Channel Conflicts — Android Style: Why is the Moto G Hitting the Market, but not the Chinese Market?

On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, Google’s Motorola Mobility unit announced the “Moto G”, an ultra low cost smart phone. This device, which sports a high resolution screen and “the latest Android” O/S, is available at a very low retail price of $179.00. But there’s a couple of catches to this deal – you can’t buy the Moto G in China, and the Android O/S is NOT 4.4 KitKat, at least for now. Might there be a channel conflict bubbling below the surface (no pun intended) here?

The channel conflict, if there is one, likely originates with two other Android partners — LG and Samsung. The “Google Nexus 5” is manufactured by LG, and includes the Android 4.4 KitKat O/S. This smart phone also sports a very competitive retail price, below $400.00 USDs. Google sells this smart phone through the Play Store. My latest check on availability shows ship dates commencing on November 26, 2013.

Then there’s the Samsung side to this story. Samsung Makes Quiet Push for New Mobile OS. Of course, if TiZen takes off, then Samsung will have little need, going forward, for any Android O/S, including 4.4 KitKat and its descendants.

All of this complexity can lead to a headache. If Chinese consumers will not be able to acquire Moto G, and Indian consumers are unable to specify an availability date for the Google Nexus 5 smart phone, then who is managing all of this, and does this group or person have a plan in mind?

It looks to me like the folks at Microsoft/Nokia have a real incentive to release their own ultra low cost smart phone to EVERYBODY, RIGHT AWAY. Let’s cut through the complexity and get down to provisioning internet-ready mobile devices to emerging markets NOW.

But is Microsoft/Nokia interested in these markets? Do they have a low cost offer for these consumers? To date there’s been no word on the low cost accessibility topic from the folks in Redmond/Helsinki. I, for one, would be real keen to see them step forward with one.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved

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