November 5, 2007
Will Android Dream of Mobile Sheep?
Google's move into the mobile space with its Android platform and open handset alliance may force the cable industry to step up its wireless game.
By Shirley Brady
With cable operators' Pivot-branded wireless joint venture now being tweaked by Sprint, the cable industry will be watching Google's latest foray, into the mobile and wireless space.
Ending months of speculation, Google this morning unveiled Android (complete with its own dog-starring YouTube video), its umbrella project to develop an open platform for mobile devices.
The Web search giant announced 34 wireless companies (including Sprint but not, notably, Verizon or iPhone-wedded AT&T) as charter members in its Open Handset Alliance to develop the Android mobile platform.
"This partnership will help unleash the potential of mobile technology for billions of users around the world," stated Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt. "A fresh approach to fostering innovation in the mobile industry will help shape a new computing environment that will change the way people access and share information in the future."
"Today's announcement is more ambitious than any single 'Google Phone' that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks," he added. "Our vision is that the powerful platform we're unveiling will power thousands of different phone models."
This latest announcement from Google follows Sprint's announcement on its third quarter earnings call last week that it's freezing rolling out Pivot-branded cellphones at its retail locations until the service is "simplified."
It also follows last week's Google-led OpenSocial coalition formation, which struck a similar coalition of companies interested in unseating Facebook's growing dominance in the social networking space.
Besides Google's growing dominance as a Web portal and YouTube's popularity in the Web video space, Schmidt & Co. also have cable operators nervously watching Google AdSense's expansion into TV ad sales, which Google has been testing with EchoStar and Astound Broadband.
More details will be revealed about Android when its software developers kit is released on Nov. 12. In the meantime, Google's executive spearheading the initiative, director of mobile platforms Andy Rubin, blogs about Android here.
[For more coverage on Google's mobile moves, check out CNET | USA Today | New York Times | PC World ]
Also worth reading in light of today's latest today's from Google: the Wall Street Journal's look at how Google is changing the game for marketers, and Newsweek's profile on Google's global executive management training program.