You are right on, Junko. The now ubiquitous smartphone is your pocket portal to communicating with all people and systems in our lives including someday all of those internet-of-things we keep hearing about. It will be THE universal remote. It will be the bring-your-own HMI to everything.
I think the phone will need to have a strong video compression engine,because one use case of glass will be augmenting our vision and that will requiure sending our vision in a compressed form to the cloud(for analysis), and I'm not sure glass has enough power for a strong video compression .
I don't know if Google is a confused teenager not knowing what it wants to be anymore. I think its more of a confident mature adult, with a brimming sense of exactly wha tit wants to be--but that makes it capable of making mistakes as well.
Primarily, this is about Google, not about Smartphones. First, the shedding of Motorola Mobility. Google's stated case is that the Smartphone market is too intense for it to be a hobby: you need to be focused on it. Motorola had some good ideas, even a few hits, prior to the Google acquisition, but they were fading. Google added some ideas, but didn't really change that. That alone may be enough.
But this is also about Android. I believe that Android started, like many Google projects, as kind of a hobby, too. The idea was that if Google could control part of the smartphone client, they could ensure that the Google search and services couldn't be locked out of the mobile market -- something that, prior to Android, could have happened over a weekend, if Apple, Nokia, RIM, and Microsoft go together on it. I think they believed, just as on the internet, that if they had a non-trivial share of the mobile search market, they'd force the rest to support them... Google won, after all, on merit. Not sneaky tricks.
And a funnny thing happened on the way to that job of enabling Google search and services didn't get locked out... Android won the Gen2 smartphone wars. I'm not suggesting that Google didn't deserve it... quite the contrary, their mix of open source and open involvement delivered a superior "industry standard" than Microsoft managed in the PC desktop days. But this did make Android more important to Google, because of its success.
So thinking about that, review the Motorola sale and the Samsung deal. Both work to strengthen Android, and pretty much just that. If taken only on the merits of that divesture, Google's now clearly going to stay "clean" in the Android world... no worries about their playing favorits with Motorola. No idea how much blow-back from the Android OEMs there was, but certainly there was some. And this is also at a particulary critical juncture: Microsoft has now entered both the PC and the mobile market as a hardware vendor, selling directly against their Windows OEMs with no licensing costs, and in a weak PC market. Meanwhile, a bunch of companies showed off desktop Android at CES. The Google deal with Samsung shores up the IP base for Android, getting both companies working in the same direction against legal threats.
In short, all this tells me is that Google recognizes the importance of Android as a long-term strategy and platform... it's very clearly not a hobby anymore.
As for Nest, I think that's pretty much unrelated. Google is still Google, even in the Android era. Nest has lots to imply about Google's view of the "Internet of Things", which, being fundamentally still an internet company, makes all the sense in the world. Having done startups for the 20 years, I can tell you for certain that if I had been at a company like Nest, the thermostat and smoke alarm would just be the tip of the iceberg... and I think that's going to prove a big reason for Google's interest, as well as the price they paid. As well, there are lots of things you'd like to do in their position, maybe the first well-known IoT brand among consumers, that you'd never be able to do right as a small company. Google had the might and cash to do it right, and that probably means giving stuff away.
That's also an important thing to see in Google's business: giving stuff away. As EET readers, we know another company like that: Intel. Intel wants to sell chips. And they do all kinds of things that are very good for the industry as a whole, just to help sell chips. This started back with PCI and USB... make a better PC, and Intel makes money. Better, more standard, and easy-to-use interconnection technologies make a better PC. Google has done a bunch of these kinds of things, building technologies to solve problems, in mobile and on the net, to help advance their mission, sure, but also enabling a bunch of others. Expect to see that kind of thing come out of the whole Nest thing.
Be certain, Google is thinking forward. Keep in mind, they bought Boston Dynamics... a pretty cool robotics company, back in December. What may not be common knowledge is that was the 8th robotics company bought by Google. They also bought Bot & Dolly, Autofuss, Meka Robotics, Redwood Robotics, Holomni, Schaft, and Industrial Perception. And as well, AI startup Deep Mind, and that just a week ago. That's a pretty good indication just how serious Google is about smart machines... if you didn't already get that from the AI lab Google runs with NASA....
