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Weekly Roundup 19th August 2011 – Mobile madness

Phone and Tablet PCThis week has certainly seen the battle of the mobile giants. Google has purchased Motorola mobility for a whopping $12.5bn, Apple are suing Samsung for patent infringement over their Galaxy range and Microsoft are trying desperately to cosy up with manufacturers to ensure the future of its flagging Windows phone OS. But what does all this mean for the consumer?

There’s no doubt that Android (Google phone OS) has been a boon for business users wanting smart phone functionality and direct-push email without the hassle of a Blackberry serve or the higher handset costs of the iPhone. In three years Android has become the worlds no.1 mobile operating system and this is not least because it is offered free to mobile manufacturers to use on their handsets. Google make their money through the services offered on these phones rather than the OS itself and no one can doubt the effectiveness of this strategy in terms of market penetration. But is all this about to change?

Google’s decision to purchase Motorola almost certainly has a lot to do with Motorola’s vast patent portfolio but talks of a specific Google handset have created delight and concern in equal measure. There’s no doubt that one of Androids biggest failings, in comparison to Apple’s IOS, is its loose integration with handset hardware. This has lead each of the major manufacturers to release their own software layers that sit on top of Android creating some confusion amongst users as to what constitutes Android and what constitutes for instance HTC or Samsung. There’s also the problem of software compatibility between handsets with some apps failing to work on some hardware – something unheard of on IOS. However, the lack of a single ‘Google’ mobile has also contributed to Androids dominance as manufacturers are not competing directly with Google but rather working with them. If a Google handset were to be released that offered stronger hardware integration this would almost certainly put some manufacturers off completely which in the long run is probably bad for consumers.

Either way we’re going to be seeing some major changes in the mobile arena. The Google/Motorola merger is going to have rattled a few cages at Microsoft HQ who are going to be keen to improve their already lagging market share with Window Phone. Microsoft already have a strategic partnership with Nokia and analysis are now talking of a takeover or at the very least a much stronger alliance. Will this rationalisation in the mobile market lead to tighter integration and better handsets or will reduced competition ultimately stifle the market? Only time will tell but certainly at Geek-Guru we’re excited about what the future holds.

Posted on by Tim
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