Imagine an ‘Android Pro’ subscription

    Fair warning: What you are about to learn is pure and unadulterated longing — a “wouldn’t it be nice” bout of daydreaming that, so far as I’m conscious, has no foundation in instant actuality and no connection to precise plans recognized to be within the works.But on the floor, a minimum of, it certain does appear to make an terrible lot of sense. And possibly, simply possibly, it is one thing we might see Google attempt to pursue in a roundabout way, sometime.The concept is all about subscriptions — one thing that does not sound super-exciting, I understand, however keep on with me on this, ‘trigger it actually might have some fascinating implications. Tons of tech firms are turning to subscriptions as a method to complement income and hold the money comin’ in, whilst we gadget-carrying mammals are hanging onto gadgets for more and more lengthy spells. And Google getting in on that very same type of motion might be fairly consequential.For context, final week, Samsung launched its personal subscription program — an appropriately convoluted idea known as Samsung Access that allows you to pay a month-to-month payment of $37 to $48 in trade for a present Galaxy S cellphone, entry to Samsung’s Premium Care program, and a Microsoft 365 subscription together with a terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage.Within days of that announcement, information “leaked” that Apple might be readying a bundled plan of its personal for the iOS trustworthy — one thing that’d doubtlessly carry Apple TV, Apple Music, and different such choices collectively right into a single streamlined setup with a single invoice hooked up. And Apple’s been hinting for some time now {that a} broader plan to supply common iPhone {hardware} upgrades together with entry to pay-to-play Apple companies is also within the works.The extra I take into consideration all of those growing packages, the extra I feel to myself: How does Google not have one thing comparable? More than every other firm on the market, Google’s able to supply one thing uniquely worthwhile — and one thing that’d have the potential to carry a significant enhance to its personal enterprise, not solely by way of creating a brand new supply of ongoing income but additionally by way of giving its Pixel cellphone program the exact type of kick within the pants it wants.Why? How? And what would any of this even imply for us Android-using land donkeys? Let’s get into it.The ‘Android Pro’ propositionFirst, we have to set the stage for why this complete idea might be logical: As we have talked about advert nauseam through the years, Google’s Pixel gadgets are the one Android telephones which can be totally advisable for severe enterprise homeowners (or anybody who cares about optimum efficiency, privateness, and safety) to make use of. The purpose is straightforward: All person expertise concerns apart, they’re the one Android gadgets that get well timed and constantly dependable deliveries of each main working system updates and the month-to-month safety patches that complement these. No different phone-maker even comes shut, and no different firm inside Android makes post-sales software program assist a precedence — and even part of its promised bundle.Pixel telephones additionally obtain OS updates for a full three years from their launch date, which is a 12 months greater than every other Android gadget (allegedly) will get. But Google does a horrible job at advertising that truth and making common phone-buyers respect why it issues. And the subscription idea might be the proper approach each to raise the Pixel telephones’ benefits even additional and to make these benefits obvious to a wider viewers.I imply, give it some thought: Google controls not solely Android but additionally a vastly common suite of cross-platform productiveness companies — the Docs, Sheets, and Slides collection of apps together with Gmail, Google Drive, and all these different related entities. Enterprises and different organizations already pay for premium, managed variations of these companies through Google’s G Suite program, and people already pay for additional storage and different associated advantages through the corporate’s Google One association.At the identical time, Google maintains an inventory of “Android Enterprise Recommended” gadgets — telephones that supposedly meet the corporate’s “strict enterprise requirements” and thus are supposed to be optimum for skilled use. But, nicely, have a look at a few of the gadgets within the assortment. There are telephones like Motorola’s Moto Z4, which obtained the present Android 10 launch 189 days late — this previous March, greater than six months after the software program really got here out. That unacceptably poor efficiency earned the corporate an enormous fats 0% “F” on my newest Android Upgrade Report Card.The Moto Z4’s safety patch historical past is not a lot better: According to a database maintained by the web site Android Police, the Z4 went with none safety updates from July to November of final 12 months — after which bought a November replace that was two months behind in patches.And that is the “Enterprise Recommended” product?! We can do higher. Google can do higher.The enterprise connectionNow, Google’s clearly bought some difficult political waters to wade by means of on this area. The firm usually appears to wrestle with figuring promote its personal merchandise with out overting knocking these created by its ecosystem companions — the businesses that promote the majority of Android telephones and permit the platform to thrive. It’s an ungainly state of affairs with inherently conflicting targets: making Google’s personal wares appear worthwhile over the competitors whereas in some way persevering with to nurture and assist these competing merchandise on the similar time.But you understand what? At a sure level, Google’s gonna must