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Summary:

OK, so the Google Phone is not really a phone, but instead a software stack that allows people to do cool things such as build applications and power devices that have never before been imagined. Yes, it also cleans dorm rooms and finds dates. Following the […]

OK, so the Google Phone is not really a phone, but instead a software stack that allows people to do cool things such as build applications and power devices that have never before been imagined. Yes, it also cleans dorm rooms and finds dates. Following the press conference call, however, here are five points about Android that remain…unclear.

1. Google (GOOG) says it’s open source, letting you download it and do whatever — except that carriers can create their own locked-down versions of the software with Android. That doesn’t seem very open to me.

2. Google says it is happy to share revenues from advertising with the carriers. Which is good news for the carriers, but if you are a Google shareholder, you want to know how much is going to be kicked back to the carriers, and if this will have a material impact on Google’s financials.

3. The first Android device won’t hit the market till the second half of 2008, and that, too, from one handset maker, HTC. Now as a developer, why would you opt for this platform when you have other options? (Apparently the browser inside the device will support desktop browser-compatible apps, which is a good thing.)

4. None of the handset partners are betting the farm on Android, but are instead hedging their bets. HTC will continue to do Windows Mobile (MSFT), an OS that makes them a lot of money. (A little arm-twisting from Redmond can go a long way). Motorola (MOT), on the other hand, is a founding member of LiMo Foundation, a rival group that has the backing of carriers looking to Linux Mobile as an OS option. So which effort are they going to put their resources towards?

5. With the exception of admitting that it is Linux-based and can work with Qwerty, non-Qwerty and different types of screen sizes, no real details are available on the tech specs of Android. For that we’ll have to wait. Andy Rubin did point out that it will need a 200-MHz ARM processor at the very least, so for some time it is going to be a smartphone-focused OS environment.

Full conference call transcript @ Engadget.

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  1. free market research report Monday, November 5, 2007

    and what about the gaming industry Google has no planned launched for that? i.e. from search engine to Mobile – Google is sheer follower

  2. A far as #3 goes…why go with this platform when others are available? The same reason carriers were drooling to get in on the iPhone. Google has such a massive following of fanboys and fangirls that the first handset built for this platform is going to get a lot of early adopters rushing to buy it.

  3. The Tablet PC / Ultra-Mobile PC News and Reviews Source Monday, November 5, 2007

    No Gphone, but an Open Handset Alliance

  4. Peter Kasting Monday, November 5, 2007

    Re: 1.
    This is how many open-source licenses (not the GPL, notably) work: you are free to do anything with the code, including use it in non-free ways. I personally consider this to be much more free than a GPL style “you’re free to do whatever you want with the code as long as it’s all open too” license.

    Also, 5. is not a question.

  5. A critical element is how is DRM implemented. After many years we still have Forward Lock or some form of Plays For Sure or a custom token scheme on Sprint. Even the iPhone uses Fairplay. It will be impressive indeed if a univeral DRM can be created.

  6. No idea why google is re-inventing the wheel than joining Nokia in Maemo. Nokia is doing Open source tablets from 2005 and they already created a good development community.

    check http://maemo.org go get the taste of what nokia is doing.

  7. Let us just wait for sometime to get these details. I am sure people in Nokia, Samsung and others are taking this far more seriously. This is just the first day guys…!!!! Om, take a breather or a beer :)

  8. Sachin Kotwani Monday, November 5, 2007

    The True Value of Google’s Mobile OS:
    Google finally announced it is entering the world of mobile devices by creating an Open Source operating system. The Google OS is based primarily on two other open standards: Linux and Sun’s Java. The search giant has agreed to provide the OS to handset manufacturers free of cost.
    So how will Google benefit from this? While the obvious answer is advertising it is not clear how accepting users will be to ads in something as personal as a mobile phone. While this is certainly a market to look into, Google can potentially benefit in a great way by learning more from users. All data traveling through the Google OS would be fair game for the Mountain View company to get to know the consumer better. This information can in turn be used increase the effectiveness of targeted advertising regardless of the ultimate method of the delivery. In the end, it’s all about information.

    http://skotwani.blogspot.com/2007/11/true-value-of-googles-mobile-os.html

  9. It sounds like you’re determined to not like this Om; not sure why.

    It is open source and based on the Apache license. Because of open competition, it’s likely that a locked down phone will fail in the market.

    Hardware vendors are not betting the farm on this because they’re smart. No one ever said this was the second coming of the phone industry; actually, Apple said that :)

    People said Apple couldn’t enter the phone market because they had no experience and it was far to developed. How could they compete against the likes of Nokia? They’re doing pretty well so far. Don’t count Google out. This is a good play for them and they have the muscle to make it work.

  10. @1
    Google (GOOG) says it’s open source, letting you download it and do whatever — except that carriers can create their own locked-down versions of the software with Android. That doesn’t seem very open to me.

    Ha-ha! If that’s not open, what is? If the carrier sells a “closed” device, you can go in the first shop across the street and buy a new one! Now if you are living in a tough country, where the network operator is selling limited set of devices, and don’t allow 3rd party devices – you re in difficult position, but if I were you, I would switch my network operator immediately!

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