Google's Android ambition is to reshape the mobile industry, report says

Google's Android, will it be a success or has it already failed?

Creating a true 'ecosystem' - Japan's model

The concept of a true ecosystem, in which the roles of the various members remain in collaborative balance to achieve mutual benefit by the overall health of the system, is alien to this traditional mobile value system.

But there is one example of a viable mobile ecosystem: in Japan, brought into being with the February 1999 launch of NTT DoCoMo's i-mode service. The report cites data to show that Japanese mobile subscribers are just 3 per cent of the world's total subscriber base but they account for 40 per cent of the world's total global data revenues.

In the Japanese ecosystem, the network operator plays the central role and has the main relationship with the subscriber. "New Handset sales, customer service and support, upgrades, etc. are all conducted via the shops managed by Network Operators," the report notes. "In Japan, although handset manufacturer churn rates are quite high, network churn rates remain extremely low (less than 5 per cent even after Mobile Number Portability was launched)."

As the network operator sits at the middle of this system, customers conduct all of their mobile activities in partnership with the network operator. New handset sales, customer service and support, upgrades, etc., are all conducted via the shops of managed by network operators. Recent research conducted by the Mobile Consumer Lab at IUJ supports such findings, showing that mobile consumers feel far more loyal to their network operators than to the handset manufacturers whose phones they use.

But to fully develop that relationship, the network operator oversees relationships with the other members of the ecosystem, to their mutual benefit. For example, the operators pay as much as 50 per cent of the R&D costs for new handsets by the manufacturers, and handle the costs of marketing and selling the handsets. For content makers, the operator offers a "walled garden" for platform-specific content and services by approved content providers, who benefit from a simple payment processing portal and reap over 90 per cent of the operator's subscription revenues, according to Sugai's analysis. For platform vendors, the operator dictates software standards and can enforce requirements that devices and services be able to support these standards, such as Java or Brew.

Android and the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) are Google's attempt to adapt and adopt the Japanese model, according to the study. In the OHA ecosystem, Android occupies the central role: creating a "common framework within which all industry players must function." In this model, Google in effect cedes "ownership" of the subscribers acting instead to optimize interactions among the ecosystem members.

As the ecosystem becomes more efficient and more attractive to subscribers, Google will benefit from a stream of advertising revenue tied to new and emerging mobile search services.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?