Will Amazon eat Google's lunch?

There has been a lot of news lately in the Android camp and they have ranged from the good to the bad. Nothing ugly yet.

Let’s start with the bad. Google was forced to come out to defend its decision not to open up the Honeycomb version of the hugely successful Android mobile OS immediately. It said it needed to make some things work properly before device makers start to play with the release. Previously Google has been heavily criticized for being hypocritical since it was the ring leader of those who like to bash the Apple ecosystem as closed and then evil. The rebuttal by Andy Rubin placated only few nonetheless seems everyone would need to keep fingers crossed until Honeycomb comes out.

And the good news? Amazon jumps into the Android pond. The splashes would definitely make quite a lot of people wet.

Prior to now Google was the only software heavy weight in the Android zone with many calling it an 800 pound gorilla. One of the criticisms of the Android experience has been the mess of the official Android market place and the risk of the openness of apps submission. It got so bad that Google had to use the kill switch to nix some rouge applications siphoning users’ data. Now apart from the 1984 styled intervention, Google hasn’t done much to change this. And then Amazon steps in.

Everyone welcomed Amazon’s entry into the apps store business and despite the Apple lawsuit against the use of the apps store name; it has been a roaring success. It is not rocket science, Amazon has extensive experience with retail business and it has done well with it; you can feel this with the ease of using the Amazon apps store.

Some said Google should be happy that Amazon is validating Android but I think Google should be scared: Wouldn’t it be stupid to think that Amazon, who started as a book seller in 1995, would be content with selling just apps? Amazon moved from selling books to selling everything including hardware. Today, Amazon is the largest seller of retail cloud system and has the bestselling reader, Kindle. Kindle has been an explosive success, considering that it can’t do anything apart from e-books (more or less). So what if Amazon starts to sell tablets? That shouldn’t be a problem, I guess.

But Amazon is not like a Samsung or HTC, it can force Google’s hands. And if Google doesn’t play ball, what stops Amazon from creating a fork of the Android and going in another direction? That is the scariest possibility and it is based on the fact that Amazon has skills that Google doesn’t have; customer service. With good customer babysitting, you can be sure than an Android experience from Amazon is almost going to floor any other approach and even if Google goes on with the big 4 manufacturers, HTC, Samsung, Motorola and LG, Amazon forging alliance with the small time players would definitely hurt the other parties.

The market for sub $100 smartphones is going to be terribly huge; and with customer service for phones not like free email service, Google might find itself as the loser. And because Android is “open” there is absolutely nothing Google can do about it.

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Author: Adedeji Olowe

Adedeji / a bunch of bananas ate a monkey /

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