Feeds

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

Brand-slut buyers have no loyalty

The essential guide to IT transformation

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
EE fails to apologise for HUGE T-Mobile outage that hit Brits on Friday
Customer: 'Please change your name to occasionally somewhere'
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.