I’ve been on the fence for some time regarding whether Google should use Motorola to produce a pure Google Android phone. There are lots of reasons why this would impact the Android marketplace in many predictable ways, but could also bring a number of unknown effects.
However, I’ve been thinking lately of all the so-called fragmentation, and of all the varying user interfaces (skins) that every OEM ships with their phones. Some are great, most aren’t. They all add unnecessary overhead to the Android experience, no matter how good they may seem on the surface.
Maybe I’m simply an Android ‘purist’, or a Google Fanboi – take your pick. Among other things, one of the missing components of the Android ecosystem is a line of true, pure Android devices.
Sure, the Nexus series of phones is as honest an experience that you can find in the Android universe today. I had the privilege of owning the original Nexus One – a phone that still kicks ass for my daughter Brianna and that keeps amazing me with its ability to seem relevant two years later.
To be honest though, what the market needs is a line of true Google devices. While I realize that the Motorola isn’t complete by any means, and that it could still unravel, I think this is what Google needs to use their new division for. When I first heard about the deal, I thought it may affect the Android market in negative ways. That Google recognized this and would work towards ensuring their OEM partners of fair participation in the availability and participation in Android code releases.
What I fear at this point is that Google will stick to this promise and not take the opportunity to clarify what this can mean to the marketplace.
Google needs to set the tone for Android. Period.
They can do this without jeopardizing the Nexus program, releasing their own take on a line of devices through Motorola. Not flooding the marketing with 12 designs in a year, but just three. One candy bar style like we’re all accustomed to, one slider with keyboard, and one BlackBerry style with smaller screen and dedicated keyboard.
This does several things:
- Demonstrate the positive affects of timely, consistent firmware updates across a standardized platform.
- The Android market would have a pure Android option to choose from on multiple carriers.
- OEMs would have a baseline Android device to compare their enhancements to, differentiating their products.
- The Nexus series would continue similar to today as annual examples of state-of-the art, premium devices.
- Google could demonstrate standardization, without mandating blandness across OEMs.
- The Motorola deal becomes more than just a patent purchase, and allows Google to bring some of the best concepts of Apple’s iPhone and Microsoft’s WP7 approaches to leading their ecosystem.
Granted, this is simply my wish list, but is having Google produce their own phone really that ‘evil’?