Marketers and agencies pay attention – the future of mobile is unfolding before our eyes, and it is important to understand the foundational building blocks of how this is all happening and what it means for us…
The industry’s been eager for the release of the first Android OS mobile device, which together with the cult-like movement of the iPhone, will be catalysts for our mobile future. T-Mobile revealed the device as the G1. We’ve all been previously referring to this device as the HTC Dream.
The focal point of Android is of course an open platform, but apparently it is launching with a significant dependence on third party developers to add some advanced functionality to what seems like a basic default feature set. According to the Android Developer’s blog, the Android Market (app store equivalent) will allow any applications to be offered.
We chose the term “market” rather than “store” because we feel that developers should have an open and unobstructed environment to make their content available.
While the potential benefits of this openness are evident to guys like me, unfortunately this is not a selling point to the average Joe! That being said, remember that over 100 million apps have been sold in Apple’s app store, 10 million in the first weekend release of the 3G iPhone alone.
Will Android stack up? Well, not at first – mainly because we are only talking about one initial device from a carrier that is not exactly the market leader, T-Mobile., not to mention the lack of enterprise support like syncing with exchange. Seriously, what is with first generation launches lacking support for the people who want these devised the most!
The first generation iPhone took 74 days to sell 1 million devices, while the second generation took just one weekend to do the same. In a device driven consumer market, Android is not about the device but the open nature of the operating system. Although the iPhone has a unique OS as well, it is the pop culture icon that Apple has become and the slick device design that sells the phones, not the OS. The HTC device I’m sure is well crafted. I have used nothing but HTC phones for the last 4 years – they rock – plain and simple. The marketing message of “Hey get an Android phone and support the next generation of the open mobile web and application ecosystem” is a difficult one for the average consumer – you and I may be sold, but the average Joe is another story and will take time.
A couple of key take aways about the T-Mobile G1…
A Few Downsides
– No ability to sync exchange (sorry, that’s a killer for me!)
– No desktop application or syncing
– Many features are going to be 3rd party dependent and not present yet
– The only current video capabilities are YouTube videos (what!?!)
– Soft cap of 1GB data transfer per month with T-Mobile’s option to throttle back to a mere 50kbps!!! (bad, very bad)
A Few Upsides
– 3G Speed (with the exception of the last point above)
– The potential feature set from the openness to third parties
– Touch screen AND QWERTY keyboard (good ‘ol HTC)
– Integrated Google Maps & Street View
If you are wondering why all of this all matters to you, the marketer or agency, it is because that the future of mobile marketing is bright and we have entered a in a new phase of evolution that will soon become part of your marketing plan if it has not done so already.