Android, 64-bit chips and low-cost handsets were big at MWC, but Nokia's Android hybrid, Samsung's Tizen, and Google's absence raised questions.
While Nokia’s first Android phone ranked at the top of our good news, it also ranks at the top of our bad news. The new platform, dubbed “Windroid,” will replace Google services with Microsoft services and offer Nokia-specific Android applications, since it lacks the Google Play store.
Consumers may question why they should buy into another platform with limited and non-standard applications. It's not clear if Microsoft will continue to invest in this platform once Nokia becomes part of Microsoft. A lot rests on Nokia’s ability to sell this unique platform in the developing world against more standard Android phones.
Another bad idea is an OEM controlled OS, like Samsung’s Tizen. No other OEM is going to use a hardware or software platform controlled by a competitor. Motorola and Nokia have been two prime examples of such futile efforts.
Still out for discussion is the use of mobile devices for streaming content in the living room. There are many solutions available, but most still rely on a home broadband connection to be cost effective and to ensure quality of service. Is this just an unnecessary link in the communications chain if we want this to be a ubiquitous, consumer-friendly solution?
We reserved the missing-in-action news for Google. Despite the huge efforts to push Android at MWC in the past, Google has remained silent about a 64-bit version of Android needed to support the growing number of 64-bit silicon solutions from both ARM vendors and Intel mobile products.
There’s the possibility of having different versions of Android to support other segments, such as an embedded version for wearables like Google Glass and other IoT and embedded applications. The ever increasing hardware demands of Android are opening an opportunity for Firefox OS in entry-level smartphones and Tizen in wearables.
MWC has traditionally supported Google in its battle with Apple. Whatever the reason, the lack of any major Google announcement is a huge disappointment.