Does The Industry Really Need Android?

by Jamie Hunter

The announcement of Google’s mobile phone platform Android was made just over a week ago. Alliances have been formed, and we’ve even seen the first glimpses of hardware and applications. But do we really need another mobile phone platform? Yes, we do! Read on to find out why.

Whether or not Google’s Android succeeds or fails, it has already succeeded in showing the industries shortcomings particularly when it comes to mobile web access. There are currently 2 major mobile platforms in use today. Symbian and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. Both are very solid operating systems but I would have to give the nod to Symbian. In my experience it has been more stable in every day use, with far fewer lock ups and crashes than Windows Mobile.

Obviously we don’t know how stable Android will be, and to be fair a lot of that has to do with the hardware running it, but what will separate Google’s offering from the rest is that it will cost developers and mobile phone operators very little if anything to develop for and use Android. Because Android will be open source there are no licensing fees to pay for the right to develop for it, which should theoretically result in lower software and hardware costs for the end user, which is the first reason we need another option. Mobile phone operators always complain about having to subsidize the cost of phones, so they pass that price on to consumers. Well Android should change that.

The second reason we need Android is the mobile web. With Google backing this effort we have to assume that the devices running Android will be able to offer better mobile web browsing experiences than what is currently available. Tried surfing the web on Razr lately? Or how about a Blackberry? Nothing like your desktop experience, right? Google will need a way to get their ad revenue from these devices and the mobile web still seems like the obvious choice. If these devices are able to make surfing the web more like a desktop experience Android is sure to succeed.

If the current operating systems available were perfect there would be no reason for another option such as Android. When companies compete the consumer always wins, which is why I am pulling for Google on this one. Too bad we have to wait over 9 months for the first working handsets!

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