Google and 34 Phone Industry Giants Launch Android OS
November 5, 2007 11:30 AM
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Google has just announced its much anticipated mobile phone OS named Android and its Open Handset Alliance. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.
Google rocked the mobile phone industry just hours ago when
the true face of its
mobile phone efforts
. The operating system, named Android has been kept under tight wraps by Google, but
caught wind of it
Android OS, available in the second half of 2008, aims to provide a operating system, user interface and a broad array of mobile applications. The OS is expected to directly compete with the market leading
and Microsoft Corp.'s
Windows Mobile "Photon"
, scheduled for release in 2008.
Software Development Kits for Android
will be available in within days
-- on November 12. Early support for third parties is very refreshing, in contrast to smartphone rival Apple Inc.
whose mobile version of OS X denies third parties support until February 2008
, due to "security reasons."
The Google Software Development Kit (SDK) promises to provide third party applications with robust tools and equal access to all the same capabilities that Google's first party applications enjoy. Programmers can add capabilities based on the users contacts, calendar, or geographic location.
Mashups, according to Google, are a must.
The OS also
has some powerful industry support
. Thirty-four companies have formed the "Open Handset Alliance," which worked with Google to develop the OS and will continue to aid it is growth and release. The alliance, of which Google is the founding member, features such communication giants as T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm and Motorola.
American carriers can look forward to Android accelerating development of new mobile services and also aiding hardware development by adding a foundation for wireless communication.
"Google has been an established partner for T-Mobile’s groundbreaking approach to bring the mobile open Internet to the mass market. We see the Android platform as an exciting opportunity to launch robust wireless Internet and Web 2.0 services for T-Mobile customers in the US and Europe in 2008," said René Obermann, Chief Executive Officer, Deutsche Telekom, parent company of T-Mobile.
Google's CEO Eric Schmidt also raved about the move, saying, "Today's announcement is more ambitious than any single 'Google Phone' that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we're unveiling will power thousands of different phone models."
While Schmidt attempts to downplay the significance of a Google Phone, the fact that the company
anticipated forking over $4.6 billion for the 700 MHz wireless spectrum
already confirms some kind of device is in the works.
Google Maps and GMail are currently available on many phones, and will be among the Google first party applications provided by Google.
The news follows a flurry of recent activity from Google. Recently Google's wildly popular free email service, achieved premier status by
implementing IMAP support
, and Google also recently announced that it will soon be rolling out
second iteration of GMail
, dubbed "GMail 2.0".
As Google launches its OS into the mobile phone market, many may speculate how long it will be before the media giant decides to go for the jugular and take on Microsoft's Windows OS in the personal computer OS market. After all Google has everything else --
a trans-Pacific digital lines project
$30 million dollar moon project
, and a
partnership with Myspace.com
-- so why not a desktop OS?
A mobile phone OS seems to indicate Google phones are all but confirmed at this point. However instead of a monolithic approach as with the Apple iPhone, impending Google ubiquity will likely come, at least at first, via third-party support.
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RE: Details Details...
11/5/2007 3:00:26 PM
Real big? This has the potential to be HUGE. I'm very excited about this development. I think at the very least this platform and the iPhone will spur development of Advanced Device platforms. Apple, Microsoft, RIM and Palm should watch this VERY carefully.
Let's face it--in the past few years we haven't seen a lot of innovation in the mobile OS space. Windows Mobile, RIM OS and Palm have focused on push email/messaging integration and media player functionality--the core OS and UI hasn't really changed and the focus has always been enterprise users.
iPhone has helped blur the lines between advanced devices and standard feature phones, and brought a lot of innovation geared to making the device consumer-friendly. But we still haven't seen official 3rd-party app development beyond a few web apps, so beyond a few touchscreen UI tweaks it hasn't been enough to really stir up Microsoft or RIM. Android is different--it has the potential to be more of a direct threat to RIM and Microsoft's business models.
eBay's membership in the Alliance also has groundbreaking implications--if Android itself can support a unified mPayments platform--well that will be a first.
I still think there are a lot of questions to be answered on the mobile operator side. Looking at the Q&A from the conference call, it seems that mobile operators still have the power to control aspects of the platform. This is important to getting their support, though. No operator wants to be reduced to the role of IP backbone while application developers get all the revenue. They need to have a role in deploying premium services and content. I'm not sure how that will all pan out under Android.
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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