Google CEO: Android ecosystem is about more than just tablets

Google CEO: Android ecosystem is about more than just tablets

Summary: Google's top executives recognize the potential and success of lower-end Android tablets, but the bigger picture here is unifying the Android experience across multiple devices.

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While we continue to wait for word about a tablet from Google itself, CEO Larry Page and company might have recognized where Android's strong suit is: the lower-end of the pricing spectrum.

See also: Google's Q1: Earnings strong, revenue a smidge off

During Google's quarterly earnings conference call on Thursday afternoon, Page admitted to investors that "there's also obviously there's been a lot of success on some lower price tablets that run Android, maybe not the full Google version of Android." The most obvious examples here would have to be the glorified e-readers: Amazon's Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet -- both of which start at $199.

Maintaining that this is an area where Google is going to focus on, Page asserted the importance of building an ecosystem around Android for more than just tablets.

Thus, it comes down to investing in apps and the Google Play platform, making Android a more unified experience for the end user.

Page continued:

I think people are going to get a lot more devices. We see kind of a convergence between all the services on those devices. Right now, I feel like each device you have is kind of a hassle to deal with. You're thinking about each individual device. I think that's not really right.

I think you're going to have a pretty unified experience and a great experience, from user point of view, and you won't have to manage all these devices. So I think you want to think about all these screens around you, working seamlessly and working well for you, and I think obviously tablets are important. We have Google TV. Big screens are important. Computers are important. Phones are important. All those devices are important, and I expect that they'll work well together.

At the end of the day, Page reiterated that it's not just tablets that Google needs to concerned about as there isn't "any single device out there" that is going to drive "the kind of convergence that needs to happen."

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Topics: Tablets, Banking, Enterprise Software, Google, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

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20 comments
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  • Of course

    I have said all along the Android will win because it will be used in everything.

    We have watches, glasses, phones, tablets, eReaders, and some have it on a computer... I wouldn't be surprised if the self driving cars were using Android.
    slickjim
    • Agree

      I don't know if Android will "win" in the sense of clobbering Apple, but I do think that we will begin to see Android as the underlying OS for more and more consumer devices, such as car stereos and desk clocks with built-in weather stations and the like.
      dsf3g
      • Like WinCE?

        Only consumers don't know nor do they care that WinCE was the underlying OS driving their GPS, PDA, ATM machine etc. It will be the same with Android, the underlying OS will be irrelevant to consumers. The overlay UI will continue to be skin, forked.

        It's sad when Google's CEO have to look to a fully forked tablet like the Kindle Fire as an example of Android's success on tablets. This goes against (contradicts) Page's stated goal above, of having more a unified Android experience instead of separated individual experience. With OEMs already seeing razor-thin margins, I think we will see more forking, more skins and more companies trying to differentiate their experience from pure Android.
        dave95.
      • Agree, too; however, the title of this article is *wierd*

        "Android ecosystem is about more than just tablets"

        Considering the fact that tablets on Android are still very minor thing, [b]about everything is more than this.[/b]
        DDERSSS
      • That's the problem...

        Android doesn't have to clobber Apple to win... It just needs to become the standard platform for new technology and people will start using it in ways that Apple and MS never envisioned their operating systems to be used.

        Microsoft has been way too reactive in the past 10 years and they stopped leading... Apple has followed Jobs lead but, that seems like nothing more than to win the Desktop war he started so many years ago but this time, he will use iOS to enable the products that replace the desktop.

        The point is, even if Apple gets 40% of the market for phones and 70% for Tablets, it will never kill Android.
        slickjim
      • Peter Perry, the thing is

        [i]It just needs to become the standard platform for new technology and people will start using it in ways that Apple and MS never envisioned their operating systems to be used.[/i]

        But people won't run out and buy Linux powered computers because it's running their radios or clocks, so even if it makes it onto lots of devices, it really isn't that important in that sense.

        That's why I can't understand some users (and a particular blogger) here dancing that "Linux is winning" because it's powering a router or car radio.

        Winning what? It's not sending money to Google or anything, nor to the Linux foundation, or even to Linus. It's invisible on these devices, just as custom built software in the past that was on these devices. It doesn't make the devices work any differently or better then before for me, so I'm really not sure who or what has won what.
        William Farrel
    • Win? Win what exactly? Volume? Is that it?

      If that's the case Google and or Android can have it:)

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • That's because your thinking is contained

        It is contained inside that walled garden and you don't even realize that the money will eventually come for Google. As it grows and new technology takes off, they will get theirs.

