Google is finally about to do what I thought they should be doing a couple of years ago – open their own stores. In 2010 Google tried to open a “web store” for phones, but that never really worked very well, in part because the carriers in US were unwilling to take their Nexus One device (which was the star of the show then), and in part because people don’t really buy phones online, unless they know everything about them, but that’s just a minor part of the population. Most people want to try the devices in a store.
Now that Google has bought Motorola, which makes Android phones and tablets, they are making their own Chromebooks, and are soon about to start selling Google Glasses, too, they are going to need to have their own store more and more, if they actually want to sell many millions of these devices.
Make no mistake – Google is about to become one of the most powerful hardware companies in tech. No matter what the skepticism about them being a hardware company is, they are very serious about this, and they are going to try their best to succeed with it. Google needs more revenue streams than just from ads. Selling its own hardware would ensure a bit of independency from ad revenue, and from other companies.
But now that we know that Google really wants this, and why it wants it, why would they be successful in it? I think Google will be a successful hardware company not only because it has started making some greatly designed and built products (which is really a prerequisite for being a good hardware company, especially when you’re new at it), but also because it has a lot of people who love the company and want to use their products.
Google has the kind of loyalty to their products and to the company itself that only Apple has. Google is the leader of one of the 2 biggest mobile ecosystems, Android, and even though they are not the ones making the devices themselves right now, they are making Android that goes into all those devices, and a lot of people love them for it, and are going to want quality products that come directly from Google.
So what should Google sell in these stores of theirs? I believe they should sell only their own hardware, perhaps with the exception of Nexus devices. But other than that they should sell only Motorola phones and tablets, Google Glasses, their own Chromebooks, Google TV’s, their own smart watches, and whatever else they come up with next. I think this would be a much better decision in the long term, than showing a Galaxy S4 in there, which would just cause them problems with other manufacturers. Plus they can only be responsible for their own products, in case customers call for support and so on.
The stores are supposed to open at the end of the year, and even though they might not have more than a handful of devices at first, I think they will need to expand quickly, and not just build like 5 of them within a year. They need to build at least 100 of them within 2 years in US, and at least 100 more within another year or two globally. They can’t waste a decade on this if they want to take full advantage of them. Plus, I think they will be taking off quickly, and they need to keep up with that demand.