Ben Bajarin is the Director of Consumer Technology Analysis and Research at Creative Strategies, Inc, a technology industry analysis and market intelligence firm located in Silicon Valley.
What Google has been able to accomplish with Android has been impressive to watch. Good timing played a key role in their success, as the handset makers were desperate for a way to compete with Apple’s iPhone. It took Google a couple of product generations but eventually they brought the market an operating system that was a worthy alternative.
As Google was building the Android strategy, they made a smart tactical decision by offering a more open operating system infrastructure that hardware manufactures could build upon, customize, and differentiate. This was a point of frustration for those who were using Microsoft’s mobile platform, which at the time was called Windows Mobile.
(MORE: Top 20 Must-Have Android Apps)
Google’s early Android success was built upon these two strategies: good timing and being a Microsoft alternative in mobile. The question now is whether they keep the momentum going, especially as the iPhone comes to new carriers where it was once absent and Microsoft prepares a bold new operating system strategy with Windows 8.
It’s imperative that Google do three things if they want to keep momentum up.
First, they have to keep their foot on the gas pedal of innovation.
Google recently showed the world their newest version of Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Some of the things they showed were feature upgrades, but one feature where your phone can identify you and unlock the phone—fittingly called Face Unlock—was definitely forward thinking. Google needs to embrace and integrate Android features they believe will be commonplace in the future.
Hopefully Android chief Andy Rubin’s dismissive comments about Apple’s attempt with Siri to create a more intelligent personal assistant is not evidence of Google’s vision for mobile devices. Rubin is quite wrong if he thinks natural-language user interface technology like Siri is just a fad that will fade over time.
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