In the early hours of October 5, Beijing time, Googleâ€™s newly established hardware department held a product launch for the first time and focused on releasing a series of hardware products including Pixel Mobile Phone, Daydream View, Google wifi, and Google Home. Under the "God Assist" of various operators' partners, in the "reliable news" of various media friends, the audience is actually no stranger to these "new products", and the appearance, configuration and color have been exposed. This is just like the "retreat" of the annual Apple conference.
In fact, Google has also challenged Apple's iPhone in the high-end smart phone field, and its new generation of Pixel smartphones has entered the consumer electronics market. Today, all the speculations have finally settled. What new thoughts will this new product launch conference bring to the industry?
| Is also Andrews, losing Android
When it comes to Google, when it comes to smart phones, you can't help but talk about Android. Android itself is actually a very good operating system. The latest version of Nougat is mature and sophisticated. It has a variety of considerate and responsive features and is in no way inferior to the iOS system. However, after two weeks of launch, less than 0.1% of Android devices used â€œnougatsâ€. In fact, the most popular version of the Android system is still the Android "KitKat" that was released in the fall of 2013.
"Link" has article analysis that Android fragmentation is not a new pain point, it is becoming more and more annoying. Upgrading an update requires a procedure between the operator and the manufacturer to reach the consumer's device. Newly listed hardware products are not equipped with the latest system version; security issues have not been timely repaired. User experience is thus adversely affected. Whether it is for users or for Google, this is very frustrating.
In particular, the Nexus phone is a collaboration between Google and mobile phone manufacturers; they are an opportunity for manufacturers to demonstrate their own hardware manufacturing capabilities, and Google is an opportunity to show Android. In fact, Nexus devices did not bring much remediation to Google, and many Nexus devices feel like replicas of existing third-party hardware - with some limitations.
According to Anindya Ghose, director of the Center for Business Analysis at New York University's Stern School of Business, â€œThe fragmented Android ecosystem is highly competitive and profit margins are very low. Even Samsung can only achieve 17%. Profit rate."
This is a polarized market. Samsung dominates the high-end market, and a large number of low-cost mobile phone manufacturers fight in the low-end market. Those who want to capture the midrange market, such as HTC, have also been squeezed. An open ecosystem that should give consumers a rich and varied choice is unexpectedly bringing about few choices.
Jan Dawson, chief analyst at market research firm Jackdaw Research, said: â€œAndroid has always been like a fickle boss. It can take up a large share of the smartphone market, but it rarely helps To lucrative profits, there is a lack of differentiation between Android vendors. In recent years, it has also led to competition from the bottom-up."
| Will Android be subverted?
"Link" published an article saying that Google's newly released Pixel will subvert the entire Android ecosystem. Pixel and Pixel XL can be described as the ultimate Android phone, and the days of Android vendors will become even worse. In fact, the only unknown thing about Pixel is how they will affect the already fragmented Android ecosystem.
Google also launched smart phones with the Nexus brand before, but those products were created by hardware partners in turn. However, although Nexus devices have been doing very well all the time, they haven't been able to make much difference in the market. And Pixel wants to be the protagonist in the market. This should make other Android manufacturers nervous.
Google is now doing its own brand of high-end smart phones like Apple, and today it released its first products, Pixel and Pixel XL, in San Francisco. This is completely different from Googleâ€™s model of operating mobile services since Android was born. Prior to this, Android, as a free open source operating system, enabled mobile phone manufacturers such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics to run their own devices.
"HTC and Huawei want to become Google's real partners, not just the foundry," said Goss. "But Google only wants its own brand to appear on Pixel, not to stick to any other manufacturer's brand."
There is a foundry business that is better off than a penny - a familiar situation for HTC. However, only one company is qualified to produce Pixel. Other companies that produce Android devices face situations that may be further marginalized.
In addition to the clear benefits of Google's control of hardware and software, the Pixel mobile phone is the only smartphone with Google Assistant. This is a very significant difference, especially considering that Google is promoting its wider ecosystem due to Google Home and Chromecast. Pixel phones will outperform any other Android competitor in terms of operational efficiency, feature richness, and integration breadth.
