By Aldo Panessidi
Is Samsung to have its tiara and sash taken away? Will Google choose another manufacturer to make the next Nexus handset and dethrone the reigning queen? And, *gasp* could it be an underdog victory for LG, the manufacturer that has had its fits and starts with Android smartphones?
If chosen, the lagging manufacturer would get early access to the next gen version of Android which means great buzz, great press and great sales. Samsung has been a perfect example of this success model by being the vendor bringing us the two latest Nexus devices: the Nexus S and the Galaxy Nexus. With experience working with Google and new, major Android OS version upgrades, there are a fair number positives in the incumbent’s favor. So if they have ushered in a Nexus for Gingerbread and now Ice Cream Sandwich, will they also be cobranded with Jellybean?
And how will LG Mobile win the bid when Samsung sold an impressive 300 million cell phones last year and is continually vying for top-smartphone brand ranking in the US? Honestly, the more likely competition will come from Google internally and its latest acquisition-in-the-works: Motorola Mobility. The tech conglomerate has made reassurances that it would not play favorites with Motorola, but… really? How would that make business sense?
If Google does opt to dole out Nexus rights to an external manufacturer, the status will not be quite so dramatic as Motorola would still get the perk of early iteration to next gen Android OS. And, by all accounts the company’s engineering and software teams will likely work closely post-acquisition which put Motorola in a position to help shape the Android platform. There is the question of how will peripheral devices, accessory appeal and that brand association affect these contenders and what will they bring to the table in terms of docking stations and power options to garner more attention and press?
What LG does have in its favor (despite notorious custom Android skins that have not won over customers) is their marked improvements from past years to this year’s MWC showing which introduced the optimistically improved LG Optimus 4X. This shows ambition and a willingness to put in the work. A little bit of gumption, elbow grease, and a good ole fashioned Hail Mary Pass maybe do the trick for LG.