What Android means for Apple, MS, open source, enterprises

Google’s mobile operating system to have broad impact on wireless technology

What, no GPhone? That was the reaction from numerous commentators after Google unveiled its long-anticipated mobile phone plan on November 5. Yet what Google and partners such as T-Mobile, Motorola and Sprint Nextel of the newly formed Open Handset Alliance are doing will have broad impacts on wireless technology.

At the moment, Google is not releasing any mobile devices on its own. Rather, it has collaborated with several technology and wireless companies to develop Android, an open source platform that can be used by third-party developers to create applications for mobile devices. Although Andy Rubin, Google's director of mobile platforms, won't comment on the company's future plans to create a mobile phone of its own, he does note that "if you were to build a GPhone, you'd build it out of this [Android] platform."

Even without a GPhone, Android is fascinating in its own right. Here's a look at what Android means for the wireless market, for the enterprise, for open source, for Apple and Microsoft, and of course, what it means for Google.

What Android means for the wireless market

Because Android is an open source platform, it will allow users to connect to any network they choose, and will also let them add whatever applications they want. Van Baker, a research vice president at Gartner, says if the platform is successful and becomes widely adopted, it could pressure the major carriers to loosen their grip on their wireless devices. Thus, he says, companies such as Verizon might think twice before they disable Bluetooth on their handsets if they know their customers can easily switch to another carrier that will allow them to do as they please.

Dylan Schiemann, CEO of Web applications developer SitePath, also thinks that Android could go a long way toward prodding carriers to open their devices to more third-party applications.

"The mobile carriers always want to control everything, but they're showing signs of backing off on that," he says. "Carriers have enjoyed a long period where they've controlled what you put on a phone, and where they've charged you for what you put on your phone. If the Android platform works, it could change that dynamic."

While AT&T has yet to publicly comment on the Android announcement, Verizon has given it a warm reception. Jeffrey Nelson, Verizon's executive director of corporate communications, says Verizon "welcomes the support of Google, handset makers and others for our goal of providing more open development of applications on mobile handsets" and that "the highly competitive wireless industry is demonstrating that neither legislation nor regulation is required to produce innovation."

What Android means for the enterprise

Some analysts say the enterprise impact will be minimal, because Google is making a consumer play with Android. But consumers like to bring popular devices to the office, and end up using them for both work and play.

"If it's successful and people have it, it will come into businesses and we'll adapt to it," says CTO Dave Leonard of Infocrossing, an IT outsourcing provider in New Jersey.

It's hard for IT departments to decide whether to support Google's Android, because it's a platform for developing phones, rather than a phone itself, says Ken Dulaney, a Gartner analyst. Each IT department is likely to pick one type of Android-powered phone to support and not support others, because they don't want to risk lack of interoperability, he says.

A better approach, argues Dan Kohn, COO of the Linux Foundation, is to pick one set of standards that IT will support for calendaring, e-mail applications, VPN and so on, and tell users they can use any mobile phone compatible with those standards.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?