With Samsung now the top phone maker in the world, Business Insider is speculating that the company might leave Google in the dust and continue to develop its own version of Android. While that might make sense for Samsung, it would be worrisome for Google, who could be left developing an operating system that few manufacturers use any more.
Already, manufacturers of smartphones are very slow to update their phones to new versions of Google’s Android OS. This is because carriers and manufacturers each put their own spin on Android, making it their own (and oftentimes not as good as stock Android). In doing so, they cripple some features built into the operating system, such as tethering or Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. As far back as 2010 Google was worried that manufacturers and carriers would create “walled gardens” where only their products, services, and app markets are available. As the Business Insider article points out, Amazon has done exactly this with its Kindle Fire tablets, with huge success as a result.
But does Google even want to be in control of the smartphone market? At its core, Google is still an advertising company. I believe Google developed Android to kick-start the smartphone market for non-Apple products. It was clear that Apple developed its app ecosystem in order to exclude companies such as Google – and Google couldn’t afford to be left out of the mobile ad game. What do you think? Does Google need to maintain control over Android, or does it benefit from any use of the mobile OS? Leave a comment below and let us know.