Google's Android seen as leading to market fragmentation

But Microsoft calls Android announcement 'ho-hum'

"We believe our efforts can unleash the true potential of the mobile phone," said Steve Chambers, president of Nuance's mobile and consumer services division.

In an interview, Chambers said that Android could help in loading speech commands on a large array of mobile devices. "One basic problem we have today to solve is that there is an incredible fragmentation of platforms," he said.

While Nuance sees Android as a way to reduce the fallout of fragmentation, two industry analysts predicted that the Google initiative could lead to massive fragmentation of software applications.

"On the one hand, an open platform such as Android is a good thing, because it will make applications cheap and more available, but it is bad thing because fragmentation is a serious issue with any kind of open platform," said Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner Inc. "Google has described a scenario that is kind of loosey-goosey, which could mean that different carriers insist on different build-outs of Android. Interoperability will suffer."

For business users, anything developed with Android is "pretty much dead," Dulaney said. "Business users need interoperability, so this is not a business play at all. This is for consumers and won't be something on our recommended list."

Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates, suggested that OHA members will need to focus on making Android applications uniform across their entire base. "How does their strategy work?" Gold asked. "I'm skeptical that they can pull this off."

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