Feeds

The curse of Google?: Android licensees fail to cash in

Brand-slut buyers have no loyalty

Website security in corporate America

Google's Android is now in almost half the world's smartphones – but licensees are finding that quod eos nutrit eos destruit – or what nourishes them destroys them.

Figures from research company Canalys released this week certainly show booming growth in Android devices. Android is grabbing 48 per cent of the smartphone market worldwide, up 379 per cent from a year ago, in a market that is growing like Topsy.

But the success isn't translating to the bottom line – nor is it establishing much of a brand.

One observation caught my eye. Nokia's failure to update Symbian or supersede with something more attractive means its left a vacuum for more competitive products from rivals.

"Samsung has failed to fully capitalise on Nokia's weakened state around the world, as the Finnish company rides out a challenging transitional period," noted Canalys principal analyst, Chris Jones.

Android is very much the "generic" platform, but being generic, it brings no brand sizzle to the manufacturer. Expensive efforts to differentiate their Android handsets from others are turning out to be a waste of time. That was one of Symbian's founding principles, and it's coming true.

Samsung scores highly in user satisfaction surveys, but buyers remain promiscuous – once they have their smartphone, they feel they owe the manufacturer very little gratitude. There's no brand loyalty.

So, when the market stops growing, what will manufacturers do?

It's not as if they'll have built up huge cash warchests. Estimates vary on how much profit manufacturers are taking home: here's a recent one. It's still Apple, and decreasingly, RIM. There's a few pickings for HTC and Samsung. The others, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and LG, aren't seeing any positive revenue from Android.

Eventually something has to give, because being in business is about profit, not market share. The operators long to fork Android, because they don't want Google creaming off service revenue. I expect this to be a certainty – I only wonder how many forks there will be in this drawer. ®

Bootnote

Windows has raced to 1pc market share – showing how much work Nokia has to do.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.