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Declining Google Home sales prove the time is right for a lineup refresh

The smart speaker market is still exploding in size, but the roles seemed to be clearly defined. With Google's stellar results last year, we could be lead to believe that the company was on track to become number one, even overtaking Amazon for all of 2019. Instead, lacking new devices, Google's shipments declined by 19.8% year-over-year. It has been fallen to the third place after surprise competitor Baidu grew by a whopping 3700% YoY – yes, the decimals are set correctly here.

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Sony Tells Users To Chill Out: Xperia Phones Don't Contain Spyware From Baidu

Over the last week there have been a rash of reports that folder with labels mentioning the Chinese search engine Baidu have been appearing on phones. The most obvious and prominent examples have been Sony's new Xperia Z3 series of phones and others running KitKat. Many users (and media outlets) jumped to the conclusion that these files were evidence of spyware, perhaps bolstered by recent and more credible reports of digital spying and hacking linked to the Chinese government.


Screenshot credit: Sony Mobile forum poster "Iggyjp"

There were some rather disturbing properties of these files; the "Baidu" folder couldn't be deleted by non-root users (or it simply kept reappearing) and sniffing network activity showed that these phones were pinging servers in China.

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[Editorial] Is Google Really Shooting Itself In The Foot With Android?

A few days ago, Harvard Business Review writer James Allworth posted on the HBR blog and argued that Google has effectively shot itself in the foot by making Android such an open system. To boil the 800 word post down, Mr. Allworth's argument is that the openness of the system has led to competitors taking the Google out of Android - namely, Baidu in China and Bing on Verizon. The issue is that Google's revenue comes from the ads on their services; consequently, a de-Googled Android would result in no income for Google. Further, there's another problem that he doesn't mention at all: Chinese carriers have replaced the Android Market with their own proprietary market.

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