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Is Google Play the Beginning of the End for Android?

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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?



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