Open Handset Alliance (or: If Open Source Had A King…)

Posted: November 7, 2007 in Emerging Media, Mobile, Trends
Tags: , , , , ,

Something about the fact that Google’s movements continue to hit my radar screen both bothers me and enlightens me simultaneously. Merely one week after announcing OpenSocial, a Google driven collaboration to standardize a format for applications and widgets across major social networks, Google unveilsthe Open Handset Alliance, instantly shifting from a potential competitor of the wireless carriers, to an ally (killing rumors of a G-phone) – and instantly becoming an exponentially greater threat to Microsoft, the king of the desktop.

He Who Holds The Operating System…

The entire open source movement has been a slow and steady revolt against the old guard (Microsoft), and Google has been empowering an entire ecosystem of developers – gaining their trust. But is it truly open source? No, of course not. It is Google-driven- collaboration that may one day reach true open source status. The momentum however, may help Google tremendously as we shift more of our collective marketing focus to the mobile screen. The turf war just heated up a notch. The mobile device may eventually shift from being the third screen to the first screen, as bandwidth and experiences naturally improve over time. Google has already corralled most of the major carriers. Apparently they agreed with Andy Rubin’s description of the service as “all all of the software to run a mobile phone, but without the proprietary obstacles that have hindered mobile innovation.”

Android: Hopefully The Name Says it All

An android – a computer that is designed to look and act like a human. I guess it’s the best of both worlds. That a pretty big expectation to live up to. Then again, anything is better than the mobile internet experience we have here in the US. But Google has been on a winning streak lately, and I’m expecting this strategic mobile land grab to be well thought out, executed and cultivated with the prioritization of a major investment in next generation positioning.

The mobile platform needs a level of standards. I’m certain that the major stake holders won’t allow Google to dance unless we’re all having a good time, so I’d expect to see benefit for the consumer, the carriers, marketers, and the supporting mobile ecosystem.

Android will be released in late 2008. In the interim, have fun going through some of Google’s video based YouTube announcements, press releases. They really practice what they preach and set a great example for the industry – I am enlightened and troubled all at once. With great power comes great responsibility, and so far Google is taking the bull by the horns on both fronts. Kudos from a tough critic.


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