Hoping to reshape mobile business from a traditional voice-subscription model to one supported by broadband-based mobile advertising revenue, Google has been working with the mobile chain via a series of initiatives, according to iSuppli. These range from developing a free and open operating system for smart phones, i.e., Android, to offering free maps and turn-by-turn navigation services plus a Google-branded phone, the Nexus One (see the figure).
As part of its wireless strategy, Google has promoted and shaped the development of the Android open-source operating system. The search-engine company claims there are now about 20 smart-phone models that support Android. A unique characteristic of the Android OS is the integration of many of Google’s popular Web-based services and cloud computing/storage applications, as well as the synchronization of e-mails, contacts, calendar, and other information with smart-phone devices.
Among OEMs, mobile operators, and application developers, Google encourages the adoption of the Android operating system. OEMs pay no licensing fee for incorporating the operating system, and they can customize the interface to their specific requirements. The application developers and mobile operators, however, split the revenue from the sale of downloaded applications at a ratio of 70:30. As another strategy, Google announced in November 2009 that it will include Google maps and turn-by-turn navigation applications for free in all phones with the Android operating system.