Google has certainly made their mark on the world since getting ahold of Android Inc. in 2005. Recent numbers from Reuters show that Android is circling half of the global market share and has about 500,000 device activations per day for both tablet and smartphones. Those numbers are enough to make Google's and Android adopters' processors hot but Android might have indulged in too many honeycombs and could be at risk of a diabetic coma, from which it wouldn't wake up.
Most of the incredible adoption rate can be credited to Android being open-source and most of all, free for manufactures. Google has reaped the benefits of these since 2008 but things have moved from bad to worse in 2011 with fragmentation issues and patent infringements. The severe fragmentation Android has experienced is a side-effect of being a very open platform. Google not only had to deal with many versions of their OS populating devices but manufacturers tailoring the UI as they pleased. On top of that, there was no standard for hardware and all these things guaranteed there would be no consistent Android experience and confusion. In early April this year, Google put the lid on the honey jar and closed the platform up a bit so that changes to the OS would have to be approved but that was only after Nokia decided to take the WinPho7 approach.
Despite the fragmentation issues, Android seems to be conquering the mobile industry, can it overcome all the other factors playing against it now? Find out after the break.
The mobile industry is at the center of some very large patent disputes between Microsoft, Apple and Google, as well as some patent reshuffling since the Rockstar Consortium purchased the Nortel patents. Google has been on the wrong end of most of these patent disputes and purchases which has cost them and manufacturers of Android devices making Android much less appealing to HTC, which shells out $5 to Microsoft per Android device. Samsung won't be too thrilled about paying $15 per Android device either if Microsoft gets their way and as it stands Microsoft makes more money off of Android than its own WinPho7 devices. HP could have an unique opportunity to license out webOS to frustrated Android manufacturers, especially while there are no Windows 8 tablets in the market.
It also didn't help Google's cause to decline Microsoft's invitation to join the Rockstar Consortium in the bidding on the Nortel patents and then publicly criticize them for purposely trying to exclude Google as part of some ploy against Android. This sort of leap before you look philosophy has taken their image from the people's Microsoft to an evil corporation that steals intellectual property which was the case with Yelp. It has also spurred just about every government in the world to launch anti-trust investigations with concerns to their business practices.
I think that Google's way of conducting business is starting to catch up with them. They are trying to be the Internet and in some respects they have succeeded but with such a large company involved in a wide variety of projects, quality of their products start to erode. We've seen this in many failed products like Google Buzz and Google Wave. Google purchased YouTube in 2006 and at the end of 2010 it sill wasn't profitable. The viability of Google+ has yet to be determined but it certainly seems that Google hasn't quite figured out the business-end of things yet. With all this going against it, Android could find itself put out to pasture somewhere in that vast Google Wanka factory sometime in the not so distant future.