Krishna Baidya’s Random Musings

Posts Tagged ‘google

NexusOne1Google has performed a u-turn on its strategy to sell its own-brand Android smartphone, the Nexus One. In a statement yesterday, the company announced that Vodafone will from this Friday start selling the device in the UK via its stores, online and over the phone. “Soon after,” Google said, it will be available via SFR in France, as well as via Vodafone’s other subsidiaries in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. More operator launches look to be on the horizon, as Google noted that Vodafone is the “first European partner to distribute the Nexus One.” The move is a direct contrast to Google’s original retail model for the device; when it launched the high-profile phone in January Google surprised many industry watchers with plans to only sell the product via its own online store. Such a move broke heavily with traditional mobile industry business practices, bypassing the mobile operator retail stores that serve as a key distribution channel for mobile phones. Meanwhile, US operator Verizon Wireless has been dropped as a partner for the device; despite being touted as an initial partner at launch, Google is now advising customers to instead “pre-order the Droid Incredible by HTC, a powerful new Android phone and a cousin of the Nexus One that is similarly feature-packed” and available in stores on 29 April. The Nexus One remains available to T-Mobile USA customers.

Reports have been quick to cite analysts as stating that the actions represent a setback for Google’s plans to carve a role for itself in the mobile business and to redefine industry practices in the process. The move is also likely to fuel speculation that Google has been forced to change its strategy due to less-than-stellar demand for the Nexus One; analysts believe Google sold about 150,000 Nexus One devices in the first quarter. By contrast, Apple sold 1 million iPhones in the first 74 days after releasing the gadget in 2007. However, earlier this month Google’s CFO Patrick Pichette said Nexus One is “a profitable business for us”, whilst Jeff Huber, SVP for enginnering, added that the company is “very happy with the device uptake and the kind of impact that’s had across the industry in terms of raising the bar for what devices can do.” Huber added that Google’s Android system is powering 34 devices and that more than 60,000 Android devices are sold and activated each day. Android also had 38,000 apps in the previous quarter, up 78 percent from the last quarter.

Source: GSMA Daily

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Google is planning to launch a branded smartphone that will bypass mobile operators and compete with handset vendors running its own Android platform, reported TheStreet yesterday citing an analyst source. Northeast Securities analyst Ashok Kumar, who claims to have talked to Google’s design partners about the plan, says the device will be sold via retailers rather than operators. By bypassing the operators, Google is aiming to offer a device that lets users determine the functions. The rumoured “unlocked, low-cost, Web-friendly touchscreen device” is also likely to undercut the Android phones being developed by the likes of Motorola, the report says. “It’s a bit of a departure from Google’s strategy, but I think the speculation is valid,” says Michael Cote of the Cote Collaborative.

Kumar predicts that the device could be launched by year-end, though others think this timeframe is optimistic. He adds that the device is likely to be based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platform but it is unclear who will actually build the device. The report noted that Google already has plans with computer-maker Quanta to build its own netbooks that will run on a Linux-based Google Chrome operating system (OS) and be available next summer. But TheStreet says that Taiwan’s HTC is the most likely vendor to build Google its own Android phone. HTC was an early supporter of the Android platform and already has four Android phones available in the marketplace. Neither Google, HTC nor Quanta were available to comment. A report this week by AdMob claims that Android has secured a 7 percent share of the smartphone OS market since launching a year ago.

Mobile advertising market is emerging as a huge growth area with the rise of web phones like the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Palm. According to the Kelsey Group, a market research firm, the mobile advertising market will balloon from $160 million in 2008 to $3.1 billion in 2013.

Of course, that is just an educated guess which will turn out wrong. But there is no doubt that mobile advertising will be much bigger in four years, perhaps even ten to 20 times bigger than it is today.

Where will all of that mobile ad money go to? Display ads are projected to go from 13 percent of the total to 18 percent, while SMS ads will decline as a percentage from 63 percent to 9 percent (see charts). So once again it looks like search is going to be the big winner. No wonder Google is so focused on mobile search as one of its major sources of growth.

US Mobile Advertising Revenue

Think about it. Display ads take up precious real estate on your phone screen and tend to just get in the way and be an annoyance. That’s whymost people don’t like them . But when you are doing a search on your phone, you are often looking for something nearby?a store, a restaurant, a dry cleaner. You are more open to ads, especially if they are relevant to your search. As reported by TechCrunch, the Kelsey Group also projects that mobile search will go from 24 percent of the total mobile ad market last year to 73 percent of the much larger pie in 2013, according to a recent research note put out by Citi Analyst Mark Mahaney. He said that Mobile search is particularly tuned for local search ads. “Given the nature of mobile devices, local queries on mobile should, over time, be greater than local queries on the desktop,” he added.

Indeed, the Kelsey Group predicts that local searches will rise from 28 percent of all mobile searches in 2008 to over 35 percent by 2013. And as a percentage of mobile search ad revenues, local search is already half so that it will be a $1.27 billion market opportunity in four years just for local mobile search.

Source: Silicon India, Washington Post

Giving a firm release date to one of the most anticipated new mobile devices to run on the Android operating system, from Google Inc.(GOOG), Amazon’s United Kingdom site is listing the HTC Hero for pre-ordering. The smartphone will begin shipping on July 15; it’s expected to become available in the U.S. later this year.

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Based on the mobile O.S. developed by Google, the Hero also features HTC Sense, the Taiwanese company’s new user-interface, which offers a 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen along with gesture controls and customizable widgets and icons that can be quickly launched from the home screen. If you have missed on the promises, you could check them out at the video link in youtube.

The Hero, which will be offered by the U.K. through Orange and T-Mobile, will also be sold in an unlocked version that’s not tied to a single carrier. The dual-band cellular/WiFi device will cost $712 with no carrier contract.

The Hero also includes support for Adobe Flash Web-content software, something the iPhone, from Apple(AAPL), lacks.

The Hero is the third Android-based device to hit the market. Several other manufacturers are hurrying to get Android mobile devices to market before the Christmas gift season this year.

Windows store to launch with 600 apps Microsoft will offer around 600 certified applications when it opens its mobile app store later this year, according to a Washington Post report, despite the Windows Mobile platform having more than 20,000 applications developed for it overall. Consumers will be able to buy applications on their credit card or through their operator bill, and will also be able to return apps within 24 hours if they are not completely satisfied. Microsoft has already signed up a number of software partners, including web music service Pandora, games publisher Electronic Arts and social network site Facebook. Other partners include another games publisher, Gameloft, weather website Accuweather.com, and News Corp’s MySpace social network. The store was officially unveiled in February and is scheduled to launch in the first half of this year on smartphones running Microsoft’s new Windows Mobile 6.5 platform. Microsoft’s app store will compete against a raft of rival platforms launched in response to the phenomenal success of Apple’s App Store, which offers around 50,000 apps.

Google’s Android store offers around 5,000 apps whilst Palm reportedly only offers around 30 at present. Microsoft said in an earlier statement that Windows Marketplace would launch in 29 countries and offer third-party developers a 70 percent cut of revenue-share, the same rate offered by Apple and Google.

In separate app store news, Dow Jones Newswires reports that China Telecom plans to launch a mobile app store for its 3G network, though no details on timescales were released. Operators including rival China Mobile and Vodafone have been quick to jump on the application store bandwagon, going head-to-head with software and handset vendors.