Now, for most of my tech-using life computers and other devices have largely tended to come with proprietary software coded by, or for, the hardware manufacturer but I’m a little puzzled by reports that Google will soon start shipping their own Android-powered mobile handset.
As a current Mac and iPhone user I’m pretty much sold on the advantages of the same firm making or commissioning btw hardware and software and, as I mention above, that’s largely been the way things worked with most of the gadgets I’ve used; from my Amiga to various PDAs via I’ve rarely had an option to switch to a different OS without swapping to a new hardware brand.
I could have understood Google keeping Android in-house and launching their own phone right from the start but their rumoured decision to launch its own handset makes little sense after more than a year of mobile networks and established handset makers pushing the concept of Android-powered mobiles (I’m assuming everyone reading this knows Google are responsible for the Android mobile operating system).
Now, as an owner of a T-Mobile G1 I share some of Google’s suggested (by others) disappointment with the relatively low-specced phones currently available but to start competing with manufacturers who have spent considerable sums adopting your operating system doesn’t really make much sense – it’s like Microsoft suddenly deciding to start selling their own range of desktop and laptop PCs while expecting Dell and HP to continue buying OEM licences for Windows.
Is it possible that this phone is a little less phone-like and a little more tablet or eBook reader-like? With the investment Google have made in digitising piles of books it’s easier to see them wanting a device to take on Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s much-rumored tablet device than it is to see them competing with established mobile makers and networks.
If they really are launching a mobile phone they have a lot of ground to make up just to catch the smaller industry players, let alone have a chance to overtake Apple.