Catonguay adds that the Android platform is a good choice for this approach because, unlike some competitors, it’s not built around sets of menus. Android’s more visual user interface lends itself to the CLIQ’s organizational approach, and the platform’s flexibility makes it easy for individual users to make adjustments.
Chetan Sharma, an analyst who runs his own consulting firm in Issaquah, WA, says that the true test of Android will come when people start using a variety of devices to download applications from Android Market. The mobile industry tried previously, with the Java platform, to make it possible for developers’ applications to run on lots of different devices without tweaking. But Sharma points out that the goal was never fully realized, and the platform gradually became fragmented.
The big promise of Android is that manufacturers can build new types of phones and launch them with a thriving ecosystem of applications already in place, thanks to Android Market. Sharma says whether this is true will become clear when people take applications built for early models such as HTC’s G1 and start installing them on other manufacturers’ phones.
Sharma adds that Android has lagged in developing an effective billing system for applications purchased through the market. So far the system has been nowhere near as smooth as what Apple has in place with its iTunes store. Sharma says that improving Android Market is critical, so that customers get full access to the applications that are a major selling point for any mobile platform.
But not everyone agrees that Android devices will need to remain fully compatible with each other to be successful. ABI Research’s Burden thinks manufacturers like the leeway they have with the Android platform to make a phone truly their own. As for Google, Burden expects the company to eventually try to make money off the platform, perhaps through advertising technology, once Android-based devices have been widely adopted.