Hot on the heels of the Open Social, Google has announced the Open Handset Alliance. Handset makers such as LG, HTC, Motorola and Samsung (essentially those who have had their lunch money stolen by Apple) are pledging to implement the software, based on a Linux OS. It’s also being supported by major carriers such as Sprint and T-Mobile in the US, Europe’s Telefonica, and Japan’s KDDI and NTT DoCoMo (essentially another set of companies who’ve not got the iPhone for sale).
Damien had previously claimed that Google will release specs for mobiles and get someone to build them for as cheap as possible. That’s not exactly what’s happening here. Google is building an advertising platform here.
Get it: there is no gPhone.
This is the interesting bit.
… the OS will not be branded or charge users for each program. Google … will instead collect revenues from ads that appear on Android phones.
I’m not sure I’m really up for that. I already loathe software which spends half of the load time with a splash screen and the built-in software which is on my Sony Ericsson K800i is sluggish enough already and I hate the advertising splash screens it has.
They’re saying its all about making cellphones do whatever YOU want it to do. That’s a dirty marketing lie. This will be about making the cellphone give more nickels and dimes to Google. They’re saying it’s about choice, low cost, creativity, innovation. Their cast of people introducing the initiative want a phone which keeps tabs on their kids, shares a family calendar, does their taxes. Very funny.
I’ve always been a proponent of Google but this, combined with Open Social, just seems to be a rather greasy sweaty hand enclosing around areas that should be free. I mean free in terms of access all areas. Free from advertising.
The hardware manufacturers will probably be happy enough to build something but I predict this will be a Zune rather than an iPod, a ROKR rather than an iPhone. I dn’t think it’s possibly to build something with vision by handing people an SDK and saying “Go for it!” That’s not how the iPhone was built and it’s also not how Google was built.
Anyway, introducing Android:
At this point it’s an SDK. Sometime in late 2008 we might see a phone using it. Whether it will be any different to any currently shipping phones who knows. I think Google might just have invented the Myspace of Mobile Phone Operating Systems (for those who don’t get the reference: that’s a description of most Myspace pages. A hash of oddly placed components, clashing backgrounds and adverts. With a tiny smattering of content.).
Slashdot has it’s share of interesting ideas.
If you want data too, skip the GSM bugs and go for a full-feature GSM/GPRS module. It’s got all you could ask for. Just add an antenna and a battery to your board and you’re set. Add everything up and you will end up half the price of an iPhone. Best of all, it will run _Your Stuff_, and _Your Stuff_ Only.
Ahhh, yes. So you can have a cell phone that looks like one of the following: