Google's Android Platform Is Not For The Enterprise - InformationWeek

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Commentary
11/5/2007
04:46 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
Commentary
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Google's Android Platform Is Not For The Enterprise

The participants of today's conference call could not have been any clearer. Each of the speakers said "improve the consumer experience" multiple times in their little speeches. So what is this new mobile platform really for?

The participants of today's conference call could not have been any clearer. Each of the speakers said "improve the consumer experience" multiple times in their little speeches. So what is this new mobile platform really for?Google gave us a lot of think about today. In fact, I am still chewing on what the real import is of its formal announcement of the Android mobile platform. One thing is for certain, it is no enterprise play.

Much of today's conference call for press/analysts sounded like vaporspeak to me. Empty promises scripted by marketing teams meant to make us think that something important had been announced, even though nothing really new was spoken of.

Let's take stock of the factoids about Android.

* It has the "most generous open source" license ever created, according to Google's Eric Schmidt. * It will work with many different phones, through different carriers, and on different types of data networks (i.e., CDMA, HSPA, etc.) * It is being supported by 34 companies in the Open Handset Alliance, which includes Google, Motorola, HTC and T-Mobile. * The platform will help deliver faster, more desktop-like applications and services, most notably a better browsing experience, to handsets. * And it will be available in the second half of 2008.

Aside from this, we still don't know all that much. When asked what the operating system looked like, Schmidt said it was "awesome." Uh. Thanks. That's very descriptive. Google did say that the base software and SDK will be available next week. Hopefully we'll be able to get some screen shots to see what "awesome" really looks like.

The gentlemen hosting the call (Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO, and Andy Rubin, Director of Mobile Platforms, Google; René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom, parent company of T-Mobile; Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corp.; Paul Jacobs, CEO of Qualcomm; and Ed Zander, Chairman and CEO of Motorola), brushed aside most questions asking for real specifics. They didn't provide any details such as whether or not there will be a gPhone, whether or not carriers will lock the platform down and make it unavailable for consumer customization, what types of hardware will we see, can it handle touch screen interfaces, and so on.

They did mention one word again and again and again. And that word was consumer. Android will be a platform to help get mobile applications and services onto the handset - services and applications most often used by consumers. Not enterprise types.

Does mean they want to tear the Walled Garden down, or make it taller? I can't tell yet. The idea of openness is a good one. How far that openness will extend is an altogether different issue that was not addressed today.

Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the call was that one gentleman--whose name I don't remember--asked Schmidt how Google came up with the name Android for the platform. He deadpanned: "It seems rather lifeless to me."

I have to wonder if he even understood his own pun.

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