Google's Android adds to mobile complexity

Handset makers and operators are regarding Android as one more of many platforms they already use.

While Google may be pitching its new mobile software platform as a way to unify the mobile market, even members of the new alliance think differently.

Google billed the platform as one primarily aimed at making it easier for application developers to write applications that can run on any phone.

But handset makers and operators are regarding Android, the new Linux-based mobile phone software announced Monday, as one more of many platforms that they already use.

Motorola, one of the biggest champions of mobile Linux, for instance, says that it will add Android to its existing lineup of phones. "We have commitments to carrier partners and other vendors about different products and we will continue along those lines," said Ed Zander, chairman and CEO of Motorola.

Motorola won't be switching from one existing operating system to another, said Paul Alfieri, a Motorola spokesman. "Android is one in our arsenal," he said. Many Motorola phones use the Linux operating system supplied by MontaVista.

HTC, a close partner of Microsoft and supporter of Windows Mobile, has a similar plan. "Our commitment to other operating systems won't be changing," said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC.

Google, however, is hopeful that even some competitive mobile operating system developers might be interested in using Android. "The fact that Android can be used and modified means that people who might even be competitors might adopt it and use it for the basis of their work," said Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO and chairman.

The initial reaction from competitive mobile software platform developers makes that seem improbable. Nokia, which uses Symbian and its own Series 60 development platform, sounded unlikely to adopt Android. "We remain committed to our path of developing converged connected devices around Symbian and Series 60," said Bill Plummer, head of multimedia for Nokia in North America.

He said that there's room in the market for multiple platforms and that Nokia welcomes options like Android that are open. He also pointed to an existing effort designed to support interoperability across platforms: the Open Mobile Alliance. The group, of which Nokia is a founding member, was designed to create standards that would enable applications to work across platforms. While it has developed a number of standards, it hasn't helped many individual applications interoperate across different operating systems.

Microsoft also sounded unlikely to want to adopt Android. "It's not really new or revolutionary," said Scott Rockfeld, group product manager at Microsoft's Windows Mobile, of his impression of Android. He pointed to the partner community that Windows Mobile has already developed over the past five years.

Almost 50 device makers with 140 different form factors use Windows Mobile, he said. "We've been at this for quite a while," he said. In addition, developers who know how to develop for Windows can easily port their skills to make applications for Windows Mobile, he said.

While Google said that the platform includes a Linux-based operating system, it did not reply to questions about the source of the operating system, which could be totally new or based on an existing mobile Linux operating system. Wind River, which is a member of the Open Handset Alliance formed around Android, implied that its operating system drives Android. Wind River Chief Marketing Officer John Bruggeman couldn't offer specifics about the OS in Android but said: "You can look at the OHA members and see that Wind River is the only Linux provider there."

MontaVista, which makes a mobile Linux operating system used by many mobile phone manufacturers including Motorola, is not a member of OHA but intends to join, said Jim Ready, CTO and founder of MontaVista. He is skeptical that Android would specify only one OS. "If it's an open system, do you think Google is going to mandate that?" he said. "That defies logic."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nancy Gohring

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?