November 5, 2007 4:50 PM PST

Google's Android has long road ahead

Google's Android has long road ahead
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Consumers shouldn't expect Google's new mobile phone software to revolutionize their cell phone experience overnight--or anytime soon.

On Monday, Google announced Android, a new software platform designed to provide open access to mobile phones for application developers. The company also announced the Open Handset Alliance, a multinational alliance of 34 companies, including several chipmakers, handset manufacturers, and mobile operators that will be working together to develop handsets and services that leverage the new software.

A software development kit will be introduced next week, and consumers can expect to see the first Android handsets out on the market in the second half of 2008, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said during a press conference Monday.

Rumors had been flying for months about Google's plans for the mobile market. And now that it's here, it's clear that Google has greater ambitions than simply building a new phone. Instead, the company is looking to transform the mobile industry by making it easy to develop new applications that can be pushed out to hundreds of handset models on dozens of carrier networks using free, open-source technology.

In essence, Google hopes to do to the mobile market what it has helped do for the traditional Internet, which is bring people closer to content on the Web in a easy and organized way. At the most basic level this means making Web surfing on a cell phone look and feel a lot like it does on a PC at home.

But despite its lofty ambitions, Android faces many obstacles. For one, mobile operators must be willing to allow the new, open devices on their networks. Android also must compete with a long list of mobile operating systems already entrenched in the market.

"Even if there is a tidal wave of new devices using the Android platform, they will still represent a relatively small portion of the overall market."

--Charles Golvin,
analyst with Forrester Research

"While I believe the effort by the Open Handset Alliance will have a significant impact on the market, I think it will build slowly over time," said Charles Golvin, an analyst with Forrester Research. "Even if there is a tidal wave of new devices using the Android platform, they will still represent a relatively small portion of the overall market."

Unlike the PC market of the late 1990s, the mobile market is fragmented and closed off. For the most part, mobile operators control what applications and features operate on the handsets that use their networks. This is completely different from the traditional Internet, where it doesn't matter if you access the Net from a Dell or Hewlett-Packard PC, you'll have a similar surfing experience.

Google is trying to overcome this hurdle by getting carriers around the globe involved in the Open Handset Alliance. So far, KDDI and NTT Docomo, two of the largest carriers in Japan, are on board.

European carriers Telecom Italia, Telefonica, and T-Mobile are also signed up to be among the first carriers to offer Android phones. In the U.S., which is probably one of the most restrictive of all mobile markets, Google has managed to sign up two of the top four wireless operators, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA.

Notably missing from the alliance are AT&T and Verizon Wireless--the largest operators in the U.S.--which together account for about 52 percent of all cell phone subscribers in the country.

Surprisingly, Verizon Wireless, known for being the most guarded of the major U.S. operators, has reportedly been in talks with Google regarding the new open software platform.

"We haven't ruled out joining this group," said Jeffrey Nelson, a spokesman for the company. "We support innovation that is consistent with the values of integrity of service, privacy, security and reliability. And we welcome the support of Google, handset makers and others for our goal of providing more open development of applications on mobile handsets."

By contrast, AT&T, which is often viewed as having a much more open strategy when it comes to what it allows on its network, kept the announcement at arm's length.

"Our focus is on delivering goods today," said Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T, the largest mobile operator in the country. "I can't comment on what we might or might not do in the future. We offer people an incredible array of choices right now, and that's what our focus is at the moment."

See more CNET content tagged:
Open Handset Alliance, mobile operator, handset, Google Android, Forrester Research Inc.

24 comments

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Shake up the market
This could be a good thing.
The iPhone in some ways has shown that the mobile experience can be better, but being one phone from one carrier I expect the big boys aren't that worried.
While, an open platform has the potential to provide more rapid innovation which should encourage Symbian and Microsoft to move more quickly in updating their platforms.
Can only be a good thing for the consumer.
Posted by ahickey (177 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google Maps on my cell phone ?
... ok but my screen is so small !

Here is an idea to display large pages on such device : <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://venividiwiki.blogspot.com/2007/11/how-to-display-large-pages-on-small.html" target="_newWindow">http://venividiwiki.blogspot.com/2007/11/how-to-display-large-pages-on-small.html</a>

What do you think of it ?
Posted by Sylvie74 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
no thanks
i don't feel like having to move my smartphone left-right-up-down just to view a web page.
Posted by TBolt (70 comments )
Link Flag
FOUR mobile platforms will survive!
RE: " said Forrester's Golvin. "But it's a convoluted environment and
it will take a long time. In the end, there will likely be three mobile
platforms that survive: Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Android.""

