Google Play Edition Devices
So in the last couple of months Google have released the Google Play Edition HTC One, the PE Samsung S4, Nexus 7 (2013 edition), ChromeCast, and the MotoX all only in the US, adding to Google Glass’s continued US-only availability. If you go beyond hardware there’s things like Voice, All Access Music, and I’m sure a number of other products which, if you’re not in the US, you’re not likely to be able to use.
With so much US-only activity it makes me wonder if Larry Page and Sergey Brin either have a strategy to focus on the US, or if they don’t have the confidence in their staff to handle a wider roll-out.
I can see the usual “Regulatory…” argument being rolled out, but that’s a thin one. Google has lots of money, Regulatory approval isn’t difficult (and for the One and S4 it’s already been done), all that seems to be missing is a willingness to actually go through the process. #Glass is now over a year old is still restricted to US residents, blaming regulators for that isn’t really going to hold water because if the device can’t be shipped outside the US in it’s current form then it needs a new revision, which would mean more testing, which should be a priority, but there’s been no sign of a Glass v2.
Maybe this is the way it’s going to be from now on. Google have established #Android ’s dominance by making it “cheaper than free” for OEMs (free license, savings from not needing an OS team), and now they feel they can do what they want with the eco-system, and that seems to be giving US developers as much of an advantage as they can. They may also want to give US consumers a similar place at the head of the technology crowd, all at the expense of people in the rest of the world.
Google might see it as patriotic, and aren’t worried about the other 95% of the worlds population see it as a different message.
I guess it’s going to come down to personal choice; Will non-US developers keep supporting Google’s US-focused strategy and take what can, or will they look to support companies who want to actively support their country, even if it means compromising on their ethics around open source software?
I guess only time will tell.