Skip to main content

Pixel Brings One Thing Android Didn’t Need More Of: Fragmentation

Nokia-X

Elements of Google’s Pixel will not feed back into Android, extending the problem of fragmentation of the platform whilst also weakening the concept of Android as an open OS available to everybody. For Samsung, Huawei, LG and others the Pixel should cause them to take a step back and reconsider the long-term viability of their partnership with Google.

By effectively jumping into the ring to compete with its own partners in the premium space Google has put every one of them at a disadvantage. So long as Pixel functionality is kept off the core Android platform and as long as Google sets the direction for Android those Android OEMs are competing against Google with one arm tied behind their backs.

This is not the same as Microsoft’s play with Surface, because Windows 10 is a level playing field, each partner gets the same platform and functionality baked into the OS and Microsoft doesn’t give itself a built-in advantage against its partners.

Right now fragmentation in the Android space is bad. In future its likely to get worse.

What’s the alternative for Android OEMs? Given that both Samsung and Huawei are Windows 10 partners, a switch to Microsoft would seem sensible. Not to Windows 10 Mobile but rather to an AOSP version of Android (i.e. Google free) running Microsoft’s Office / Cortana / Groove stack. Its a play that Nokia briefly tried with its Android X phones before Microsoft bought out its phone division and its a play that could work well for Microsoft and the OEMs.

Google’s Play services are not free to OEMs – and given that most Android device manufacturers are paying Microsoft a licence fee anyway, switching to Microsoft services could reduce their costs in getting new devices to market.

If Microsoft has any interest in mobile (and if it hasn’t then things are very wrong) it should be working hard to leverage Google’s Pixel misstep to wrest ownership of Android away.

So, a Samsung Galaxy running TouchWiz on top of a Cyanogen AOSP base and Microsoft services  as default. Sound attractive?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…