Apple's OS X will be one of the predominant mobile operating
systems in use.
Posted by Oh Blah Dee Blah Dah (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Palm
Palm is also a player and will remain one. Apple needs to open up OS X for 3rd party development and applications or they won't be a player. The news is they will do that, but until they do they are not going to have a shot at dominant. Then again the iPod is about the least capable MP3 player and that dominates so you never know.
Posted by Renegade Knight (13748 comments )
Link Flag
It will take off bc its what the consumer want it
Most of the apps provided by the telco's aren't great. They lack intuition and the usablity is horrible. Android will succeed bc consumers WANT it to. They will buy the handsets that run it bc ATT, RIMM, Verizon, Sprint all have lousy software. Android will open up this market and make it a lot more competitive to 3rd party developers. I think Forrester is vastly mistaken. This is going to blow up quickly.
Posted by 00rb (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Consumers are idiots
Maybe one of the reasons those companies have lousy software is because they have a lousy platform upon which to run it. If I am going to use my cell phone for text messages, I want a full size keyboard. If I'm going to view pictures, a 22" wide screen monitor would be good. If I'm going to listen to music, I really like my 500W amp and tower speakers. If I'm going to surf the net, I still need a full size keyboard and a decent monitor. If I'm going to play video games, I also need a mouse, a quad core CPU, dual video cards, gigabytes of storage and memory. If I'm going to talk on the phone, I want one I cradle on my shoulder and which stays connected throughout the call. Oh wait -- I don't have or need a cell phone because I do all of those things with the proper equipment, in the proper environment, at proper times.
Posted by {DvT}Hex (7 comments )
Link Flag
grating name
Is it just me, but isn't "Android" an absolutely atrocious and grating name for a technology targeted to consumers? It was made of, by, and for geeks.

How unslick can you get? Who could be surprised that Google, one trick pony that it is, couldn't get something like this right?
Posted by frankly0 (28 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google phone
So after all this waiting, google wants to create a phone os that's open, so anyone can write apps for it and use them on any phone using their os. In theory, sounds like a great idea but phones aren't like computers and companies like at&#38;t and verizon, which lock their users to their phones and their services, aren't in any hurry to join in on the open software.
Posted by thedreaming (573 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Much hype about nothing?
or is it just me? I have been trying to find how Android works and why it is different from the other offerings, or why other OS couldn't offer the same features, but I couldn't find anything.

A lot of big words and no content.

Anyone want to give some hints?
Posted by johnqh (236 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yup, hype and vapor
Right now, Android is just hype and vapor - vaporhypeware.
Posted by john55440 (1020 comments )
Link Flag
global internet government
.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://gigusa.blog.com" target="_newWindow">http://gigusa.blog.com</a>

.
Posted by charles webster baer (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
See the gPhone Bandwagon
This should ultimately be a good thing for phone consumers, especially if it will lower the price of phones and phone bills and move to a more advertising based revenue stream. I think if Verizon or AT&#38;T come on board, the other will follow for fear of being left behind.
See a rare picture of the gPhone in action here
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://joechiappetta.blogspot.com/2007/11/gphone-first-look.html" target="_newWindow">http://joechiappetta.blogspot.com/2007/11/gphone-first-look.html</a>
Posted by joeychips (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How many mobile platforms will survive
WE still don't know
Posted by Quemannn (76 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Parallel Universe Business Model Concept
This comment consists of excerpts from the N.Y. Times' articles pertaining to Google's Android software and my prediction that Google has a long term business plan of implementing a virtual parallel universe via Android.

Please be informed that after most of the NY Times excerpts, I enclose in ( ) my comments relevant to Google's parallel universe business concept. I also inserted content from a Google patent that supports my prediction.

In my opinion Google?s open source Android software and the mobile phone is the foundation for the evolution of all facets of future lifestyles.

NY Times excerpts &#38; comments:

Google.. announced on Monday that it was leading a broad industry effort to develop new software technologies aimed at turning cellphones into powerful mobile computers.

(going with the trend... mobile phone &#38; Internet access is a must. In addition, The World Information Society Report of May 16, 2007, exclaimed that mobile telephony holds the greatest potential to bridge the digital divide.)

And by giving outside software developers full access to a Google-powered phone?s functions, the alliance members hope for a proliferation of new PC-style programs and services, like social networking and video sharing.

(the development of the facets that makes up the parallel universe dimension.)

"We?re human beings and we communicate, and that?s what the Internet social network phenomenon is all about," said Robert Pepper, a former policy chief at the Federal Communications Commission.

(the Internet social network phenomenon shall develop into the virtual parallel universe dimension.)

The idea is that just as spreadsheets, word processors, video games and other software tools turned the personal computer into an everyday appliance, the emergence of new mobile applications can spur wider adoption of so-called smartphones. More use of the Web, whether on PCs or on phones, benefits Google because its advertising systems have such broad reach.

(motive for Google to create a virtual parallel universe.)

Software developers "will build applications that do amazing things on the Internet and on mobile phones as well," Eric E. Schmidt, Google?s chief executive, said at a news conference.

(reading in between the lines, Schmidt was telling us of the open source development of the virtual parallel universe)

The phone plan mirrors Google?s efforts to give away software and services for PCs and profit through customized advertising.

