NYT article on Google phone

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
NYT has an article up, here on the eve of what some are saying is the day Google announces its phone plans.



Interestingly, it takes the form of a profile of Andy Rubin, former Apple dude and current Google mobile devices guru, brought on when Google bought his startup Android.



One thing that sort of jumped out at me is that Andy doesn't really have a track record of success in the market.



He's been behind some pretty cool stuff, for sure, but none of it really went anywhere: at Apple he worked on the Quadra (OK that was for real, but not any kind of breakthrough), a software modem that apparently never saw the light of day, when Apple spun off General Magic he went along and had a hand in developing Magic Cap, the mobile OS that you may never have heard of, then went on to found Danger, which made the Sidekick (which had its enthusiasts, but....), then finally a new venture to make some kind of cell whatsit, which is where Google came in.



And for all of that, the article makes clear that this is a software venture only, an open platform that will be free to cell manufacturers with Google making its money on services.



Now, I see this as going one of two ways: Rubin runs wild in Google's famously undisciplined blue sky environment and produces something that's really neat on paper, but has a bunch of real world problems. Or, Rubin finally gets the deep pockets that can let him bring one of his babies all the way home and it changes the industry.



The biggest problem, as I see it, is that they are apparently writing on OS to run on any qualified hardware, which means they can't do the tight integration with the handset, which is something I gather Rubin has tried to do in the past, certainly with Danger.



Plus, what kind of deals can Google make with the carriers, if the whole idea is to make the money go Google's way? Apple made some headway in this regard because they could dangle a highly desirable handset as a carrot, with the likelihood that it would drive customers ATT-ward.



Is it likely that carriers will be wiling to hand over the keys to the portal based on a Mobile OS that is available to one and all?



I'm sure Rubin has some clever stuff to spring on us, something really unusual as far as the look and feel of the UI go, but will it be enough? Or will it be too much, and be another product "ahead of its time" that never takes off in the market place?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,131member
    I think the whole Google Phone vs iPhone is just the media hyping things up for fun. Given their track records it's clear that in UI design Apple CRUSHES Google. Google's best designed app is Picasa and that's not their original design.



    The Google Phone is supposed to potentially run on an open linux platform and that'll lead to hacking but how stable or intuitive will it be? How will the networks, who are draconian about the apps running on phones, cope with a phone that may perhaps be "too open" for comfort?



    Every iPhone user I've met is happy with their phone. This is amazing because when I first postulated on these boards about an Apple Smartphone some folks laughed and said Apple would be crazy to go up against the stalwarts in Nokia, Moto and Sony/Erickson.



    I'm not counting Google out of anything but their raison d'etre selling adds. I haven't quite seen them turn the corner and excel in other areas.
  • Reply 2 of 13
    nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    I thought Picasa/Picasaweb was cool until I tried iPhoto'08 with .Mac web gallery. Destroys all other photo apps/ online sharing. Seriously.



    .Mac IMAP mail and webmail is good. iWeb destroys Blogger, etc.



    Having no control over the hardware means the GooglePhonePlatform is headed the way of Linux... for better or worse.



    Just my two cents.



    For the record, it seems that "legacy" .Mac stuff like syncing, iCal publishing etc. seems a bit troubled right now.

    The new .Mac stuff though is good.
  • Reply 3 of 13
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    I was totally in the "Google has no proven track record for decent interface design" camp until I read this stuff about Andy Rubin.



    He, unlike Google, actually has delivered on some interesting UI stuff, albeit stuff that didn't fare well against the competition.



    The question in my mind is, did Rubin fail before, not because he wasn't making good stuff, but because he lacked marketing clout and deep pockets?



    Does a Rubin backed by Google get to do something great? Or am I overestimating his track record?



    Any Sidekick users in the house, that can speak to the OS?
  • Reply 4 of 13
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Cringely addressed this a few weeks ago.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post


    Cringely addressed this a few weeks ago.



    Addressed what? That Google won't make a phone OS unless Apple has a hand in it?



    Maybe we'll find out tomorrow, but that sounds unlikely.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    I think the media hype about the gPhone will die down once the actual product is know in more detail and is being shipped.



