Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th Nov 2013 09:01 UTC

Dieter Bohn, for The Verge:

So for a long time now, we've found ourselves asking the two questions again and again: what exactly is Google trying to accomplish with the Nexus program and what's the strategy with these Android updates? We sat down with three of the four main leaders of the Android team to ask those questions yet again. "Nexus stands for high specs at a really fair price," says Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering for Android. "The other thing is the updates come directly from Google. Those are the attributes of Nexus that I think people have really enjoyed and we're not changing that strategy."

Yet while Google's answers to these two questions have been remarkably consistent over the past couple of years (and remains consistent today), the Nexus 5 and KitKat themselves seem to give us a different answer than their predecessors. The hardware and the software tell a more ambitious story: older Nexus devices were Android phones, but the Nexus 5 is the first true Google phone.

Something is happening in the Android world.

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If Samsung, HTC, LG and so on think they have useful additions or replacements, let them offer those as apps in Google Play.

Problem is that from a business point of view (because, you know, companies are here to make business) it makes no sense.

Those are hardware companies making money from selling hardware. Software additions are here to allow them to differentiate their hardware from other manufacturers and to allow them to sell this hardware at a premium price eventually.

Today, it is almost impossible to make hardware which is so much better than your competitor that you can successfully compete against Samsung behemoth or chinese OEM. And if you do so, your competitors are fast at copying your ideas.

Today, long term success for hardware companies will come from exclusive software and the ecosystem (which are extremely difficult to replicate for competitors).

Even Samsung is smart enough to understand that they need to improve their own services and software to be able to stay competitive in the future, and to keep this software exclusively for their own models. Not sure they will succeed, but it is definitely the right strategy.

Google case is quite different as Google is an ad company. I don't know what will happen in the Android world, but it makes no doubt that Google will do whatever necessary to make THEIR own business successful. And considering that Samsung and other Android OEM are partners but also competitors, Android market should become quite brutal soon.

Edited 2013-11-06 12:52 UTC

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