It is no secret that Google’s launch of Nexus One phone was less than stellar. Google had so many opportunities to become a game changer in the mobile phone market but missed most of it either because it was in a hurry to launch or just didn’t think hard enough to be different from Apple’s iPhone and others. Here is a list of my Top5 opportunities they missed. Let me know what do you think?
1) New Data only Phone – Google was Industry’s only hope for creating a data only phone i.e. a mobile phone that worked exclusively on the data network wherein voice was just a data service running on VOIP (voice over Internet protocol). With Google Voice it had a chance to do so but failed to deliver a new experience and instead chose to just add Google Voice this as another application something Skype has been doing on many phones for a long time.
2) Worldwide Launch – No mobile phone manufacturer, except RIM in a limited way, has ever succeeded in launching a phone globally on the same day. Google came very close with availability on its web site but missed a part of US, China, India and Korea by not having all GSM and CDMA support at the same time.
3) Pricing Model – Google had a great opportunity to create a low price smart phone and break the mobile operator’s hold on multi-year contracts in the western world where mobile phone is subsidized by the operator. It could have subsidized the phone for a while and create a new pricing model. It could have become an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) if that is what it took to pay for the phone. Instead Google did whatever everyone else did but settled on taking smaller margin between itself and its partner HTC.
4) Speech as a New Interface – Google came close but only got to a beta or alpha stage for using Speech as a new interface on Mobile. Another missed opportunity!
5) Getting rid of Bluetooth Headsets – Despite various new styles, very few people like their Bluetooth headset but are forced to use it due to various handsfree driving laws. Google seems to be getting close to eliminating them with a better audio design but wait - it does need a Car Kit that according to Google is still not available. Again in a hurry to launch!
Bottomline, Google missed an opportunity to change the mobile industry and just became a me too player challenging Apple’s iPhone. What do you think?
R. Paul Singh