Google is focusing on hardware, which could have big implications for the Android ecosystem.
The recent flurry of product launches from Google could be part of a large-scale defense strategy. Sources interviewed by The Information claim that the CEO of the Mountain View firm, Sundar Pichai, sees hardware as the best way to be “protected” against the dangers of a constantly changing mobile market.
Google focuses on hardware
According to Google Assistant Vice President Sissie Hsiao, Sundar Pichai is concerned about Apple taking market share from Android partners like Samsung and competition regulators possibly reversing the long-running deal. date that makes Google the default search engine on iPhones.
This could come at the expense of support for non-Google products. Although Android support remains intact, the American giant could slow down its investments in its Assistant for cars and third-party hardware in general. Sissie Hsiao and other executives have reportedly already worked to reassign employees from Assistant and Google TV.
According The Information, Google declined to comment. That being said, the company would have reason to take such risks with the hardware. If Android isn’t about to lose its dominance, the slightest loss in speed could mean big revenue losses, even if the iPhone search deal isn’t challenged. By contrast, Hsiao said the Android Automotive platform used at BMW, Volvo and other automakers is currently approaching $1 billion in revenue, a very small fraction of the $257.6 billion earned by Google in 2021.
which could have big consequences on the Android ecosystem
The main question will be whether Google can step up its hardware efforts enough to insulate itself from these potential problems. Although the Mountain View company brilliantly relaunched its line of smartphones with last year’s Pixel 6 and the Pixel 7 just recently, it’s too early to tell if this has improved sales. Google had shipped 4.5 million smartphones in 2021, far from the leaders of the market. And if the giant’s connected speakers are doing very well – they are just behind those of Amazon – the company has just launched its first home smartwatch. It is also returning to the tablet market after a break of several years.
There is also the concern that Google has its bookmarks. The Information maintains that Google continues to provide the best services to its “premium” Android partners like Samsung, OnePlus and Xiaomi. This could overshadow other brands that don’t have similar access to Assistant and other important features. If you care about the health of the Android ecosystem over the long term, this shift in strategy might not be very reassuring.