Everyone who knows consumer electronics knows that in the USA, BestBuy is considered one of the savviest of retailers around, ranking up there with WalMart. So it's not a surprise to me that Google has taken a page out of the BestBuy playbook that basically broke the price controls, ludicrous terms and changed the personal computer industry around. That's what Google is aiming to do with the GooglePhone.
The time was 2002, and BestBuy decided it had had enough of Toshiba, Gateway, IBM and other brands who were pretty much in control of the personal computer industry. Their response was a Porsche designed laptop, that had just about the best of everything, and at a very favorable price. Dubbed the VPR Matrix, there was one model ever made, and in its day, both its styling and performance rivaled and out shined just about everything on the market.
When BestBuy did what they did, about the only innovative PC manufacturer around was Apple (does that sound familiar?) Google, like others in Silicon Valley, and around the globe are fairly tired of the antics of the carriers. And unlike Nokia, who is back playing ball with the carriers in hopes of better market share in the USA, Google is saying-the heck with them. What Google is saying basically is "customers pay for a pipe from you" to the carriers. You supply transport, and we'll do everything else.
The everything else is services. And services like VoiceMail and transcription GoogleVoice has covered. So while the mobile operator delivers voice mail that you have to dial into hear (running up your minutes) GoogleVoice give you options. Where the carrier charges for SMS, Google gives it away for free. When it comes to apps and applications markets, Google is rapidly transforming it's entire suite of applications to be mobile centric. Maps now does all that previously high priced GPS devices did on the Android. Other services like Picasa are being optimized for mobile use with greater simplification.
Here's what I think Google is seeking to do:
1) Drive more use of Google services, starting with Search
2) By driving more use of Google, they sell more ads and deliver more impressions
3) Provide Equal Access-Break the monopoly in the long distance arena that the mobile operator basically has as for the most part, all LD calls go over the carriers network as mobile phones do not have equal access to any choice of carrier. This goes beyond the call though and applies to Voice Mail, SMS, etc. Imagine if your could pick the best provider for LD, Voice Mail, SMS, Contact backup, etc. This will all happen as a result of GoogleVoice, Mail, Gizmo, Picasa
4) Even more, imagine if you could pick you preferred data provider. You may want voice over an MVNO, but your data over only WiFi when you're at home or in the office. The Android can be a very smart phone
5) Be manufacturer agnostic. Android will be Android on all devices, and will function that way.
6) Allow users to SIM swap as they go from country to country, but not worry about their services as they will always be there for you when you log on.
7) Make your Google identity--your GMAIL address, the one key to all your online activity
8) Sell you more of what you need online through the Google Android Market, using more of Google Check Out
9) Be carrier agnostic. Google doesn't care who you use to get to them. They just want to make it easier to get there.
Let's see how all this shakes out.
Here are some other stories on the subject of the Google Phone: