A View from Erica Naone
Google Announces Mobile Plans
There is no Google Phone. But Google is making a move into the mobile market.
Amid buzz about a possible Google Phone, today the Internet search giant revealed its plans for a move into the mobile world. (See “Why Did Google Buy Jaiku?”) The bad news is that there is no Google Phone, according to Andy Rubin, the company’s director of mobile platforms. The company’s good news is that Google does have a plan for mobile–and a far-reaching one at that. The company announced that it is launching Android, a platform for mobile devices that includes an operating system, a user interface, and applications. The system is designed to combat the problems that developers face with mobile phones: that every phone is radically different in terms of its specifications, and applications usually have to be redesigned for each individual model of phone. (See “Making Your Phone Smarter.”) If phone carriers and manufacturers adopt the Android platform–and Google seems to have already lined up some who say they will, in the form of the Open Handset Alliance–phones could get much more powerful as developers become able to concentrate their resources on building applications rather than on rebuilding them. Google’s strategy also seems to involve improving Web services to mobile phones. Rubin’s entry on the Google blog gives the impression that Android is only a small part of the company’s strategy in that arena.