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Google ad hints of new smartphones to come on Oct. 4

Matt Hamblen | Sept. 21, 2016
Nexus smartphones, with new 'Pixel' name, seen as going mass market

Under that scenario, Google could make its Google Mobile Services (GMS) — including Google Search, Gmail, Chrome and Google Maps — “proprietary,” in order to simplify the process of getting devices updated to the latest version of Android. “That would be so pure innovation actually makes it into consumers’ hands,” she said.

GMS is available only through a license with Google, according to the Android website, although installing it on devices requires no license fee.

More details may be forthcoming on Oct. 4 about a GMS that is more proprietary, expensive or restrictive for licensees. Google CEO Sundar Pichai told The Verge on June 1 that his company would “be more opinionated about the design of the phones,” particularly where Google sees a need to “push the devices forward.”

Pichai said then that Google would not create its own phones from scratch, and said Google’s plan was “still to work with OEMs to make phones.”

While Android already dominates the smartphone market, Google has to make Android evolve to keep up with the market and create interest when a new OS version is released, said Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates.

“Google needs to show continued improvements, if not outright innovation, if it wants to maintain its market share,” Gold said. “Google often creates flagship devices that are meant to stimulate the market and get vendors’ creative juices flowing. It will continue to do so.”

Gold said he hopes that Google will announce an evolution of its core search capabilities with artificial intelligence with new interfaces for users.

The latest Google video promotion with TV and billboard ads shows a marketing willingness to take the Nexus concept for innovation to the mass market and beyond the niche of technophiles that have purchased the devices online.

On the other hand, Google faces a balancing act as it enlarges its market reach, said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

“Google always needs to be cautious that Android doesn’t get cheapened as a phone platform, especially as Apple gobbles up so much of the premium tier,” Moorhead said. “They should charge as high a price as they can without getting piggish on profits.”

The worst that could happen is if Android smartphones become a “commodity” with little pizazz and innovation.

“Commoditization doesn’t just happen; industries allow themselves to be commoditized,” Moorhead said. “Case in point -- the PC market. The PC market reduced investing then started to get commoditized and had to spend even more to decrease the slide.”

 

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