Why Google’s Open Handset Alliance Has Been A Disappointment


Leslie Grandy is a consultant who blogs at The Consumer Matters. Previously, she was an executive at T-Mobile, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and RealNetworks.

When Google (NSDQ: GOOG) formed the Open Handset Alliance back in November 2007, it brought together a global list of carriers, software developers and handset makers that supported the Android open source project. Since then, the OHA has not materialized into any kind of global force for change, leaving many in the industry



I love the fact that people assume I wrote this piece under some sort of Steve Jobs spell…to be clear, I was also the VP of Product Development at T-Mobile AFTER I worked at Apple, and with a team of folks committed to open innovation, we launched the G1, the first Android phone in the market. If anyone can see both sides of the RDF it should be someone who had both experiences, no?


Leslie Grandy worked at Apple lol, that explains everything. The handset makers have no choice as of now except to go with Google. Maybe if Windows Phone 7 is a hit, they will have a choice. And for creating own OS, own app store blah blah, the OEMs dont have the luxury of Steve Jobs and they are terribly terribly late. They have to depend on either Google or M$$$

Tsahi Levent-Levi

While the OHA may have been a disappointment, the Android OS definitely isn’t.
Android OS is adopted today not only in smartphones but in anything that is consumer electronics. I strongly believe that this is the most important operating system out there for devices today.
Google has Apple to thank for this huge success they are now experiencing.

Patrick S

Yes Verizon will not be carrying the N1. But judging by the number of HTC Incredibles that are being sold I find it hard to believe that Verizon or HTC see Android as a failing platform. After reading this I will find it hard in the future to take the author seriously. In fact this article tells me that the recent comparisons of Apple and The Church of Scientology aren’t that far from the truth.


This article is just FUD against Android.

The OHA may not be perfect, but what other open source choices do we have for SmartPhones OS for the moment? Even if the OHA fails in the future there will be available the source code for Android and any Chinese phone manufacturer may use it for their phones without depending on the OHA or Google.

“OEMs are continuing to fragment the user experience for Android…” this is Apple talking.

“Alliance members may contribute new projects, and choose to share—or not share – code with other Alliance members….” Some components are under the Apache license, other under the GNU GPL. According to which you are using you had to follow the rules. So, there is no need to complain like it is a big deal that there are member that do not share the source code.

This is FUD !!!!! Only complains, this is not a constructive critic.

But how do we know that Leslie Grandy (ex Apple ) is not under Jobs Reality Distortion Field ? The RDF is very powerful, everyone that worked at Apple and/or used one may be contaminated by that.

Lesly, just update your article and say to switch to an iPhone to be honest to yourself.

Jeffrey J

such an objective opinion from a former Apple exec… lol. we prefer working with Android over Apple anyday.


Just bear in mind Google’s agenda is to push their web services on mobile then all things become logical. Android is a platform to access Google’s web services, the next Microsoft Windows for mobile devices. It is business and certainly Google is not giving out free lunch to the failing mobile makers.

The formula is like this. Although people can install anythomg onto Android, (1) there is the 512MB application limit that forbid serious applications like OpenOffice and you have to use web application like Google Doc and etc (2) mobile makers may innovate but considering their history, few will bother to (HTC is really an exception) (3) mobile makers may package competitor services but reckon that Microsoft will not like it, and most people will accustom to use the preinstalled Google services just like IE does (3) even if Telco goes astray and try to kick away Google, the base OS is in Google’s discretion (yes, Android is open source, but doesn’t mean there is without Google’s proprietary code or algorithm).

Regarding device fragmentation, everyone aware of it and sure Google too. With Google’s focus on web services, then local applications on the mobile is just an attraction. That’s why the 512MB curse and their loosely controlled App Store. It is enough for developers “innovate” funny things to get people into Android. So fragmentation is not a problem. Pirated software is not a problem. In fact pirated software will make Android more popular.


The author conveniently forgets that the underlying android kernel source code is open and can be forked and maintained independent of Google. Why try to paint Verizon as not wanting to sell the Nexus One? Google sells the phones, the network supports it. You can bet that Apple put the kibosh on the Verizon/Nexus one phone synergy.


How would you describe Apple’s developer network? I’d describe it as dictatorial. I’ll take Google’s oligarchy over Steve’s rule any day.

I can only think of one Android handset that a completely proprietary handset – Dell. Even HTC’s sense UI is very similar to the stock Android UI.

This article is nothing but pure FUD over Android – simple as that.


The open handset alliance simply illustrates that being “open” doesn’t guarantee success. Especially with a successful, established and well-heeled competitor already on the market. If Moto, for example comes up with a cool variation on the Android OS, that helps them sell more phones, why would they want to share that variation with everyone else? Also, Google, coming out with the Nexus One probably wasn’t a great encouragement to the rest of the OHA. And Google allowing multiple versions of Android to be sold SIMULTANEOUSLY (from 1.5 to 2.2) is just silly if not disastrous for developers and overall growth of the platform.

Contador Wanarua

Why does Google want to become the Jack of all trades.This is unfair

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