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Google To Expand Android Into Emerging Markets

The proliferation of mobile devices within the last decade has transformed the modes of communication, strengthening the connectivity of decentralized social networks and forming new avenues of demand. Despite the approximate 2 billion active mobile devices in use, Google has been setting its sight on further expansion into emerging markets to expose mobile devices to new users. By doing so, Google aims to establish a benchmark for the global technological standard with the Android-supported devices.

The previous overseer to emerging markets was Nokia but with recent news of Microsoft’s dissolution of the Nokia brand coupled with the rise of Android devices, Google’s has found the opportunity to reap first-time users as well the associated user-data. However, Nokia’s approach to mobile development differed significantly from Google’s plan; more specifically, the operating system on a Nokia phone is closed and proprietary while the Android operating system is open source and free to change. Although emerging mobile market is less lucrative in terms of the profit margins per device, the American company plans to work with local manufacturers to reduce cost while creating phones that are specifically tailored to the hardware. Since the Android open source, manufacturers can modify the operating system to support the device.

The first target of this initiative is most likely India with the Android One as the primary device. Moreover, the cost is expected to be sub-$100, making it a competitive option for phones that would otherwise be unavailable to users in emerging markets. The expansion of mobile devices to new users has a huge impact both for global connectivity that relates heavily to global networks. Firstly, the introduction of mobile devices highly corroborates with the idea of triadic closure, which allows people to form stronger ties as more connections are being made. If we were to quantify the number of new connections between users based off the capabilities of a mobile phone, we could roughly deduce or hypothesize with good reasoning that more mobile devices means more connections in a global network. Moreover, the strategy of Google is the key to first-movers advantage, which could be viewed as a dominant strategy if mobile users are less likely to switch phones (operating systems) from their first device. Since many users in emerging markets are first-time users, this could potentially be a dominant strategy. Moreover, this game would clearly favor Google as they are entering into markets that are simply in demand for mobile devices. The concept of a dominant strategy as well as global interconnectivity through triadic closure relates heavily to the fact that Android currently runs on more than 70 percent of all smartphones. This move to expand into emerging markets sets a tone for the global technological standard that could change the pace of mobile use and development.




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September 2014