The X-Phone is Google’s way to Restore Balance…

So with all the talk about Samsung dropping Android, and all the X-Phone rumors, I ve come to a conclusion…

The X-Phone is Google’s way to restore balance to the Android ecosystem. I personally do not think Google intended for their to be only 1 very dominant OEM in the Android space..and with Samsung basically doing whatever they want short of forking Android, Google needs to make sure there is a viable competitor.

Now….

  • The OEMs are in it just like Samsung they want users to be in their own ecosystem and their own apps, and they are not big on selling or marketing Nexus devices, so Google can not count on Sony or LJ as they can just as easily get big and try to push their own deeply customized Phone with their own ecosystem leaving Google Apps to the side.
  • Nexus devices are still reference devices that are unlocked and getting updates directly from Google. This needs to stay this way. Regardless of what people say. The Nexus line is a developer device. It is the device that the Android Compatibillty Guidelines are based off of..thus it is called “Reference Device” So you cannot get rid of the Nexus, or dilute it with things like the VZW Galaxy Nexus.

The Motorola X-Phone will be Google’s Android balancing act, so to speak. It will not be a bone stock Nexus but a “stockish” Android phone designed to be sold with carrier customization in mind. So what does this mean? It means it would be a Verizon Galaxy Nexus marketed to the masses with LTE and a few Verizon apps. So in Verizon’s case it would not have Google Wallet, will come with Isis Payments built in, and maybe some games and other bloatware. It will not carry the Nexus name so that the Nexus line is not diluted, and it will be mass produced and available on all carriers. Now you will have some caveats. It will not be updated directly from Google, but will probably be updated faster than any other OEM and you will have to deal with any of the Carrier applications and lock-ins that may come with any other phone. Yes it will have bloatware, but that can easily be disabled, unlike the likes of Touchwiz and MotoBlur.

I think this will allow Google to put more focus on the Google version of the Android experience, focusing more on their ecosystem and services, in addition to offering wide device availability, and ensuring that there is a premium alternative that can compete with Samsung.

Google TV…What it needs to really compete

At this years Google I/O we saw Google TV boxes all over the place with various skins and designs raging from stock to cubes. It kind of reminded me of Android Smartphones, with every OEM coming out with their version of what they think Google TV should be, some which suck…and some which seem like they have promise.

Google TV reminds me of what Android was right before Gingerbread, still trying to figure itself out and work out the kinks in the platform, and not a major player on the field. So Google should learn from their own history to make Google TV a strong platform…..

1. More updates, it is like the Google TV team took a long vacation. Android was getting major updates almost every 6 months, making it more stable and adding more and more features. For Google TV, it is not the case and probably gets updated once a year.

2. A Nexus Google TV. Yes, some thought we were going to see one at CES, but lets not forget Google does not present Nexus devices at CES…I’m not sure if they ever have. If we see a Nexus Google TV it will be shown at Google I/O along with all the other Nexus paraphernalia. This Google TV should probably be built by ASUS or LG which seems to be it’s strongest partner in this area.

3. Features. The Google TV already has a great feature set, but this is what it needs.

  1. A Tuner. The Google TV needs an Tuner for all those folks who are cord cutters. Yes, this will bump up the price, but Google could solve this by making two options. A Cable/Sat add on box, and a Stand Alone Box meant for cord cutters which use broadcast HD. All this for 99.99. What would be the better solution would be one box that offers both.
  2. Local Media. Yes the Google TV needs to do a much better job of organizing local media, it should be able to connect to a SMB or DLNA share and scrape the movie info similar to a Boxee Box. In addition, the search feature should be able to additionally pull up local media when you are searching for a TV show or movie to watch.
  3. Content. This is probably the more complicated issue but for people like me who still suscribes to digital cable…all I really want is better DVR integration. If Google could negotiate that, as a cable subscriber I would be happy. For those who are cord cutters, most shows and movies are already being added in a la carte. With a tuner for live TV, 90% of needs should be met.

Anyway what do you all think

The Problem with Windows Phone from the outside looking in.

I’m an Android user so I will speak on this from the outside looking in. I am a heavy Windows Desktop user as I never really saw the point of using a Mac for my needs so desktop runs Windows while the mobile stuff is Android. Now unlike many folks I don’t think Windows Phone had a feature or hardware problem…I think the problem was more of a problem with the Windows Phone ecosystem. Windows Phone represented a move from the standard icon grid many people were sick of and most of the issues which I hear are built around the ecosystem.

First, Microsoft should of done a better job with the integration with their cloud services. People should have to automatically use their Outlook.com to sign in to the phone, if they don’t have one make them create one. Just like Amazon, Apple and Google force you to create some account for Kindle, iOS and Android. Using this account should enable services you have turned on across the board with single sign-on to each.

Which brings me to my next point. Windows Phone has a poor streamlined cloud services experience among all product lines. Microsoft already has majority of it’s services on the web to all users, something Apple does not have, but everything looks disjointed. Why does the calendar still look like crap. In addition I should be able to log into Outlook.com access all connected services, So I should be able to go to Bing Maps, Music, the Market Place, Office 365, and all other content offered under that umbrella. This will help to promote the Windows ecosystem because it is all available in one place.

Next is marketing…..bad job on marketing. People’s experience is more geared toward the ecosystem that they use. Android is all about Google….Apple is all about iCloud. Microsoft focused more on the feature set and forget to market their ecosystem. If you don’t want users to depend on something else you have to give them a way out. For example Google Music gave users a way out of iTunes by providing syncing directly from iTunes making the switch simple. Apple dropped Google Maps and provided their own offering (Even though it kind of sucked). The key here they where marketed heavy to get users on board.

Microsoft should have marketed the features of Bing Maps and how it does what Google Maps does but better. They should have of marketed their content offerings much better, and maybe use deeper skype integration as a leverage for customers.

I think MS went about this all the wrong way and should have never went negative with Google or anyone else, regardless of what Google did or didn’t do, MS should have focused on their product and showing how great their product is. Windows Phone is a great phone being managed by the wrong people, and that is unfortunate because they had a strong chance of wiping blackberry away.