Google's Losing Temperament Won't Help With Phones

By Doug Mohney October 11, 2016

For all of Google's strength in search and huge amounts of cash, it really has struggled to be a success beyond its core business.  Last week's release of “new” hardware is the company's latest boring announcement, and even some tech media fan boys are wising up to its track record of mediocrity. “Just win, baby,” said Oakland's Al Davis.  Like Oakland, Google seems to have had one era of glory with years of fumbling struggles for new success.

Who else but Google could buy a mobile phone business – Motorola Mobility – then sell it off a few years later?  At the same time, Google subcontracted its own Nexus-branded devices outside the company, having them built by an assortment of firms on the back end, including Asus, HTC, Huawei, and LG.  Pixel, the newest Google consumer phone and brand, is built by HTC, a relationship that seems to be fed as much by HTC's desperation to remain relevant by any means necessary in the phone business as anything.

In a semi-sane world, Google would have figured out how to leverage Motorola's mobile phone experience and resources to build its own phone, rather than raiding the company for its patents and dumping the rest to Lenovo a few years later. Yes, it would have upset cellphone makers, but since the company was getting into the hardware business because it felt manufacturers couldn't deliver the best experience, there was bound to be angst anyways.

 Or, like Microsoft, it could have taken all design and manufacturing in-house to offer its own branded hardware.  Microsoft seems to have managed to walk the tightrope of building its own hardware while selling an operating system, recognizing the company's future rests more on cloud customers and recurring revenue (the whole “cloud first/mobile first” strategy) than Windows 10, 11, or 36.

Google Pixel Phones are being positioned as the platform to access Google Assistant, the company's AI-eseque personal assistant being compared to Siri, Cortana, and Alexa.  Two features that jump out include the “best” camera ever this minute – until the next wave of cell phone hardware – and the ability to get up to seven hours of battery life on just 15 minutes on a charger.... and that's it. There are a lot of software bells and whistles, but nothing that puts the iPhone into the ground.

About the biggest boost to Google for the next 15 minutes is Samsung's Galaxy Note 7, giving the Pixel line a short-term advantage while Samsung figures out how to make existing customers whole and what to name the next generation of Galaxy Note (My friends and I are betting on a Microsoft-esque move and skipping to “10” or changing to a Roman numeral scheme).

But make no mistake - Samsung's cell phone disaster is a setback at this point, not a fatal mistake.  Samsung understands the value of brand and quality.  The company will work hard to deliver a high-end replacement that is better and combine it with a brand relaunch with its many and numerous business partners.  Will it be a humble re-introduction of the Galaxy Note or a record-setting promotion? I don't know, but given the amount of money and resources Samsung has invested into the Internet of Things (IoT) and healthcare, I expect something impressive. 




Edited by Alicia Young

Contributing Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Pai Makes His Case for Title II Repeal

By: Paula Bernier    11/21/2017

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today made clear his plans to repeal Title II net neutrality rules. The commission is expected to pass his proposal at its Dec. …

Read More

Mist Applies AI to Improve Wi-Fi

By: Paula Bernier    11/9/2017

Mist has created an AI-driven wireless platform that puts the user and his or mobile device at the heart of the wireless network. Combining machine le…

Read More

International Tech Innovation Growing, Says Consumer Technology Association

By: Doug Mohney    11/8/2017

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) is best known for the world's largest trade event, but the organization's reach is growing far beyond the CE…

Read More

Broadcom Makes Unsolicited $130B Bid for Qualcomm

By: Paula Bernier    11/6/2017

In what could result in the biggest tech deal in history, semiconductor company Broadcom has made an offer to buy Qualcomm for a whopping $130 billion…

Read More

How Google's 'Moonshot' Could Benefit Industrial Markets

By: Kayla Matthews    10/30/2017

The term "moonshot" encapsulates the spirit of technological achievement: an accomplishment so ambitious, so improbable, that it's equivalent to sendi…

Read More