Google’s flurry of hardware launches could be part of a broader defensive strategy. Sources that speak The information says CEO Sundar Pichai sees hardware as the best way to be “protected” from the pitfalls of an evolving mobile market. According to Sissie Hsiao, vice president of Google’s assistant, Pichai is concerned that Apple is taking stakes from Android partners like Samsung and that antitrust regulators could cancel Google’s longstanding deal to make its search engine the default on iPhones.
This may be at the expense of support for non-Google products. While support for Android remains seemingly intact, the company is said to be investing less in car assistants and third-party hardware in general. Reportedly, Hsiao and other executives have been exploring employees’ departure from Assistant and Google TV.
Google declined to comment, The information She said. However, the company may have reason to take risks with its hardware business. While Android is not about to lose its dominance, any continuing shortcomings could dent Google’s all-important mobile ad revenue even as its iPhone search deal continues unchallenged. On the contrary, Hsiao would have noticed that the Android Automotive platform in use at BMW, Volvo and other companies is only now approaching $ 1 billion in revenue, a small fraction of the $ 257.6 billion made by Google in 2021.
The main question is whether or not Google can increase its hardware efforts enough to act as a hedge against any problems. While Google has revitalized its lineup of phones with last year’s Pixel 6 and the newly launched Pixel 7, it’s still unclear whether this has translated into improved sales. Google only moved 4.5 million phones in 2021, while Apple and Google shipped well over 200 million each. And while Google-based smart speakers have done well (they’re second only to Amazon in lifetime sales), the company is just making its first in-house smartwatch. It is also re-entering the tablet space after a hiatus of years.
There is also concern that Google may play favorites. The information claims that Google is focusing on providing the best services to “premium” Android partners like Samsung, OnePlus and Xiaomi. This could harm other brands that may not get the same access to the assistant and other key features. If you’re concerned about the long-term health of the Android ecosystem, the reported focus shift may not be very reassuring.
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