Where's the Innovation Google?

by Braden Kelley

Google Nexus OneIn the same way that there has been a lot of buzz around what innovation an Apple Tablet might bring, I’ve been seeing a lot of hype around how great the Google Phone is going to be.

The first Google Phone was an HTC-branded phone carried by T-Mobile USA, and the second is promised to be a Google-branded phone made by HTC and also carried by T-Mobile USA. The new phone is expected to sport an updated version of Android (Google’s mobile operating system) and to be sleeker and better designed.

But after seeing some of the information about the phone and how it will be sold, that is slowly leaking out of T-Mobile USA and other places, I have to ask “Where’s the Beef?”

You may remember the line popularized by a series of Wendy’s spots a few decades back, and if not, here is one for nostalgia’s sake or your general amusement:

Now don’t get me wrong, the Nexus One looks like it will be a very capable phone, but where’s the innovation?

While an FM transmitter, faster silicon, and an improved OS might be nice features, they’re not innovations, and that’s what people expect when they hear that Google is going to put their name on something.

While it may not be fair given that Apple already pushed smartphones up the steep part of the S-curve with the innovations they introduced, there were still some great innovation opportunities left open for Google that they haven’t delivered.

Google more than anyone else has the organizational assets and capabilities to introduce some disruptive business model innovations, but it doesn’t look like they are going to.

Google Nexus One on T-Mobile
Instead it looks like Google’s Nexus One will be sold just like every other phone – unlocked for $529.99 or at a $350 discount with a two year T-Mobile contract ($79.99 per month for unlimited voice/text/data). Despite what some people are saying about the $79.99 per month service price tag, you have to keep in mind that unlimited voice/text/data for an iPhone would cost you $149.99 per month on AT&T (nearly TWICE as much).

If Google truly wants to make a strong branded play in the mobile phone market, they need to leverage their organizational assets and capabilities and sell an unlocked phone that pays you to use it on the carrier of your choice. The longer you keep and use the phone, the cheaper it gets. Google could do this, but they are not, which leaves me the same question as at the start:

Where’s the Innovation Google?

Image Credit: Gizmodo


Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy. Braden is also @innovate on Twitter.

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