With the blogs buzzing about a possible Google phone, one could almost feel the iPhone hype returning.
And the blogs were almost right. What Google announced played to their strengths as an innovative software company.
With Android from the Google-fronted Open Handset Alliance intending to provide a unifying mobile operating system, the company took a fresh look at the mobile world.
But is it new? Nokia had something similar way back in 2001 with their open mobile architecture initiative.
Before that, in 1999, Palm and Nokia/Symbian were working together on a pen-oriented phone interface.
So, as Symbian suggest, Android is just another technology initiative. But this time it may be one that could actually work.
It’s a good play by Google. You could almost hear the cries of “unfair” by the mass of developers who wanted to create applications for the iPhone but have been, seemingly deliberately, stymied, at least until February.
But now, Google’s move has added a new major mobile smartphone operating system to the three market leaders: Symbian, Microsoft and RIM.
What gives Android credence is that HTC, one of the more dynamic mobile manufacturers, are behind it, as well as the blue chip mobile brands who are also taking a look.
So will there be Nokia, Samsung and HTC products with Android by 2009? Well possibly.
Symbian was in the same position a few years ago, and after a number of attempts, has created an operating system that leads the market with the big four manufacturers.
However, Nokia, Motorola, and Samsung also have devices that use competing operating systems. So there’s every chance they could use Android too.
It seems that the biggest stumbling block could be security.
Millions of smartphones using an open operating system will be tempting proposition for data thieves, especially as the mobile phone ‘wallet’ becomes a reality.
Google will have to take great care to learn from the early hacking and virus attempts experienced by Symbian.
When it comes down to it, the handset manufacturers are a pragmatic bunch. They will ultimately provide the kit and user experience demanded by the majority.
If that means Google’s (or the ‘Alliance’) Android is what the consumer wants, then that’s what the consumer will get.
Mobile has just got a lot more interesting.