Google transforms it Nexus strategy into hero device portfolio strategy

With the acquisition of Motorola, Google needed to change its Nexus device strategy.

At major every software release of Android, Google picked up a vendor and worked with it on a hero device with the full Android experience (No UI on top). These devices were then branded Google Nexus by manufacturer X.

Now that Motorola is a Google company, suspicion is lurking around. Will Motorola get a competitive advantage of 3 to 6 months? It is not a big deal for Chinese makers like Huawei and ZTE but more of a showstopper for Samsung. And after all Samsung is the most successful Android powered manufacturer with its Galaxy portfolio.

Samsung Galaxy SIII

This Nexus portfolio is both a blessing and a curse: manufacturers will be able to launch devices with the latest Android release but at the time they won’t be able to customize the devices or put their own services on board.

With this new strategy Google succeeds in three ways:

  • Block customization of hero devices
  • Maintain the manufacturer momentum behind Android
  • Give time to Motorola to ramp up and try to overtake Samsung

Maybe its time for Samsung to start a new platform on its own beyond Tizien and Bada, and acquire an advanced mobile OS like RIM’s QNX.

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An overview of Tablet OS

Today was the Paris Tablet in Enterprise event. Is has been a huge success with more than 250 attendees from leading companies.

I introduced  a session on Tablet OS. I’ve accepted the challenge to summarize the market in one slide and less than 5 minutes.

Here is the table I’ve presented to the audience:

Tablet OS table

Tablet OS table

I did upset the Microsoft speaker as I said that Windows7 was an aging king of OS (for tablets) …I thought it was a compliment but apparently not. 😉

Promised I will behave at the next Tablet in Enterprise event in London. See you there in June.

Why RIM should not be considered out

RIM posted the shipments of its Blackberry devices last week. Shipments are growing 40 per cent year on year to 14.2 million devices.

Some people tend to consider that RIM is out or will be out of the market because it has not a strong proposition in the mainstream monolith formfactor and touch interfaces.

RIM souldn’t be considered out because it has strong fundamentals:

  • operators love BB devices because they are not data thirsty in a scarce bandwidth environment.
  • BB are very strong on the QWERTY formfactor
  • BB has a strong value proposition for business and consumers alike with mail and free IM
  • RIM has invested a lot in advertising building up its BB brand

Surely RIM hasn’t the Android growth, but BlackBerry is still a verystrong and attractive platform.

RIM’s encryption and state security

RIM is currently under scrutiny by UAE and Indian governments. Both want access to BlackBerry emails and BBM for national security issues.

> Telecom.com coverage

These governments want to be able to intercept communications as every country is doing on a GSM network. It is pretty easy on a mobile network as long as you have the encryption keys which are the same for every user and an access to the commutation equipments. Nokia Siemens Networks faced some issues during the 2009 unrest in IRAN. NSN have been accused to provide intercept capabilities to the Iranian Government. NSN denied providing any web and data intercept solution that helped the Iranian government to censor and track down opponents. NSN confessed to have provided voice intercept solutions. > NSN press release

In some Western Countries like France BlackBerries are banned from the Army and Government. The issue there is not be able to intercept the emails, apparently there is no issue for the local spies, but the NSA having a direct link to RIM’s servers. The US is sharing with some countries (Canada, UK, Australia, New Zeland) its intelligence but not with some other of its allies. And its other allies seem to like  having some little secrets not shared with the Uncle Sam.

BlackBerry6 OS, BlackBerry Torch and the future of mobile apps

The review of the BlackBerry Torch by Gizmodo is really tough. OK the resolution of the screen, a low-res 480×360 display, is not really what you could expect of a flagship device in 2010. The same for the 624MHz processor which was a best of class but in 2008.

What I like in the Torch is its form factor: the QWERTY-slider is for me a killer one. It combines the full QWERTY, the slider, and Touch screen advantages.

Furthermore BlackBerry 6 OS adds a lot on the browsing side: its browser got a 100/100 on Acid3 tests and is HTML5 compliant. Imagine a browsing experience as on the lastest PC browsers but with a reduced bandwidth usage.

It seems that RIM is working on allowing websites to call its APIs like Screen Rotation, location, etc. If so, RIM will take the lead as application developers will no longer need to develop using a SDK: HTML5 and calling the right APIs will do the trick. I believe this will be the next ‘big (r)evolution’ in mobile application.