Although Pixel smartphones will set a benchmark for Android devices, they will also make any other Android vendor's days harder. Whatever the future will become, the already brutal Android ecosystem has become even more cruel. Pixel looks promising, not the other Android phones that share software DNA with it.
So how does Hiroshi Lockheimer, an Android executive, explain to Android partners?
| See how Android executives say
Lockheer recently accepted an interview with Bloomberg at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, and talked about the companyâ€™s renewed focus on hardware issues and how he will appease Android partners who will have more competition with Google.
The following is an interview summary (cited by Bloomberg):
Q: Both Pixel phones are expensive. Are you trying to overcome Apple's dominant position in Android's struggling high-end smartphone market?
Lockhammer: High-end mobile phones are a very important market segment. Having a healthy high-end equipment ecosystem is very important for the healthy development of the entire ecosystem, and it is true for application developers and others. In this area, certain OEMs are quite successful, such as Samsung. Apple is also very strong. Do other competitors have room for survival? We think there is. Do we think it is a very important part of Android? It is definitely.
Q: How was the Pixel mobile phone born? When did it start to develop? What is the original intention of developing it?
Lockhammer: We considered it for some time. After all, the integration of hardware and software has become more important than ever. Probably when we have to decide whether to develop another Nexus device or something else. The relevant discussion took place last summer, and the decision was probably in the fall. Cell phones now usually develop for about 12 months. The past 12 months have been very different for us. Pixel development involves industrial design, mechanical engineering, and even electrical engineering and component selection. For these tasks, the team of software and hardware are all working together.
Q: Can Google complete such work in the Nexus project?
Lockhammer: Being a platform provider, letting manufacturers handle the work on the other side, can make your platform customized and commercialized - that's a model that can help us to promote the widespread adoption of the platform. It was a different engineering job than Ostro's team. We will continue to develop this platform - that's my job. On the basis of this, Ostrow's team will upgrade its project to a level that cannot be achieved in terms of completeness, exquisiteness, and comprehensiveness. This is a big change. The Nexus device was the purest Android product in the past. Pixel is the purest Google product that incorporates Android and many other elements such as Google Assistant, our virtual reality platform, and more.
Q: Do you want to cut down the Nexus project?
Lockhammer: One of our most popular Nexus devices is the Nexus 5 two or three years ago. It is so successful because we can work with LG to provide a mobile phone with the best value for money. In 2016, there are many manufacturers that provide cost-effective products. Now, if Google has a view on how to make a mobile phone, it is to deeply integrate Google's technologies. This is Pixel's difference. Android manufacturers have their own views on the mobile phone vision and we respect it. I don't want to shut the door completely, but now we don't have plans for more Nexus devices.
Q: How do your Android partners think of Pixel?
Lockhammer: I have a strong feeling. I also know that Pitchard (Google CEO) also strongly believes that it must make a clear separation of responsibilities. Then there is Ostro, who is the senior vice president responsible for Google's own hardware project. It is not me who is responsible for this project. That was an intentional arrangement because I was the one responsible for working with our partners.
Q: What did you say with the Android OEM vendors?
Lockhammer: They understand it. They have noticed the evolution of Google. We built Chromecast, we built Google glasses, and some other hardware projects. They have noticed this. When we were doing Nexus, they used to ask us questions like this. When we acquired Motorola, they also asked. We worked with Motorola when it was merged into Google, but we paid attention to maintaining a reasonable distance. It is an Android OEM manufacturer, just like our partner Samsung. That kind of processing is very good. I remember talking to Samsung about that problem. He asked me the same question, and I also gave him the answer I just had. He said, "OK, I understand." They still stand in the same line with us after four or five years. Android has made remarkable growth since then as an ecosystem. They brought us confidence that we can do it well.
Q: Do you give priority to Google's new hardware team to provide Android updates and features and Google applications, rather than treat them like Samsung and other partners?
Lockhammer: Ostro's team will use our platform, but they will also work very closely with Google's search team, map team, and Google Assistant, which other OEMs may not want to see of. Other OEMs may want to differentiate themselves and build their own things, such as doing their own assistant service.
Q: Do you do this to appease Android partners?