    I don't want to underestimate Google, but so far, they really don't have that much experience in hard- and software integration.



    One of Apple's strengths is to make complicated technology accessible and usable for the average person. We'll see how Google will do in that respect.



    -t
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Yes, I also agree in the all this hype is just the media. The iPhone will stay superior. I'm excited for the revealing of what Google has to offer. Just to compare.
  • Reply 8 of 13
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    So Google announces its plans: pretty much what the NYT article was talking about, an "open platform" with a bunch of partners with some vague talk about "unleashing potential" yada yada.



    There's a lot of emphasis about how a free, open platform will make handsets cheaper-- how much does a handset maker typically pay for an OS license? I wouldn't have thought it was a major factor in the final pricing, but maybe so?



    At any rate, we'll know more shortly-- even though there won't be any actual product in the wild till the latter half of '08, an SDK will be available in a few weeks.



    I like the quote from Eric Schmidt, "Mobile users want the same applications on the phone as they use on the internet."



    Yeah. And guess who has a slew of internet apps. So, I'm guessing, a fairly straightforward OS, with maybe some UI flashiness to set it apart, but mostly an emphasis on running Google web apps, better than the competition. Some kind of enhanced Gmail, maps, docs, Picasa, You Tube, which we pretty much knew.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    shawnjshawnj Posts: 6,656member
    Not sure what implications this has for Apple and the iPhone.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ShawnJ View Post


    Not sure what implications this has for Apple and the iPhone.



    Yeah, too vague as of yet. All depends on the execution, of course, but with that laundry list of "partners" you wonder how successful they can be delivering the kind of tightly integrated experience that distinguishes the iPhone.



    And, glaringly, the big US carriers aren't on board, suggesting that they are leery of letting Google become the portal/service deliverer.



    Still, Google may be looking past the US market towards global share. As the NYT article points out, what's at stake here is who gets to be the de facto standard for OS/back-end in the new world of ubiquitous computing. No doubt Google feels that their online suite of services make them a natural to marry hand held devices to all kinds of Web 2.0 experiences.



    If I had to guess, I would say that all of this is the usual lofty language surrounding Yet Another Phone OS and "killer apps" that don't really do anything compellingly different from what's already, or shortly will be, available elsewhere.



    The good news is that if this looks at all promising it will be a spur for Apple to up the ante with the iPhone 2, which will certainly be released before the Google OS.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    In a way, I think this will be good for the iPhone. It means that google will put some effort into making all of their online apps available for mobile use, and we know iphone already has a nice version of maps. Because google won't be making money from selling the OS, I don't see why that couldn't continue. When the SDK is available for iPhone, I expect iphone apps to keep up pretty well with google's.



    And any pressure towards more open systems is a good thing for consumers in this currently crappy, anti-consumer, and authoritarian market.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BRussell View Post


    In a way, I think this will be good for the iPhone. It means that google will put some effort into making all of their online apps available for mobile use, and we know iphone already has a nice version of maps. Because google won't be making money from selling the OS, I don't see why that couldn't continue. When the SDK is available for iPhone, I expect iphone apps to keep up pretty well with google's.



    And any pressure towards more open systems is a good thing for consumers in this currently crappy, anti-consumer, and authoritarian market.



    Agreed. I'm really curious to see if Google can deliver on something as broad as a phone platform.



    They made their bones with algorithms, and since then it's been acquisitions and permanent beta offerings.



    I would guess that Rubin is looking to make this "Sidekick 2 with money and a massive backend infrastructure", but it's pretty clear Google isn't going into the handset manufacturing biz so that's a tall order.



    I wonder how much more "open" a Google linux stack will be than, say, Symbian? Are they're any significant barriers to developing for that platform?
  • Reply 13 of 13
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    maybe since google is on apple's board, do you think SJ had up front knowledge and therefore gave into 3rd party apps on the iphone. hmmmmmm hmmmmmmmm



    but the ipod/itunes integration is key....the MS appoach of loose intergreation marginaizes the interface...Zune experience mulitplied. maybe the carrier's (tmoble, sprint) came to google to creat some market to fight verizon, at&t



    hmmmmm
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