Agreed, the smartphone market has matured very fast, compared to say, how long PC market took to get there. Now, here I see a trend. Newer technologies/tools and even companies are going through the birth-growth-saturation-death cycle faster and faster.
First, let me address smartphones. From a product differentiation point of view, the only way humans could consume/interact with computers was using a desktop and then a laptop. That was your Ford Model T. Smartphones were the next "product" in the computer line. Cheaper than PCs, offering different functionality and in some sense, less functionality. As with any other market, product differentiation can expand the market as it brings in new customers. Smartphones brought in a whole slew of customers who would otherwise would not either interact with computers or would not interact as much. But if you look at the PC cycle - it took from 80s to early 2000s for that product to get to saturation/maturation. Smartphones went through the cycle much quickly, although I would argue they are not at saturation yet.
Wearables are the next in line of computers. It has been beaten to death but the car market analogy is very apt one to understand product differentiation. Steve Jobs talked about it in one of the interviews when asked about death of the PC.
Now, to tools/products/technologies/companies. Notice how long phones (POTS) took to mature and become commodity? Then, cellphones? Email? Those cycles were long but were in descending order phones, cellphones, email. Social media by comparison, as a mode of communication, rose much faster than email but people are already talking of death of Facebook.
Companies. Microsoft took almost 30 years to go from birth to saturation. Yahoo, about 15. Google, about 10. Facebook, less than 5? Now, we have companies/products like Snapchat and Instagram that rose much faster and might already be disappearing or saturating.
I don't know how this will progress but it is fun to watch :)
Smartphones are over. Now that we can understand the implications, no one in their right mind would carry one of these invasive tracking devices around in their pocket, knowing that their purpose is to spy on you and to completely invade your privacy.
If you do have one, wrap it in aluminum foil when not in use. This creates a "Faraday cage" and no radio emissions can get in or out.
But the true question is, why have you bought this intrusive device in the first place, selling yourself to advertisers and to others not so wholesome, for NOTHING?
I agree with Yoshida that the luster is gone from the smart phones. Perhaps Google is smart to get out of that business. On the other hand, it was stupid to lose $10 Billion in the transaction. (Some small loss is unavoidable due to changing market conditions. But selling Motorola for 20 cents for each Dollar paid cannot be louded as a good business decision.) Google made a good strategic decision, and a poor financial one in the short term.
The acquisition of Nest is along the same lines. Good move strategically, but very poor financially. They paid 10 to 15 times as much as what Nest is worth for. If Nest was unwilling to be acquired for a realistic price (which I assume was the case) Google could have redeveloped everything on their own for a lot less money. Is going to market six months early worth $3B? I very much doubt it.
But of course I agree, and to add to your story, I still hope theres some evolution left in the smart phone cell form factor (think StarTreck tri-corder... (with a laser blaster :-)
But yes, growth can come else where. This morning for example, I left work and 1/2 way there I forgot if I closed garage door (darn, left in such a hury, did I shut the garage door or not?) Was about to turn back and then remembered I live in a smart house (i.e., last two decades I've been playing with Insteon, X-10, ZigB, etc. - pretty much jetson house by now :-). Duuh, open my website where I have access to my home automation server and press a button to ensure the garge door is closed. Problem solved.
And, if you have teenagers that are supposed to be home by midnight, well, the log files for when doors and lights have been opened or turned on/off might come in handy reminding them they exceeded thier curfu :-) (Big brother is watching, OK, engineering Dad is watching :-)!
Of course, I'm a technical nerd and putting this home automation together was a labor of love. But, for people struggling with the blinking clock on thier VCR (OK, we need a better - more up to date analogy for techno-clutzes these days :-) I think home automation is just a subset of the Internet of things (i.e., made brain dead simple and inexpensive).
Piece by piece Chinese bought many American high tech company. We should not let them by Motorola. American goverment should by this Motorola to keep them fold to chinese hand. Then give it to any one who can present a better plan to resurect the company.
I fully agree with Junko that the smartphone is no longer a prime product, it is becoming a commodity like the laptops became commodity back in 2005.
Google, Apple , Samsung, and the likes, are the companies who would always like to say at the cutting edge of the technology , develop new wave products and sale them at premium pricing , make huge profits and make their brands stronger