Thursday, 6 December 2007

Why Android will win

Matt Lewis from Archart has written a great piece about Android and makes great observations on the fragmented Linux mobile world. Get the article here. Below are some salient points.

On the current Linux mobile platform groups like Mizi, Access, Limo, Lips etc Matt says:
"from the perspectives of hardware integration and application execution, they are largely incompatible with each other"

"the handset market share they currently enjoy is tiny – most have no market share at all"

ok, so what's so special about Android then? Its another linux platform right? Yes, OEMs can modify it and not share modifications right? Yes, so won't it be yet another pain in the ass OS? No because Matt points out

a/ the Android source code is under the the Apache licence with a little bit extra: the OEM has to sign a "compatability pledge not to break interoperability"
b/ Android runs java apps. Admittedly developers need to test how rich and efficient Dalvik is, but if successful, Matt predicts developers will jump to this so they only have a single Virtual Machine to test against.

Who'd bet against Google? Matt's observation on what telco operators want (see below) says Google's mobile strategy is bang on the money. They might not topple Nokia's dominance and are behind Windows Mobile for now, but Google's Android can drive the Linux mobile OS forward as a coherent force.
"Operators are demanding that their handset portfolios consolidate around two or three platforms so that rich applications can be proliferated as widely across their subscriber base as possible, and the operators’ OEM suppliers are having to respond. We are aware of some service providers seeing as much as 50% of their data traffic channelled to the MySpace site alone, and as such services evolve off the browser into widgets and dedicated apps, operators cannot afford to maintain a catalogue of application variants to match a disparate handset portfolio."

Android might not be totally open thanks to Google's checks and balances on what OEMs can and can't do, but having this overlord is for the greater good.

Here, a youtube demo of Android.

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