Google needs to build critical mass for Android platform

Logo GoogleWith the official announcement of the HTC-made T-Mobile G1, Google has its first handset for the Android software platform. The iPhone-like device will debut in the US on October 22 for US$179 followed by launches across Europe. However, Google now needs the other members of the Open Handset Alliance to build critical mass for the platform if it is to fulfill its mobile ambitions, according to Ovum.

Google needs broad industry support for Android: the G1 is only the start, Ovum noted.

The critical question for the industry is: will Android make it easier for Google to roll out its applications and services or will it provide a platform for mobile operators to launch their own services? At its launch, Google's raison d'etre for Android was to reduce the vast amount of software fragmentation that currently plagues the handset market, in order to encourage the roll out of applications and services, Ovum pointed out. This can only be achieved if the platform is shipped in sufficient volumes and accounts for a significant amount of the market; it cannot be achieved by a single product even if it does live up to the high expectations set by the iPhone, Ovum added.

Using the G1 as a guide, it unsurprisingly has Google's services built in, including Google Search (for local and web searches), Maps (including Street View), Gmail, Youtube, Calendar, and Google Talk. T-Mobile and Google have not disclosed any details of their commercial relationship but it would seem that T-Mobile, at least in the US, is content to have a product that competes directly with AT&T's arrangement with Apple with the iPhone, Ovum commented.

There is also no information on if or how Google will extend its advertising business model to the G1 or other Android-devices. If, as Ovum suspects, other Android-based devices are equally as tied to Google's services as the G1 this will ultimately impact how quickly the Android platform is embraced by other mobile operators.

As seen with the iPhone, Apple's stance to restrict involvement from network operators has reduced its appeal for some networks. Google's move to provide all of the source code of the Android platform and the G1 after it is publicly available is at least a sign that operators can build their own services if they have the will to do so. Application compatibility will be the key to Android's success, Ovum stated.

Beyond the issue of mobile operators' own services, the other major challenge that Google faces with Android is building and maintaining momentum for innovative third-party applications within a horizontal ecosystem. As Apple has demonstrated with the App Store, building developer momentum is the key to success, driving device usage and adoption by consumers and operators, Ovum pointed out. However, the iPhone, unlike Android, is part of a tightly managed environment with device and services vertically integrated.

If Android is to become a credible platform in its own right (achieving volumes beyond HTC and the G1) it needs to be used in multiple handsets by a variety of phone manufactures. Android will need to be modified for different hardware platforms but crucially it must maintain compatibility for the third-party applications that run on top. This is not a trivial exercise, as demonstrated by Sun Microsystems with its mobile Java platform, a technology that is not dissimilar to the application environment used within Android. Failure to maintain compatibility between Android-based devices will severely inhibit demand and innovation for the platform, Ovum concluded.


Tags: Android, Google, HTC, T-Mobile

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

A mobile hotspot in Australia will be capable of hitting gigabit speeds on the go
A new game could be in the works as Blizzard appears to have been hiring for a Diablo-related project
Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri will speak at MWC 2017
However what if you could go way, way back?
The Helio P15 packs an octa-core Cortex-A53 processor clocked at 2.2GHz
Samsung claims up to 27-percent higher performance or 40-percent lower power
Preliminary data for October shows another Windows 10 boom
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /
HP Slate 7 is a 7-inch Android 4 Tablet PC with good sound
A cost-effective, 7-inch tablet PC from a renowned manufacturer
October 25, 2013 / 4

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments