SEOUL – Google announced a new lineup of mobile devices, using alliances with South Korean electronics makers Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics to step up a challenge to Apple tablets and smartphones.
The new phone, developed with LG, is called the Nexus 4 and boasts a 4.7-inch display and tools for sharper photo taking, Mountain View, Calif.-based Google said last week in a statement. A new tablet, made by Samsung, is called Nexus 10 and has a higher resolution screen and costs $399 to $499, depending on how much storage it includes. Both are part of the Nexus line of electronics, which showcase the most advanced features of Google’s Android software.
Google has expanded into mobile software and hardware to lessen its dependence on Web search and widen a beachhead in the growing market for advertising on wireless devices. Based on second-quarter results, the company is on pace to generate $8 billion in mobile-ad revenue on an annual basis, Google said Oct. 18. While Android has the biggest share of smartphone software, Google lags behind Apple in tablets.
Google’s big problem at the moment is that Android, unlike in smartphones, is not really going anywhere in tablets, said Carl Howe, an analyst at Yankee Group in Boston. It’s struggling to figure out what it wants to be.
Google made headway in the smartphone market through its acquisition of Motorola Mobility this year and by forging partnerships with a broad range of other manufacturers, including Samsung, the biggest maker of smartphones. Android had 64 percent of the smartphone software market in the second quarter, up from 43 percent a year earlier, according to Gartner Inc. Apple’s share rose to 19 percent from 18 percent.
While Google doesn’t charge for Android software, it makes money from advertising and from fees for its Google Play store. The company’s revenue tied to mobile businesses is on pace to reach $8 billion annually, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette told analysts last month.
Google has fared worse than Apple in tablets in part because Android has fewer downloadable games, productivity tools and other applications tailored specifically for tablets.