Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Why I'm Waiting for Android

My friend on LinkedIn just asked me why I was so excited about Google's Android smart phone operating system coming to Verizon Wireless soon.

I wonder if he's sorry he asked? Here's what I said:


Android is an open source smart phone operating system from Google. A bunch of phone manufacturers are using it for their upcoming phones, including Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC --- you name it.

Android is a game changer for these reasons. a) It will be a common operating system on multiple handsets. b) It has an application store where third parties can sell (or give away) applications. c) It is open source so it doesn't add to the cost of the phone and also as handset makers innovate with the platform, their contributions go back into the stack for everyone else's usage. d) It is tightly integrated with Google's applications (search, maps, documents, Gmail - which are all my preferred apps).

This may sound similar to Apple iPhone, and it is. The differences are 1) It exists on many handsets from many manufacturers. 2) Innovation is coming from every handset maker to every handset maker. 3) The Android app store is loosely controlled, whereas Apple's app store is tightly controlled. 4) It's available on multiple carriers (Sprint, T-Mobile, soon Verizon) not just one. 5) The open source nature of Android will help it adapt quickly to problems (viruses, malware, security holes) and opportunities (new hardware, new types of networks, new apps, corporate uses, etc.).

I can't help seeing the Apple Macintosh vs IBM PC war replaying itself. Apple has the innovative but closed platform, then another competitor comes along that is more open (the IBM PC was open to multiple vendor hardware components, sound cards, memory boards, even full clones from Compaq/Dell, etc.). The more-open competitor trounces the closed competitor.

You can see I'm excited about it. I don't know if you wanted to hear all this.

Hope this helps.