Two very interesting articles about Android’s future that are strongly related. First, Vlad Savov wonders why Android OEMs continue to make Android phones when there’s little to no profit to be gained.
If there’s no money in it, why would a company continue to be an Android OEM today? Ideally, every mobile OEM would like a bottom line that looks like Samsung’s, but no others have achieved it. It’s not even certain that Samsung Mobile will sustain its profitability, with industry analysts describing its present Herculean efforts as “running to stand still.” So how do others bridge the cognitive dissonance between the desired outcome and the perpetual failure to achieve it?
It’s no secret that Android OEMs are facing hard times, and since there are no alternatives people are willing to buy, they really don’t have anywhere to go… Except exit the smartphone business.
Interestingly enough, that’s where the second article, from Ars Technica, comes into play.
A report from The Information (subscription required) states that Google wants to take “greater control” over the design and building of Nexus phones. Currently, a Nexus device is a co-branded partnership between Google’s Android team and an OEM, but this report says Google wants to move to a more “Apple-like” approach.
The report says that in the future, “hardware makers will be much more like order-takers, similar to the way contract manufacturers like Hon Hai (Foxconn) follow Apple’s directions for producing the iPhone.” Apple designs its phones, SoC, and other parts and then ships the plans off to third-party factories to have them built.
I’m sure Google is looking at the massive profits Apple is raking in with its iPhone, as well as the tight control Apple gets to exert over its hardware, and thinking to itself: why aren’t we doing this? Looking at the complete failure of OEMs to properly update phones, I can’t do anything but strongly applaud Google taking the Nexus program closer to its chest, and build true Google phones.