Google Android: For More Than Just Phones? - InformationWeek

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3/17/2008
10:26 AM
Serdar Yegulalp
Serdar Yegulalp
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Google Android: For More Than Just Phones?

So far all the talk about Google's Android has been about phones.  But the more I think about it, the more I realize phones may just be the tip of a very large iceberg that Google is trying to conquer.  Why stop at phones?

So far all the talk about Google's Android has been about phones.  But the more I think about it, the more I realize phones may just be the tip of a very large iceberg that Google is trying to conquer.  Why stop at phones?

This whole thing came together for me during a discussion I was having on Friday with an open-source vendor (the details are currently embargoed; I'll have more to say about it later in the week).  We got to talking about phones and how having a consistent OS platform between phones would be a huge sanity-saver, both for developers and users.  Then it hit me: Phones are just the beginning, aren't they?

Think of all the other devices that use embedded OSes right now that could benefit from having something like Android as a platform.  One major example that came to mind was digital cameras.  Imagine a camera running Android, outfitted with either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi -- you could shoot pictures and then upload them to a photo-sharing site like Flickr (my favorite) or Picasa (Google's photo sharing service) using the Android interface.  Likewise, Android could be used as a way to normalize the plethora of interfaces we get from digital cameras.  (Ever try to figure out where the white balance control is on a friend's camera without wasting minutes on end?  I know I have.)

The same goes for other devices, with or without networking included.  Another major category that comes to mind: digital music players.  An Android-powered music player -- assuming such a thing isn't already folded into an Android-powered phone! -- would be something I'd snap up as a replacement for my recently bricked iRiver H10.  And so on.

So, the way I see it, Android for phones is probably just the beginning.  And I'm fairly sure Google knows it -- it's just that phones are one of the best places to start for this sort of thing.  They'll make for an excellent proving ground: if Android can make it there, maybe it can make it anywhere.

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