By Steve Green on Mon, 01/04/2010
The Last several months have seen an avalanche of new Smart Phones with brand new operating systems, incredibly sophisticated hardware crammed into ever shrinking form factors with wildly changing pricing schemes and carriers vying to be the first to have an exclusive on it.
The latest much hyped device is the "Nexus One" from Google which is scheduled to be launched tomorrow. This new Smart Phone has all of the press and Blogging world commenting how it may (or may not) be the next, "iPhone Killer" that the industry has been lusting for for the last three years.
The hype surrounding it may fade quickly if the specs don't pan out to be as good as they are rumored to be and since it is arriving as a GSM only device that appears to be functional for T-Mobile's network only might just spell doom for it altogether.
Whatever the launch may turn out to be is not nearly as important as what this device, and more so what Google represents for the future of mobile computing. Whether you believe Google has taken a page from Apple's playbook on device lauch hype or not, it is noteworthy that of all the technology movers and shakers, Google may be the one to be perfectly positioned for capturing the market to consumers. Google's philosophy of Open Source computing is its strength and their Android operating system ties it all neatly together in a way that all other Smart Phone makers cannot or will not compete with.
One rumor is that Google will be selling the Nexus One directly to consumers, much the way Apple did with its first iPhone. Although it is tuned for the T-Mobile network, that may change quickly with subsequent models. The bigger picture is that Google has been playing in the big cell phone carriers' sandbox and they don't like it. Google has faced stiff resistance from the phone companies by attempting to thwart Google from entering into the market and to suffer the same regulations that they do.
Google is being clever here by testing the waters but I don't believe they intend to start setting up cell towers to start a competing new cell phone company. When you look at their applications suite, mobile OS, Chrome browser popularity rising, and Google Voice waiting on the wings, it seems clear that they intend to move into the mobile market and use the current resources at hand. While this may seem to be mountain moving right now, I detect a trend in the wireless business that will result in something very similar to what happened to the wireline industry-commoditization.
The future for us will eventually be that the carriers become transparent much the same as your home phone has become. You shop by price and features now, not by your carrier. I believe that Google sees this also and is creating a framework to leverage itself with in the coming years.
I personally welcome this change for the future and believe it will offer consumers the best choices and pricing. No more long term contracts or fixed pricing. You buy the phone of your choice and activate it without having to worry about whatever network you are on.
We may be some years away from a scenario like this, but let's not forget the similar stanglehold the seemingly invincible telephone companies had on comsumers and how quickly the world changed after those monopolies were ended.