Google Needs to Fortify Its Market Position

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-08-01 Print this article Print

5. iOS is still more polished

Android is a fine operating system that's improving with each passing day. But that doesn't mean that it can match iOS. Quite the contrary, Apple's mobile operating system still delivers a more polished experience to consumers, as evidenced by its superior virtual keyboard, strong native applications and general usability. Admittedly, Google is catching up, and in a few short years, Android might be better than iOS. But for now, it isn't.

6. Fragmentation is still a problem

Although Google says that it will do much more in the future to handle Android fragmentation, the issues are still big enough for there to be cause for concern. According to the Android developer page, 59.4 percent of devices are running Android 2.2. However, 17.6 percent are running Android 2.3.3 and 17.5 percent are using Android 2.1. That's not a good thing. Google needs to find a way to get all of the Android handsets out there running the latest and greatest version of its platform. By doing so, it can go a long way in appealing more to developers, as well as consumers that wait patiently for their updates.

7. It needs to be more open, open source

When Mozilla announced plans to create an open-source mobile operating system that's tied to the cloud, it said that it would share source code with the public as it was being developed. By doing so, the organization was firing a shot over the bow of Google, which only shares source code after a version of its platform is ready to go. If Google really wants to carry the banner for the open-source community, it needs to be more, well, open.

8. There's no insulation

Google's Android platform is undoubtedly selling well. Over the next several years, few would argue that Android will lose its lead in the mobile OS market. But what's stopping another competitor, like Microsoft, from toppling Android? The fact is Google doesn't have any insulation in the mobile market. With a strong OS release and some good deals with vendors, companies like Microsoft can come along and swallow up serious market share in no time. Over the next few years, Google must find a way to insulate itself-or else.

9. It doesn't have an iPhone killer

Over the last few years, Google has been releasing smartphones with its branding to help drive interest in Android. A major problem is that those devices haven't been able to compete well against Apple's iPhone. As the mobile market continues to mature and consumers increasingly turn to smartphones, Google should have a device with its branding that is on the same level as Apple's iPhone. By doing so, Google can make a more compelling argument against Apple, and with any luck at all, start driving iPhone sales down. Don't underestimate the power of an iPhone killer.

10. Chromebooks are a source of confusion

Earlier this year, Google launched its Chrome operating system on a series of Chromebooks from Samsung and Acer. The devices are basically netbooks, featuring small, lightweight designs. And although they suffer from a host of issues, due mainly to limitations in Chrome OS, their biggest problem is that they can be a source of confusion for consumers. Chromebooks are mobile products that, in theory, compete against tablets and to a lesser extent, smartphones. What's more, they're running an operating system that has serious potential. And if sales ever take off, they might just cannibalize Android tablet sales. To offer up Chromebooks as mobile alternatives seems to be a mistake.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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