Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Verizon, Motorola, Google: please improve my mobility.

- Verizon workers are on strike.

- Google is buying Motorola Mobility.

- Can these three companies improve my personal mobile computing?

Verizon workers are striking primarily because Verizon appears to have blundered in spending gazillions of dollars on fiber optic infrastructure to millions of homes for its FIOS, which is not generating enough revenue to justify the capital investment.  Verizon Wireless is now subsidizing the Verizon land line business, rather than the other way around, and Verizon is seeking givebacks from its land line workers.  Verizon should have let the land line business wither away and migrated to wireless.

I hope Verizon gets this worked out.  I have Verizon FIOS at home for video and Internet and Verizon Wireless for voice service.

I have the original Motorola Droid running the Google Android OS.

Now that my brief and massively disappointing flirtation with Virgin Mobile crashed, I had started to again lament the disappointing aspects of good old Verizon Wireless:
- high monthly service charges
- unimaginative billing options
- unimaginative smart phones.

I have received e-mail messages from Sprint and ATT Wireless offering newer Motorola smart phones: Photon 4G and Atrix 4G.  My two year commitment to Verizon Wireless expires in November 2011 and I can upgrade now but there's no Motorola smart phone offered by Verizon Wireless that I want, just newer versions of the original Droids.

Maybe the Google acquisition of Motorola's smart phone division will help.  My initial reaction was to approve but the more I think about it I wonder how Google can leverage this into an advantage.  Tight integration between the Android OS and Motorola would be great but Google must at least pretend that it will keep Motorola at arms length so as not to alienate Google's other business partners such as HTC, LG and Samsung.  This arms length thing does not seem to work.  See Palm, Inc.  Or Microsoft with Office and Windows.

Tight integration between hardware and software is Apple's biggest advantage.  That and customers who are mesmerized into buying outrageously overpriced products that have made Apple more flush with cash than the federal government.  Instead of finally being outraged Apple customers just admire Apple all the more.  What saps.

Google won't take over Motorola smart phones until early 2012 so it's unlikely any big announcements will be made at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.


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