Google’s Smartphone Is The New “Compatible PC”

The next billion users of IT, perhaps even the next few billion, will likely be using Android/Linux smartphones if Google has anything to say about it.“For every HTC and Samsung, there are tens of Android hardware makers who have to redesign their smartphones to hit a certain low price. This is especially true in the developing world, where keeping the cost down means a lot of effort is spent tweaking devices — something that Google feels is a waste of time. That’s why it’s launching Android One, a program where Mountain View’s engineers will design cost-conscious hardware, and other companies will simply manufacture it. There are plenty of fringe benefits, but the biggest one is that Google will be able to dictate a minimum set of standards for forthcoming Android handsets.” Don’t believe me? Check out the rate of growth of Android/Linux page-views globally, according to StatCounter:

That’s before Google’s new initiative to standardize a really inexpensive/affordable Android/Linux smartphone, sparing all comers even the bother of designing something. This is like IBM standardizing the “PC” back in the day. On top of the already explosive growth what will happen? Armageddon for Wintel? The dawning of a new age? The closing of the Digital Divide? I think this will be the biggest wave of adoption the world of IT has ever seen, billions of new users in a few short years, all using FLOSS on small cheap computers. Then, there are the ChromeBooks which have been successful in education and some business segments. Google plans a global push to consumers, lots of consumers. In five years, will Wintel even matter on the client side?

See Google's Android One program will set minimum standards for bargain-basement smartphones.

“Google is leaving no stone unturned to make its Chromebook a mainstream device for consumers.”See also Google I/O 2014: Chromebooks to Get Android App Support and More Soon.

See also, Windows wars? The Android and Chrome OS Alliance

SJVN beat me by a few hours but his take is similar. Google is hot. */Linux is hot. Bringing Android and Linux to the masses is happening.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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16 Responses to Google’s Smartphone Is The New “Compatible PC”

  1. Pesky wrote, “the times of $600 gadget are going away”.

    There will always be gadgets that sell for such prices and more: top secret stuff, diamond-studded stuff, custom-made stuff, mil-spec stuff, bullet-proof stuff, etc.

    Android/Linux is not the end-all of operating system but neither is M$’s stuff. GNU/Linux is still relevant on small cheap computers and as long as cheap matters, licences that cost $0 will have value and the flexibility FLOSS gives to an OEM will create opportunities.

  2. A Pesky Interloper says:

    “now how long will losers stay in market? take a guess. when all said and done apple have big os share and samsung have big share but others kaput. what if samsung decide to use own os? bye bye android.”
    While most current producers will likely fail, the price of hardware will eventually fall so low that any given company will be able to make Arm based devices just the same as any company can make cheap digital watches today.
    While these companies won’t make huge profits, the devices will be so cheap that the few dollars of profit simply won’t matter any longer (that is to say, while the times of $600 gadget are going away, the era of the $12 gadget will never end).

    There is no guarantee as to what OS or what flavor of OS will be running on them though, so Android fanboys may be flapping their wings a bit prematurely methinks.

  3. wolfgang says:

    …pogson on commodity…

    silly fellow would use hammer to drive screw because look in dictionary for definition. if looking at commerce, much better to read terms used by people who know how to sell something. wolfgang link to wiki for products definition categories that explain how apple and samsung not same thing in view of buyer. pogson insist on driving screw with hammer. how is that working for you?

    people want to go to buy phone decide if they want to look debonair and sophisticated or want to just be cheapskate. takes all types. maybe cheapskate more numerous, but fast track fellow pay more profit to apple.

    samsung biggest seller of phone by a lot now and other android suppliers cannot make profit at price levels set by samsung so eventually go broke. htc and sony and Motorola and lg stockholders not going to wait too much longer for profits before throwing in towel.

    blackberry on ropes, too. microsoft got more money than king farouk and billions of shares held by in crowd so can keep losing money on windows phone by nokia without getting unelected by board. dumb way to run business, but those guys not so worried about income or job or anything else. ballmer now got seat on sonic bench to keep him amused. gates go around the world playing bridge with warren buffet and curing aids and ignorance for fun. who knows what else amuses them, maybe even making funny phone just to keep others dancing.

  4. wolfgang, seeking to rewrite the English language, wrote, “commodity is unbranded item like grain of rice or bean”.

    dict commodity:That which affords convenience, advantage, or profit, especially in commerce, including everything movable that is bought and sold (except animals), -- goods, wares, merchandise, produce of land and manufactures, etc. [1913 Webster]

    Wolfgang, there comes a time in life when a young man must accept that the world is the way it is and not the way you want it to be.

    Samsung actually sells smartphones in every price-range (more than 15:1 price-range). They have to because others do too. There’s profit to be made in every price-range.

  5. wolfgang says:

    …commodity phone or tablet…

    commodity is unbranded item like grain of rice or bean. or like lump of coal. phone has brand and followers of brand or else is shopped for price or some other factor. wiki say:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speciality_goods
    :

    samsung is shopping good product and beats all the others. iPhone is specialty good and beats all others like blackberry or windows phone.

    only big splash for android is samsung. others on the way out.

  6. kurkosdr says:

    Do those OEMs have any other choice? Besides leaving the smartphone and tablet market.

    What other OS can they use? Windows Phone? The customization (aka differentiation) potential is less, Nokia Devices (a company owned by the OS vendor) has most of the market, and the only real advantage WP has over Android is PureView cameras, a Nokia property.

    OEMs know the smartphone and tablet market will be commoditized, like the Windows PC market was. Google is slowly closing Android. Android TV/Wear/Auto don’t have customizable launchers, and the Android L/5.0 launcher will be closed, so it’s either use it as-is or customize the old Android launcher (unchanged since 4.3).

