Google finally unveiled its cell phone strategy at a press conference earlier today with the announcement of a new open mobile software platform called Android.
A multinational alliance has already said it will join the Open Handset Alliance to work on developing applications on the Android platform. According to CNET News.com, members of the alliance include the likes of mobile handset makers like HTC and Motorola, United States operator T-Mobile and even chipmaker Qualcomm.
Excerpt from the same CNET News.com piece:
The Android platform consists of an operating system, middleware, a user-friendly interface, and applications. Consumers should expect the first phones based on Android to be available in the second half of 2008, Schmidt and others said on the conference call.
Says Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a statement, "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."
However, not everyone thinks the Android will pan out successfully.
Forgive me if I appear a little skeptical here about Google's Open Handset Alliance. By my count, it's the fifth consortium so far to attempt to craft something useful for mobile phones out of Linux and open-source software.
OHA [Open Handset Alliance] has by far the highest profile, it's got the most persuasive list of members, and its timing is the best. What's not yet clear is whether the "Android" work of Google and its allies will unify or further fragment work in the area.
The idea behind Android and OHA is that through the developer's alliance, both handset makers and cell phone operators will be able to develop better services and devices that help usher more of the Internet's functionality onto mobile devices.
- With Android plan, Google bids to shake up the cell phone world (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Google Phone FAQ: Android Platform for Mobile Phones (PC World)
- Google's Android: The Greatest Vaporware Smartphone Ever (Information Week)
- Google enters the wireless world (New York Times)
Like most of Google's ventures, one is left scratching one's head on the crucial part on just how Google intend to recoup the money back on what must be a massive multi-year strategy
Is this a classic YouTube case of "get the people hooked first" and figure out the money-making portion later? What are your thoughts on Android?
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.