(Google's revenue stream.)

Mr. Schmidt of Google has said in the past that advertising on mobile phones is likely to eventually bring the cost of making calls to zero.

(which creates an unlimited market to advertise to.)

Google software suggests that phones made using the technology will have features and design similar to the iPhone. Andy Rubin, Google?s director of mobile platforms who led the effort to develop the software, recently demonstrated a hand-held touch-screen device that gave an immersed view of Google Earth, the company?s three-dimensional mapping program.

(expect to see the three-dimensional mapping program develop into the virtual parallel universe scenarios/stage that the parallel universe citizen shall view and live in.)

As an example, Mr. Rubin said the Street View feature of Google Maps could easily be coupled with another service showing the current location of friends.

(the operative word is location or a scenario/stage in the parallel universe.)

Part of Google?s strategy appears to be that the Android software will lead to new kinds of devices that have cellphone and wireless Internet functions, but have shapes and sizes different from today?s cellphones and PCs.

(real life experiences occurring in the virtual parallel universe.)

Intel, an alliance member,... Mr. Schmidt hinted broadly at this when he answered a question on Monday... "It?s important to realize there will be many mobile experiences," he said.

(you can't put a number on life living experiences.)

an alliance of companies led by Google plans to begin introducing a common set of standards to allow software developers to write programs for Google?s social network, Orkut, as well as others, including LinkedIn, hi5, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning.

(dimensions and scenarios we commonly refer to as cities or geographic locales.)

The effort faces several hurdles. Developers may not see the advantage to writing programs that run across such remarkably different networks (diminsions) as, for example, LinkedIn, which caters to business professionals, and hi5, which is popular in Central America.

(to the contrary, developers shall jump at the opportunity to write programs in exchange for revenue-sharing.)

Google's "open source" Android software shall provide users more opportunities to live vicariously through their mobile phones. In tracking the user's online actions, Google provides the 3D persona (avatar) detailed personality characteristics developed from the users real life online living experiences. Second Life's 3D avatar becomes boring and soon to be obsolete. Google is in a position to dominate &#38; manipulate virtual life communities. Why?.... because Google's open application sources and the mobile phone is defining who you are by e-psycho-analyzing your online activities. See language in patents filed by Google... "User dialog (e.g., from role playing games, simulation games, etc) may be used to characterize the user (e.g., literate, profane, blunt or polite, quiet etc). Also, user play may be used to characterize the user (e.g., cautious, risk-taker, aggressive, non-confrontational, stealthy, honest, cooperative, uncooperative, etc)."

Shannon McPherson is a Bryn Mawr College student social activist that is campaigning for the use of ad-supported free mobile phone &#38; Internet services to decrease the digital divide.


excerpts taken from:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/06/technology/06google.html?n=Top/News/Business/Companies/Goog" target="_newWindow">http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/06/technology/06google.html?n=Top/News/Business/Companies/Goog</a>
Posted by Shannon Michael (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
cnet is really bad at market forcasting
just look back at what they said about the iPhone... their article pointed a sound failure from Apple. It's anything but. But hey the reviews of actual products aren't bad.
Posted by ITrogue (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Comment
Train inside or outdoors. The affordable Forerunner 301 <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.highspeedsat.com/forerunner301.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.highspeedsat.com/forerunner301.htm</a> provides you with instant workout data including training time, pace, distance, lap pace, lap time, lap distance, average and best pace, calories, maximum and average heart rate. It also records both lap and detailed data. Available in 3 different versions (see versions tab), Forerunner 301 comes bundled with different accessories to help you track your progress for whatever moves you.
Posted by jordan357 (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yellow Brick Road ahead ....
..... if you have AIMidas Touch and Pleasant Disposition.

"Even if there is a tidal wave of new devices using the Android platform, they will still represent a relatively small portion of the overall market."
--Charles Golvin, analyst with Forrester Research

That is as may be, but with Beta IntelAIgent Design, it would easily capture the all important top end of All markets...... and that is relatively even smaller again and therefore, logically, much easier to Server for/Provision.

After All, what Good is a Search Engine if it cannot Deliver Product for Wealth.
Posted by amanfromMars (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think that Google should be as marketing oriented wiht <a href="http://www.androidal.pl">Android</a> as Apple with <a href="http://netgenerationblog.com/3g-iphone-opportunities/294/">iPhone</a>.
Posted by Cheep_F (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google knows that next stage of the evolution internet is mobile use, so they developed Android, and such app like <a href="http://androidfeeder.com/android-market/">Android Market</a>.
Posted by Androidal (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Eric Schmidt is the biggest Mafia puppet in the US. He is bad news for apple users. http://endmafia.com
Posted by geo11101 (76 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think &lt;a href="http://android.com.pl" title="android"&gt;Android&lt;/a&gt; will be very popular in my country :)
Posted by rammiro (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think [url=http://android.com.pl]Android[/url] will be very popular in my country :)
Posted by rammiro (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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