Kamis, 22 Mei 2008

Verizon Wireless decision to join Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile as members of a Linux-based mobile initiative appears to have dealt a setback to Googles ambitions for its Android mobile platform. A Verizon spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune that the company joined the rival LiMo Foundation because "of LiMos approach to providing a truly open OS that isnt simply an extension of a for-profit companys business model."

The stakes are indisputably high. According to ABI Research, 20 percent of mid- to high-end mobile phones will be running some form of the Linux operating system by 2013.


The success that Google has enjoyed to date is based on the relative openness of Internet browsers, and now Google wants to bring that same format to mobile devices, said IDC Senior Analyst Chris Hazelton.

"Google is interested in pushing the Web onto mobile devices and, in doing so, increase the number of Internet users, and thus increase the number of Google users worldwide," Hazelton explained. "The trouble is that Googles mobile strategy poses a threat to the offerings of Verizon and the other wireless carriers."

When mobile subscribers go to the Google search engine, Google does not share any of the click-though ad revenues with the wireless carriers unless a sharing agreement is already in place, Hazelton observed. "What the carriers really want is the ability to partner with other search-engine companies that offer white label search offerings that will enable them to share in that revenue," he said.

Other industry observers find it somewhat ironic that Google has been challenging Verizons commitment to open standards when its own Android platform falls short of being totally transparent.

"The closed nature of Googles development effort has limited the ability for both parties to have meaningful information exchange," noted Andrew Shikiar, director of mobile marketing for the LiMo Foundation. "LiMo would welcome contributions from Google that would facilitate deployment of Android services across LiMo devices."


Verizons decision was driven in part by the LiMo Foundations commitment to allowing wireless carriers to remain free to deliver their own compelling and differentiated services to mobile customers. "Verizon was looking for an OS with the flexibility that would allow it to strip out certain middleware modules and replace those with carrier offerings," Hazelton said.

Still, Verizons LiMo membership does not mean it intends to ignore Android altogether. "Android has great promise, and Verizon expects to provide great services to consumers using Android," Verizons spokesperson told the Chicago Tribune. "In fact, we expect many of our customers will want Android-based products."

One reason why Verizon and other carriers cannot afford to totally ignore Android is the widespread support among developers, demonstrated by the 1,788 submissions Google has received as part of its first Android Developer Challenge.

"What I find truly amazing is how global the interest in the challenge has been," said Android Product Marketing Manager Azhar Hashem. "Developers from the U.S. submitted one-third of the total applications, while the rest came from countries such as Germany, Japan, China, India, Canada, France, UK and many others.

Many of the top submissions took advantage of the geo and social-networking capabilities of Android, noted Android team member Eric Chu. "These applications allow friends to share their personal experiences and favorite content such as vacations, photos, shows, music, cooking recipes, restaurants and much more as they relate to certain locales," he said.


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