network than GMS carriers do. Traditionally, CDMA phones have to be registered via an IMEI number, so it's no problem to simply refuse to support a phone. On GSM networks an activated SIM card can work in almost any GSM phone.
While it is true that Sense UI phones like the EVO 4G have to wait longer for OS updates, there aren't a lot of other reasons to hold off for Stock Android. Was anyone out there waiting on the Sprint Nexus?
Market research firm NPD group has released a report today that show Android smartphones have surpassed iPhones in US market share. The results are based on a direct consumer survey of smartphone owners. This places Android in the number two spot behind RIM's Blackberry OS, with the iPhone a close third.
According to the survey, Android usage is now 28% to iPhone's 21%. RIM still has a healthy, but shrinking, lead at 36% market share. NPD hypothesizes that the jump in Android sales is due largely to carriers like Verizon, and manufacturers like Motorola, pushing their phones hard in recent months. “As in the past, carrier distribution and promotion have played a crucial role in determining smartphone market share,” said NPD's Ross Rubin. The survey also showed that AT&T edged out Verizon for the largest mobile carrier with 32% versus 30% of the market. Meanwhile T-Mobile edged out Sprint for the number three spot, 17% to 15%.
Some have voiced concerns about what this survey is really showing. It could be that come the release of the new iPhone, Apple's numbers could head up in a big way. Do you think this is an ongoing trend for Google's OS?
Myxer, the Florida-based website which claims the Internet's largest catalogs of free ringtones, wallpapers, videos, applications, and games has put together a report detailing how female consumption habits compare to males in the mobile phone space. Here are a few highlights of what they found:
Females accounted for 67 percent of total downloads by unique users on the Myxer platform in April 2010
1.7 times as many females as males came to Myxer to download content in April, while each female that visited downloaded 17 percent more content than the average male
The average female on Google's Android and Apple's iPhone platforms downloaded 21 percent and 6 percent, respectively, more mobile content than the average male in April
While none of this is shocking, we were surprised to learn that when considering adoption of new smartphones in April, women chose BlackBerry more often than men at a clip of 49 percent versus 43 percent. Men, on the other hand, prefer Android, with 23 percent of men choosing the Android platform versus 18 percent of women.
A few months ago Google launched an Android App called Google Goggles that could recognize real life objects and text. It was an interesting demonstration of technology, but its usefulness was suspect. With the most recent update however, Goggles got a whole lot more interesting. The ability to translate text is now available from within the Goggles app. The feature is based on the translation engine Google showed off earlier this year at Mobile World Congress.
By simply snapping a picture the app will offer the user the option of translate the languages of English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. Google is working to improve the character recognition engine, and also to build in support for languages that use non-latin characters. Goggles is available on Android phones running version 1.6 or later. So those of you on Sense UI or MotoBLUR phones with 1.5 are, yet again, left out.
We're certainly excited about the possibilities this opens up for those who travel. Let us know if you've given it a shot and how it works.