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Is Android Dead?

I’ve read this blog post. This sums it up well:

Nobody wants an Android tablet.
Almost no one has the latest version of Android.
The companies that most aggressively marketed the “Android” brand, particularly Motorola and HTC, are floundering. Samsung, you will notice, markets Samsung.

App developers continue to make far more money off iOS.

Ignoring all the commercial issues of Android vs. iOS, I still can’t believe how a performance-concerned company like Google has been totally unable to build a fast mobile operating system. To that regard, Android is starting to be tolerably fast and fluid only today, with ICS and dual- and quad-core devices with 1GB of RAM. Surely controlling the hardware gives Apple an advantage, but it’s clear that Google has failed spectacularly at this engineering challenge, and now it’s too late. Microsoft has done the Right Thing in throwing Windows Mobile away and rebuild their mobile platform from scratch, and I think Android is today what Windows Mobile was a couple of years ago.
Google’s engineers have failed because building software for the web is very different than building software for mobile devices. Plus Java sucks and it’s slow (and it’s owned by a patent troll).

But lets not make fools of ourselves. Android has nothing to do with building a great mobile experience. Android is simply a way for Google to get more ads revenue, taking it away from competitors (namely, Bing). Google is doing this by “taking ownership”, one byte at a time, of all of your emails, all of your pictures, all of your messages, and now all of your files. And it’s doing this on the “desktop” web, and on the mobile web. It’s a radically different business model. Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Nokia, and all the happy company are trying to sell you products and services at a certain price which you may or may not be willing to pay. Google is trying to commoditize everything – devices, operating systems, browsers – in order to serve you more and more ads. 850k new Android devices per day means 850k new ad viewers per day.

Ads in Google searches are a proven business, and they’re the primary source of revenue of the company. I suppose they work as well on mobile. At least they’re tailored to what you’re looking for right here, right now. That’s the type of ads we perhaps do not love, but that we accept without too much complain.

And then there are in-app ads.

In two years of using Android, I have yet to see a useful in-app ad. They’re 99% junk. Real, decent, at-least-half-useful ads are deserting the mobile space, despite all the hype end efforts spent (wasted?) by Google. I can see at least one major problem: space. The screen is very small, and you can only fit limited ad content on it without disrupting the app’s usage experience. I’m not sure how much advertisers are willing to pay for a handful pixels inside an ugly app, making it even more uglier. Besides, developers have understood this phenomenon and are all turning their apps into a weird form of ransomware, asking you to purchase a paid version to remove ads and set your screen free.

I’m sure that if Google (and Apple, and Microsoft) removed in-app ads frameworks, the quality of the apps (and overall app store revenues) would see a great increase. Something like this:

Free or paid apps, but please no ads.






One response to “Is Android Dead?”

  1. […] a year ago I asked myself whether Android was dead. The answer is, a year later, probably […]