    Samsung has seen the writing on the wall and is experimenting with their own heavily customized Android version, with heavily customized launcher, and are also experimenting with Tizen. Others just wait to become chip packagers (aka what Windows PC OEMs are).

    Of course, such cut-throat price competition is good for us customers. No more 700 euro “flagships”. Because everyone will essentially be selling the same slab with similar software running on top.

  7. DrLoser wrote, “the single company with an actual reason to make a loss in the smart-phone market is Google”.

    Nonsense. Thousands of companies cause smartphones to be manufactured to welcome/reward customers. ISPs give them away for opening and account… That’s huge. Governments subsidize smartphones because it strengthens the infrastructure of the whole country. See India, Kenya, Malaysia, China,…

  8. DrLoser says:

    News for wolfgang: some folks make smartphones at a loss for advertising/promotion/educational purposes.

    Er, no. Leaving to one side this interesting concept that a commercial organisation in 2014 would intentionally lose money “for educational purposes” — let’s not get all Andrew Carnegie on ourselves, here — the single company with an actual reason to make a loss in the smart-phone market is Google. Because they make a profit based on that loss.

    Why do the hardware manufacturers (other than Samsung, a company with billions of dollars of marketing budget) stick at it? Well, you’re about to answer your own question:

    Also, most of the small players could not afford to lose money for long. Why are they still at it?

    Because it’s a huge market and the hardware manufacturers in question want to be part of a very small oligopoly, Robert. It’s like drilling oil in virgin territory. Many go bust, a select few make a fortune. The lucky failures presumably take a tax deduction or pass on the financial haircut to the investors.

    Answer: They are not losing money…

    Wrong answer, Robert. A cursory examination of the financials of any but the top three or four Gnu/Android manufacturers will reveal this blatantly obvious fact to you:

    All the other ones are, indeed, losing money.

  9. wolfgang wrote, “apple winning profit battle with 65% of industry profit, Samsung second with 41%. oops, total more than 100% but not mistake. all other makers losing shirt and total -6% profit. “

    News for wolfgang: some folks make smartphones at a loss for advertising/promotion/educational purposes. Also, most of the small players could not afford to lose money for long. Why are they still at it? Answer: They are not losing money…

    Further, that’s a really authoritative site… How about another viewpoint? It’s Nokia and Blackberry that are suffering. All the other Android/Linux smartphone makers are growing except HTC which is still hanging in there with a hot new product on the way. Most of HTC’s drop in profitability (not a loss on the bottom line), was due to product delay.

  10. wolfgang says:

    …just lot of hot air maybe…

    pogson thrilled by smartphone, but not make calls, just use wifi he say in posts. meanwhile apple and samsung hammer and tongs over market. apple winning profit battle with 65% of industry profit, Samsung second with 41%. oops, total more than 100% but not mistake. all other makers losing shirt and total -6% profit.

    now how long will losers stay in market? take a guess. when all said and done apple have big os share and samsung have big share but others kaput. what if samsung decide to use own os? bye bye android.

    big news at:

    http://news.investors.com/technology-click/050814-700170-apple-samsung-led-in-smartphone-sales-and-profits.htm

  11. Adam King says:

    Well said brother Pogson. Android GNU/Linux will standardize applications and free users from the illegal monopoly. Keep on preaching the truth.

  12. A Pesky Interloper says:

    “Desktop Linux tried to replicate this, but failed. Now it’s all about cheering for Google’s IdiocracyOS.”

    If you keep saying that, Google fans are going to cry at you, oh wait, they already have.
    Offer them a handkerchief, why won’t you.

  13. oe says:

    It just a matter of time. I run matlab full up on a 5-6 ASUS eee with GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) netbook with a big monitor, mouse, keyboard jacked in for content creation. I can see an ARM’ed phone with a GNU/Linux OS being viable to replace in within a couple of years. Content creation when docked, minor tweaks and content consumption mode when in the pocket on the road. Windoze cripples the same unit.

  14. dougman says:

    None of the apps Android offers can help you accomplish things….LOL

    Even Google Docs looks like a watered down version of MS Office….LOL

    Google is evolving their Android/Linux into something out of the Idiocracy movie…..LOL

    This is why I like Windows so much. Most people buy it to waste time, but get that piece of hardware or that piece of software, and you are actually doing things instead of just wasting time on video, games or social media…..LOL

    Yep, spending money on insecure software that screws up your hardware, is surely doing something, at least it makes you look certainly busy.

    Oh yes, KUKU speaks with such authority, a true nobody. He says Android apps are worthless, that Google Docs is worthless, hell in his general opinion, Android and Google are worthless too. Just forget about them and use Win-Doh’s.

    KUKU, is an expert in all things IT related.

    Eh..

  15. kurkosdr says:

    This is why I like Windows so much. Most people buy it to waste time, but get that piece of hardware or that piece of software, and you are actually doing things instead of just wasting time on video, games or social media.

    Desktop Linux tried to replicate this, but failed. Now it’s all about cheering for Google’s IdiocracyOS.

  16. kurkosdr says:

    “In five years, will Wintel even matter on the client side?”

    I hope they do. None of the apps Android offers can help you accomplish things, instead of just consuming content and playing games (oh, and posting junk on anti-social media).

    Where is the equivalent of Pinnacle Studio, PowerDirector, MATLAB and Eclipse (or Netbeans) in Android?

    I mean true equivalent, not some mini version to help you do last minute edits.

    Even Google Docs looks like a watered down version of MS Office or Kingsoft Office for last minute corrections.

    Instead of Linux evolving into something that allows the user to accomplish as much things as Windows, Google is evolving their Android/Linux into something out of the Idiocracy movie (“movies and games, and voice search because typing is haaard maaann…”)

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