Android army rankled over race to bottom: Is it too late?

Android devices makers are trying to find ways to differentiate and boost profit margins. Good luck with that.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Google's Android army is getting a wee bit restless amid a race to the profit margin bottom and devices that all look alike.

MIT's Technology Review has a post on the potential mutiny among smartphone makers. When the Android march first started Motorola, HTC and Samsung were the leaders. Now there's Huawei, ZTE and others.

The reality: All of these devices kind of look alike. That fact means hardware is just a commodity and if they all have the same software there's no differentiation. In this world scale rules. And for the Android market that situation means Samsung wins, racks up cash as HTC struggles.

Christopher Mims at Technology Review notes that Amazon's move to revamp Android Gingerbread 2.3 and make the OS its own was an eye-opener. When you play with the Amazon Kindle there's almost no evidence that Android is the core code.

Let's play this out a bit.

  1. All Android hardware makers wake up and realize they need to jazz up Google's OS to be different.
  2. Google won't officially recognize these non-compatible apps.
  3. Hardware companies stink at software generally speaking.
  4. Price still wins the day.

In other words, it's heartening that smartphone makers realize they have to do something with Android. But it's probably too late. The race to the bottom is well underway and new devices from HTC, Samsung or whoever won't change that equation.


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