Lockhammer: No. I don't think so. This involves at least three teams. The Android team, the hardware team, and the Google services team, whether Gmail, Maps, or Google Assistant, their tasks are on as many platforms and devices as possible. We have very clear guidelines. Samsung tells us confidential information about its product lines and plans, and we will not communicate those to LG and vice versa. This practice will continue and we will treat everyone equally, including Ostro's team.
Q: Do you not think this is strange? After all, you are an old friend of Ostrow.
Lockhammer: It's a bit embarrassing. But we are professionals and we focus on our work. We know each other well and understand that this has brought great help. Therefore, we understand that this is not a private issue but a work issue.
| Layout AI, Bet Hardware
For many years, Google has provided its software to mobile device manufacturers for free, while the latter has made Android the most widely used smartphone system in the world.
â€œBuilding hardware and software at the same time allows us to take full advantage of features like Google Assistant,â€ said Rick Osterloh, Googleâ€™s senior vice president of hardware. â€œIt allows us to take advantage of our years of learning in machines and Technology accumulated in the field of artificial intelligence to provide the simple, intelligent and fast experience that our users expect.â€
Googleâ€™s other products released today include Google Assistant and Daydream. Google Assistant, an artificial intelligence driven assistant, is designed to forecast every need in your daily life. Daydream is a virtual reality device created specifically for the mass market. These products, as well as other products similar to them, are not just Google's future. They are also the future of personal computing. They matter. Google has to build it for itself, not to deliver it to someone else's design team.
For Google, it is wise to introduce Pixel. Pixel smartphones will not only have the latest Android version and the best camera. It will also seamlessly integrate Google's new voice-activated ecosystem. It is expected to be a window for a generation to watch the virtual world.
Unlike Nexus devices, Pixel simply reflects Googleâ€™s vision. The company makes HTC OEM, but everything in Pixel needs to be manufactured in accordance with Google's specifications. Pixel's "Made by Google" slogan is not so subtle enough to remind people that all other Android devices are not made by Google. This is Google's most pure vision for smart phones so far.
"As we all know, Android can do a lot better than it does today," said Goss. "By controlling the hardware, Google can significantly improve the reliability and stability of the Android mobile user experience."
All this shows that Pixel is not a joke, maybe you can call it Google's smart phone blueprint. Apple has always insisted on controlling both hardware and software at the same time, making the iPhone one of the most successful consumer products ever. Pixel doesn't just look like an iPhone, it's also eager to replicate the success of the iPhone. And for any other member of the Android platform, it may be no small trouble.
The work at Lockhammer was already difficult. And with his old friend Rick Osterloh joining Google parent Alphabet this year, who is responsible for leading the companyâ€™s new betting on hardware, Rothheimerâ€™s mission becomes even more difficult.
| Self-revolution, or compatible and package
The potential benefit of Pixel's advent for the Android camp is that it will enable manufacturers such as Samsung, LG and Motorola to make more radical product innovations and iterative upgrades. In fact, we have begun to see such signs: LG and Motorola launched modular phones, Samsung continues to give consumers a very good hardware products. Google also stated that it will continue to support its Android partners. It also sees Pixel as an innovation engine.
â€œWe want to continue to see the entire Android ecosystem thrive,â€ said Google spokesman Iska Saric. â€œWith these new phones, we want to provide the best Google mobile experience. We hope This will also contribute to the future innovation and development of the entire ecosystem."
Of course, hardware manufacturers also have other options. They can choose to embrace the new operating system, but the early attempts of Samsung Tizen did not bring much encouragement. Or, they can choose to create other product categories to save themselves, just as HTC did as a virtual reality device.
"Hardware is not new territory for Google, but now we need to take action to show the best Google through a series of equipment designed and built for us." Ostero said, "This is a natural step, we This is for long-term development."
Lei Feng network (search "Lei Feng network" public concern) that Google's previous hardware product strategy lacks a central point, and its core search business is not much related. At this conference, a series of new hardware products formed relatively complete and interrelated hardware systems. Aggregating each product together not only connects Google devices, but also connects Google services and applications that have been favored by users for years. In the past 10 years, Google has been building a â€œmobile firstâ€ world. In the next 10 years, Google will turn to the world of â€œartificial intelligence firstâ€. We believe that Google will bring more surprises to us in the future.
Via Bloomberg & Wired
Googleâ€™s first generation AI mobile phone, 649 US dollars virtual assistant
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