Is Androids openness a mess? And if so, does Google care?

Reflecting my post about what Amazon should learn from Apple I was wondering how much of a mess the open Android system really is. Sure, now with more than 200 million devices on the market, 550.000 plus activations per day and a worldwide smartphone market share of 52%, according to Gardner, Google absolutely succeeded in spreading the devices to ensure their services are used and most importantly their ads are seen and clicked. But what about the problems that came with this open mobile invasion?

Android is suffering from:

  • Different screen sizes causing Apps and content to be not shown in an optimal way
  • A large variety of versions on the market
  • Problems with the update path – often impossible and blocked by the carriers
  • Permutations of the software that distract consumers as they might run into one that is not being continued
  • Potentially more risky Apps as they can be installed from any source

If you compare these down sides of Android with the upsides of a closed eco system as it was created by Apple around the iPhone, you quickly see what the user experience and product obsessed Steve Jobs had in mind by making sure he has everything under control. If software and hardware is developed to fit perfectly together and you even control the Apps that are allowed in the eco system, you end up with a perfect walled garden covering, in this case, 15% of the smartphone market and offering the best user experience.

To come back to my opening question: Does Google care? Yes I think so because innovation also comes from the ability to execute well and quickly. If they cannot find an answer to address the complex problems they will loose market share and advertisement reach as a result. In a smartphone world great execution is only possible if you are able to make sure that the hardware supports your software just as it is supposed to do. Up to August 2011 Google was not able to make sure they can innovate as Apple does and execute as well. But then Larry Page bought Motorola and spent 12.5 Billion Dollars in the hope this will help them to close this gap. I am sure Google is 100% aware of the Android problems mentioned above and this is their approach to do better and to make sure there is at least one hardware channel performing exactly as they wish to.

So I guess there is also a little Steve in Google now…

About Alexander
Serial Entrepreneur & Founder in eCommerce - VP @NewStoreInc - Podcasting @theecomweek - Startup mentor @Venture_Villa

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