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Is Google Play the Beginning of the End for Android?

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Google recently began heavily promoting Google Play, the rebranded "one-stop shop for all your favorite entertainment" formerly known as the Android Marketplace.  Combining apps and entertainment with the power of the Cloud, Google Play is the first step in Google's foray into the Tablet Market, with the hopes of competing with Apple.

So what does that have to do with Android?  Well, as Charlie Kindel explains, it could have more to do with branding than anything else:

Google will start distancing itself from the Android brand completely.  Why?  Because Android has become an ill-defined mess of a brand that Google does not control.  If Google wants to create a phenomenal end-to-end user experience that has a chance of competing with the iPad juggernaut in the tablet space they need to control all aspects of the experience.  If they are smart (and I think they are) they will recognize that brand is as much a part of the end-to-end experience as the user interface, device, OS, apps, and services.

--  Charlie Kindel

Charlie explains that while mobile operators and device manufacturers/OEMs have all the power in the smartphone space, the tablet market is a different animal, and that a unified and controlled end-to-end tablet experience built around a solid brand like Google Play can do very well.

So it may come down to Google pushing Play over Android, and Charlie points out that the Google Play submission process is already evidence of that.  Strict requirements and certification processes will aim to raise the level of quality for Google Play apps, something that Android has failed to do.

Regardless of what happens between Android and Google Play, Charlie feels it's worth keeping an eye on the tablet market:

The tablet space is going to be hugely entertaining in the next 6-9 months as Google makes this transition, other Android based tablet makers continue what they are doing, the iPad continues to sell like gangbusters, and we see how successful Microsoft is with Windows 8 ARM based tablets.

-- Charlie Kindel

If Google indeed intends to "drop" Android and focus on Google Play, I would love to see them open source Android (fully), perhaps in an attempt to compete with Mozilla's Boot2Gecko that seems to be gaining momentum.  What would you do if you were in Google's shoes?



Jonathan Fisher replied on Thu, 2012/04/05 - 6:04pm

Remember back in the day how, "Google is fragmenting android, expect disaster!" Yah that blew over. Remember back in the day how, "Google is screwing over htc, samsung, et all by producing the nexus directly in competition?" Yah that blew over. Remember how back in the day, "Carriers will not relinquish control of their handsets to customers?" Yah that blew over.


 >> I would love to see them open source Android

Android is Open Source. See here:

>> What would you do if you were in Google's shoes? 

If I were in Google's shoes, I'd continue to ignore ridiculous speculation. 


Google Play is a propreitary app for Android.  The renaming was likely to to increase Google's brand strength by including the "Google" term in the title... at least, that is _more_ likely explanation than "Google is abandoning Android."

Jake Ochs replied on Thu, 2012/04/05 - 8:07pm

all valid points as Google either needs to take control of the user experience for the tablets - I have a Sony Tablet S, a fine device hampered by apps - or give up completely in the appspace, focus completely on HTML5 and concede that the tablet is just a portable browser.

Aside from Mozilla actively working on Boot2Gecko, I don't exactly see it gaining (industry) momentum. In fact, I am rooting for Boot2Gecko/HTML5 as the future of the non-Apple tablet space. As a personal vindication, it would just prove that WebOS was ahead of its time in many ways.

Anthony Bennis replied on Fri, 2012/04/06 - 5:05am

Looks like Google Play is more about expanding the original Android Market than distancing itself from Android. By creating Google Play, Google is positioning itself to compete with iTunes and as a provider of more media content.

Curly Wurly replied on Tue, 2012/04/10 - 4:58am

"Strict requirements and certification processes will aim to raise the level of quality for Google Play apps, something that Android has failed to do."


As far as I can see, nothing has changed between the previous Android Market process and the 'new' Google Play market.  There are no 'strict requirements' or extra processes involved, unless I missed something subtle.  Methinks there is a little bit of FUD here.

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