Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's a gPhone debut parade!

We had reported earlier on rumors of a gPhone debut at the Mobile World Congress, which opens next week. The rumors have taken on a tone of all but confirmed reporting in the past few days. Apparently, we won't see a debut of just one or two godPhones, but a parade of upto a dozen gPhone prototyes, according to this article on CNN Money:
As many as one dozen handset makers and chip companies are expected next week to unveil mobile phone prototypes designed to operate with Google Inc.'s (GOOG) new Android software platform, a source familiar with the situation said Friday.

One analyst said the number companies preparing to show off their wares at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona amounts to "a small but symbolic step" forward for the Internet search and advertising giant, which has set it sights on the nascent but potentially lucrative mobile ad market.

"Having prototypes is a signal, but not a promise, that the phones will be out there," said Bill Hughes, analyst at In-Stat consultancy.

Hughes said the success of Google's effort to develop a next-generation mobile phone will largely depend on convincing independent developers - whom Google is counting on to add all the bells and whistles to its mobile phone software - that there will be a broad market for their applications.
Couple of points:
a) How many of these "phone prototypes designed to operate with Android" will actually be running Android? I ask this only because the Winstron GW4 was being shown off as the "first Android-capable phone" at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, although it was decided not running on Android yet!

b) The above CNN Money article claims that, "the success of Google's effort to develop a next-generation mobile phone will largely depend on convincing independent developers". I have heard a similar thing from many others about how independent developers will make or break Android. Well... no! We have repeatedly seen great-looking, shiny new mobile phones becoming a huge hit in the market with no independent developer support. All it would take is the introduction of just one Android handset which one-ups the iPhone, and everybody, their grandmothers and their kids will be lining up for it. So, no, the success of a new mobile phone or platform does not largely depend on independent developers. However, I don't deny that independent developers do make an important contribution, especially towards the long-term adoption and sustenance of a new computing platform.

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