Narrative: Android is Hard

Each narrative page (like this) has a page describing and evaluating the narrative, followed by all the posts on the site tagged with that narrative. Scroll down beyond the introduction to see the posts.

Each post below is tagged with
  • Company/Division names
  • Topics
  • and
  • Narratives
  • as appropriate.
    Narrative: Android is Hard (Jan 9, 2017)

    This content is restricted to paid subscribers to the Tech Narratives service. You can sign up on this page for a 30-day free trial, which will give you access to all the content on the site including the daily comments, narrative essays, subscriber forums, and other restricted features. If you’re already a subscriber, you can sign in using the link below.

    If you’re already a member, you can sign in here.

     

    Moto X4 Brings Android One to the US and Google’s Project Fi (Sep 20, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    ★ Google Reportedly About to Announce Partial HTC Acquisition (Sep 20, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    ★ Xiaomi Announces Mid-Tier Android One Phone with Google (Sep 5, 2017)

    Google’s Android One project for emerging markets was launched in 2014, and focused on countries in the Indian subcontinent and other parts of Asia. But it’s appeared to be struggling, with little recent positive news from vendors supporting it in those countries. In addition, at its I/O developer conference this year Google announced a project internally called Android Go, which is focused on optimizing Android for low-cost devices and therefore seemed to be in somewhat the same vein. But the funny thing about Android One is that’s it’s been morphing somewhat from a project for the low end of the Android market to one more targeted at the mid market. There have been several Android One phones through Sharp in Japan since mid-2016, and now Xiaomi is announcing a device. which seems at least in part targeted at India.

    The most interesting thing about Xiaomi as a partner is the fact that it’s always majored on its proprietary UI – MIUI – as a differentiator for its devices, and it’s arguably that the fairly locked-down Android One was intended at least in part as a response to Android OEMs’ customizations, so this is certainly a departure for Xiaomi. As with the Japanese phones, though, this one is also targeted at the mid-market, selling for a little over $200, with 80% of handsets sold in India below $200. So it’s a poor fit for the original focus of the Android One project, which is arguably now being taken over by the Android Go initiative, but indicative of what Android One is evolving into. The big question is whether the device will actually sell, given that a Xiaomi phone without MIUI is a tougher sell and there are plenty of other cheaper Android phones in the countries the companies are targeting with this one. There’s certainly no guarantee Android One does any better in India at $200 plus than it did at $100.

    via Bloomberg

    Google Releases Android Oreo, Which Will Take Over a Year for Meaningful Use (Aug 21, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    Essential Phone Reviews Highlight Challenge of Android Differentiation (Aug 18, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    Xiaomi Claims 70% Quarter on Quarter Smartphone Shipment Growth (Jul 7, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    Essential Phone Will be Exclusive to Sprint in US, Further Limiting Appeal (Jun 12, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.

    ★ Andy Rubin’s Essential Announces Yet Another Phone Claiming to Change the Market (May 30, 2017)

    The Verge seems to have secured the first of two exclusive looks at Android founder Andy Rubin’s new phone, from his company Essential (Recode’s Code Conference will have an interview with Rubin tonight where I’d expect him to share more). So far, there’s nothing about the software, beyond the assumption that it’ll run Android. So the focus is entirely on the hardware design, including the materials, connectors, and a theoretical ecosystem of modular add-ons (for now, there’s just one: a 360° camera). The reporting on this is all a little breathless – Andy Rubin has quite a reputation and anything he launches will be accorded a fair measure of respect. But the pitch here feels so much like almost every other new entrant in the market, a mix of straw man arguments about the current state of the market, grandiose claims about how all that will change, ambitions to build an ecosystem without any evidence that any other player is interested, and nothing at all about distribution, which continues to be the key question in the US smartphone market. We’ll hopefully know a little more by tonight, but I’m extremely skeptical that this phone will do any better than any other recent attempt to change the smartphone market. In the meantime, that won’t stop this project from getting tons of positive media attention in the run-up to an actual launch sometime later this year. It’s worth noting that beyond the phone there are some other bits and pieces too, including a smart home OS and speaker with a screen, but again the details are so short and claims so grand that I’m inclined to ignore them until we actually know something specific about them.

    via The Verge

    ★ Lenovo Reports March Quarter Earnings (May 25, 2017)

    This content requires a subscription to Tech Narratives. Subscribe now by clicking on this link, or read more about subscriptions here.