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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Today, Nexus One... tomorrow, the world

Mark Bridge writes:

To my mind, the Google Nexus One is just another Android-powered handset. It’s a very good Android-powered handset – and one that might dissuade me from my planned upgrade to a Motorola Milestone – but in reality it’s only another phone.

And, as I mentioned yesterday, I don’t think Google’s method of selling the phone is going to transform mobile retailing. Well, no more than the internet is doing already.

Because that’s not why the Nexus One has been created. No, it’s all about marketing - and a much bigger picture.

Marketing because – as I’ve said before – Android needed a bit of a push. It wasn’t a spotlight-grabbing starlet like the iPhone and its operating system. And the Nexus One is a particularly Google-flavoured Android phone.

Marketing because Google’s brand isn’t going to complain when the world’s media comes knocking at its door. Google holding a press event on the eve of CES 2010 will get plenty of coverage – even if there’s not much to say. (There were moments during the product launch when I was genuinely embarrassed. Colour-changing trackball?  Accelerometer-influenced photo viewer?  You’ve got Robert flippin’ Scoble in the room and you’re talking to him about the frilly knickers your phone’s wearing?) 

Marketing because "our primary business is advertising", according to Andy Rubin, Google’s vice president of engineering. Making it easier for mobile users to access the web – particularly Google’s bits of the web – makes perfect sense.

Marketing because Google’s acquisition of AdMob means it’s extra-keen to get people looking at mobile websites with advertisements on them.

And marketing because it extends the Google brand. Forget your Nokia – you’ve got a Google phone. Forget your ISP – you’ve got a Google email address. Forget your sat nav – you’ve got Google Maps. Forget Word - you've got Google Docs. Now forget your laptop. What next?  Your wallet?

Probably, to be honest. Although you’ll still need your wallet to buy the Nexus One. Which reminds me of an interview that Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave over three years ago. If you dig out The Fonecast programme 16, you’ll hear a discussion about the burgeoning area of mobile advertising… and a mention of Mr Schmidt’s assertion that buying and using mobile phones should be free to customers who are prepared to watch advertising.

To state the obvious, that’s not happened. The game hasn't changed that much... yet. As I said yesterday, this could be the start of something big. But it’s not the start of the mobile phone distribution model being transformed. Oh no. It’s much bigger than that. Google really does want to change the world.

Author: The Fonecast
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