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Google fast tracking mobile development on their Android

November 15, 2007


Great to see Google throwing their money at developers but as there are many discussions on the Internet about Google’s newly released Android operating system as to what it is, what it could be, and what it isn’t, will their cash prizes be enough to lure enough developers onto Android.

What we are seeing is a large shift (not a paradigm one yet….) in the way Internet companies are getting serious about dealing with mobile infrastructure. Whilst Google is flexing their web 2.0 muscles into mobile, others are keeping pace such as Apple with their recent me-too announcement and it will be very shortly before we hear from Microsoft to restate their mobile strategy again too.

Mobile device manufacturers play both sides of the carrier walled garden. Devices are either designed and locked down for the carrier’s environment with services and application access to the carrier’s core (such as the iPhone), or becoming their own development platform in their own right. The Nokia N-Series is a good example here of how these devices are offering a large amount of functionality and services that is agnostic of the carrier.

Google’s play into this space is good timing. They are pushing their application development framework from the Internet world into mobile. The question remains will they seamlessly integrate their Internet service platforms into Android or keep them independent.

For Google to succeed here they will hopefully make Android an extension of their existing Internet services, bringing the ability to create a holistic & unified user experience to the mobile world. Whilst Apple’s iPhone has accomplished this somewhat it is a proprietary and closed service that locks the user into 1 carrier per country only. Google has done well in some of their mobile application plays in the past such as their email service called Gmail, so the the real test will be if they can overcome siloed large company mentality that other organisations suffer from, to develop a converged service platform independent of access device.

The next battle for mobile will become an IP network development platform, not a specific mobile one. Let’s wait and see how the giants that are wading into mobile waters bring about these waves of change.

 Posted by Shane Williamson

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