        People like Google because they share, they share the profits, they share revenue, they share technology.
        slickjim
      • LOL

        [i]People like Google because they share, they share the profits, they share revenue, they share technology.[/i]

        Share the profits and revenue? In what way.

        Oh, and hows that search code Google gave you working out? ;)
        William Farrel
    • No win...

      Android is emulating the Microsoft model, where MS developed the OS and a bunch of other companies delivered the hardware. The landscape has changed a lot in the last 10 to 15 years and software alone is not enough.

      Consumer products, especially mobile, require high level of integration between the hardware and software. Without it, the user experience suffers and it is all about the user experience. This is why Apple is so successful. My take is that Android products will always mediocre and so will Windows mobile products. Reason?

      They do not make the hardware...
      prof123
      • They do not make the hardware... .

        yet. Google wants to make their own, and now are purchasing Motorola. This will fundementally change Google.
        Cynical99
  • The Elephant in the Room

    Is the OEMs and to a lesser extent, the carriers.

    [i]"Right now, I feel like each device you have is kind of a hassle to deal with. Youre thinking about each individual device. I think thats not really right.

    I think youre going to have a pretty unified experience and a great experience, from user point of view, and you wont have to manage all these devices."[/i]

    Google has to find a way to make the OEMs/carriers play ball and stop treating Android like an embedded OS used in appliances like DVD players and more like the computer operating system that it is. Either that, or they have to figure out a way to to achieve a unified experience in spite of OEMs/carriers being slow or even MIA with OS updates, forking, creating different user experiences via skins, etc.
    TroyMcClure
  • Three observations

    1) "(Lower cost tablets) is an area where Google is going to focus on..."

    Low cost tablets are absolutely no threat to Apple. In fact it almost sounds like Google (and everyone else) is ceding the $400 and over tablet market to Apple. and all indications are that that is an awfully big (and lucrative) market.

    2) "(Improving the ecosystem) is an area where Google is going to focus on..."

    A little late on the uptake, don't 'cha think? Ecosystem is THE reason why the iPad, Kindle and Nook have had success and why Google's variant of Android has had little success in the tablet space.

    3) "I think you???re going to have a pretty unified experience..."

    Google has a lot of strengths but if you spent all day showering them with praise you almost certainly would never use the word "unified". Words are cheap and history says that Google doesn't have the corporate will or culture necessary to pull it off. Let me put it this way: I'll believe it when I see it and not before.
    Falkirk
    • Low cost computers weren't either right?

      Apple played the higher end game before and after awhile people realized they didn't have to pay the tax... The same will happen if Apple ignores the lower end.
      slickjim
      • Apple isn't ignoring the lower end...

        They offer phones at all ranges of the spectrum now, and have started similar steps with the $399 iPad 2. Don't forget, so far, 10" is the only size Apple has used for a tablet, so it's not so much a "tax" (when compared to smaller Android tablets) as it is factoring the cost of at least one more expensive component.

        Like it or not, the Apple tax is largely a perception rather than a reality when it comes to iOS devices and arguably even the MBA. More truth to the tax on the desktop and traditional laptop side of things, but that's a different story.
        TroyMcClure
  • Editor?

    Interesting article, but it really needs some editing:

    "Page admitted to investors that 'there???s also obviously there???s been a lot of success on some lower price tablets'"

    "this is an area where Google is going to focus on"

    Pitiful.
    Seronac
  • Android=Phone+Tablet+TV Remote+Cloud+Bluetooth

    I look for an Android device that will include a phone. Then with a bluetooth headset connection one device with a large battery can be used all day for a seamless computing and communication experience.

    Add a heads-up-display and we can all have Super Natural powers as we attend to our daily chores.
    DaveLG526
  • Black is white, up is down.

    So, consumers have been AVOIDING stock Android tablets for YEARS, and the ONLY ones that are selling well are heavily customized and barely recognizable as Android at all. From this, Larry Page concludes that what consumers REALLY want are stock Android devices. Um...
    brianmashe
  • Random products or a strategy?

    Google will do better to base its future strategy on the understanding of the coming phenomena of Web 3.0. Simply launching products ranging from Laptops to Tablets and OS to social networking websites is not going to help!

    As a Business Analyst at ValueNotes research firm, I am writing a series of articles on Web 3.0. To understand the phenomena better, pls read further at the following link:
    http://www.valuenotes.com/xchange/blogs/53/183
    RB writes
  • Volume?

    Why don't people understand that Google's strategy is different from Apple's. Google makes money from advertising, therefore volume = more money.

    This isn't a case of jack up the prices to make huge margins, like Apple's strategy.

    http://www.tech-thoughts.net/
    sameer_singh17