There are days where a trend you noticed becomes absolutely visible. Today is one of those days. I have seen the Android brand disappear over time. First, it was the Nexus, then Samsung came with the Galaxy brand, who made Android less relevant. Now, Android is just invisible.
I thought Google was losing a war against its partners, but I finally concluded that it cannot be just a coincidence. It is not just a trend. It is a deliberate effort. By Google.
At Mobile World Congress last year, Android was everywhere. The Android space was the biggest of all. It was all about Android and a bit about the hardware manufacturers.
This year (BTW, if you are going to Barcelona and you want to meet, just let me know), Android will be absent at MWC 2013. No space, no booth. Gone.
If you read about the new HTC One, you’ll have a hard time finding Android anywhere. HTC is trying to promote its brand, Android is way in the background. Gone.
Of course, Android is dominant. So much that saying you sell an “Android phone” makes you a cheap commodity play. Nobody wants that, they all want to be cool and different. Leave Android to the Chinese knock-offs.
However, it is not just the device manufacturers. It is Google killing the brand. They moved away from it when Android Market became Google Play, and they are distancing themselves even more now. They want Google to be the brand, not Android.
Risky business? I am not sure. Who cares about Android? Developers. Only developers. Even if you water down the brand, developers will know it. It does not make a difference. You are not going to lose developers because you are de-emphasizing the brand.
However, having two brands confuses consumers. Google is planning to open flagship stores. They have bought an hardware manufacturer. They are changing, and they want Google front and central.