recover from that — a minimum of, if it needs its Pixels to maneuver previous their present small-scale standing and into the mainstream conscience. And now greater than ever, the stage is about for the corporate to begin making that occur.Building off of what Samsung is doing (and what Apple is outwardly additionally engaged on doing), think about a situation wherein Google positioned its Pixel telephones as essentially the most optimum gadgets for skilled use and emphasised the significance of its unmatched software program assist — after which provided a method to improve a corporation’s G Suite subscription with an “Android Pro” add-on that’d increase the present advantages with built-in entry to new Pixel telephones each two or three years in addition to enhanced assist for these merchandise.On the person or small enterprise entrance, “Android Pro” might be a complement to the present Google One program — which provides additional Google storage, Android backup capabilities, private assist, and a handful of different scattered advantages. What for those who might improve that to a Google One “Android Pro” subscription and get a brand new Pixel cellphone each two or three years at a worth that’d be roughly similar to what you’d pay for the gadgets outright over that very same span of time?Given the Pixel telephones’ lower-than-average costs and higher-than-average worth, the month-to-month value for such a service might conceivably be fairly inexpensive. If, as an example, the Pixel 5 had been to finish up being someplace across the $700 mark, as people predict, that’d come out to roughly $19.50 a month for the cellphone itself unfold out over three years. And if Google allowed you to pay a contact greater than that to additionally get the entire Google One advantages, that’d be an extremely compelling proposition.Heck, the corporate might even bundle in its Preferred Care restore program as a part of the bundle. And it might embrace discounted entry to companies like YouTube Music or the standalone YouTube Premium ad-free video-watching subscription at a reduction for subscribers as nicely. Everyone loves a bundle, and as an alternative of getting a zillion confusingly named companies somewhere else, Google might streamline and encourage its most engaged customers to get all the things in a single spot — and to maintain getting new variations of its telephones over time as a part of that. If Apple or Samsung can pull it off — two firms which have historically struggled with companies and do not have anyplace close to the wide-reaching worth Google can provide — Google certain as hell oughta be capable of do it, too.And the enterprise might be the important thing to getting such a program off the bottom: If Google can handle to courtroom massive firms and persuade them that the Pixel line’s replace benefit makes it the one advisable possibility for severe enterprise use — an argument that is fairly darn straightforward to make — it might place the Pixel as the brand new “BlackBerry of Android” (ahem). It might, in different phrases, set up the Pixel because the de facto alternative for enterprise customers who require the absolute best expertise, essentially the most optimum privateness and safety, and an absence of the type of data-leaking silliness different device-makers sneak into their software program.With that basis, Google might then begin promoting the identical setup to the smaller companies and particular person customers who would respect those self same qualities — together with the all-in Google customers who’re already subscribing to companies like Google One, YouTube Premium, and Preferred Care and would see this type of providing as a wise and minimal-cost-incurring step up from their present situation. It’s all about establishing and optimizing a base after which constructing outward from there, simply as Chrome OS has accomplished with the training market as its basis.Now’s the time to remodel the Pixel right into a clearly outlined a part of the broader Google ecosystemGoogle’s labored laborious to search out Android’s place within the enterprise, however Android is a vastly diversified ecosystem, and experiences from one gadget to the subsequent are completely not equal. The Pixel line’s most vital benefits lie in some much less tangible however supremely vital areas, and if Google needs the telephones to take off in any significant approach, it is gonna must cease tie-toeing round what actually makes the gadgets particular and begin actively selling it. And an “Android Pro”-style subscription might be the important thing to conducting that.If you assume it sounds far-fetched, take into account this: Six years in the past, Google reportedly thought-about one thing vaguely comparable with a reportedly-developed-but-never-launched program generally known as “Android Silver.” The concept behind Silver was supposedly to supply premium Android telephones that “closely adhere[d] to Google specifications and provided a “extra constant ‘Google’ expertise for high-end Android prospects,” with immediate software program updates being a core a part of the image.At the time, Google did not have its personal self-made gadgets and consequently did not have a good way to tug that off. Now it does — and because the complexity of Google’s pay-to-play subscription companies continues to develop, that is the prime time to revive that imaginative and prescient and rework the Pixel right into a clearly outlined a part of the broader Google ecosystem.It certain looks as if it’d have the potential to be an enormous win for Google — and likewise an enormous win for us.Sign up for my weekly publication to get extra sensible ideas, private suggestions, and plain-English perspective on the information that issues.[Android Intelligence videos at Computerworld]

    Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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