Sunday, January 25, 2009

Three reasons to bet on 'Android'

The humongous success of ‘iPhone’ has done enough to redefine the utility of ‘Smartphones’. While enterprise and consumers alike are betting big on future of mobile computing, it’s natural to expect fierce competition in the mobile software platform space. While veterans like Palm OS, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Blackberry have already cornered a good deal of the mobile software market, the new generation platforms such as Android, iPhone (Cocoa), Brew and host of other Linux based platforms are beginning to challenge the old order. As enterprises moving towards mobile application development, the big question remains, which platform to bet on..

 Here are 3 reasons why I would bet on Android over other worthy competitors

1.      Open Handset Alliance – Android is backed by the heavyweights of the industry such as Google, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Samsung, China Mobile and NTT name a few. The backing of Open Handset Alliance (OHA) will certainly raise the entry barrier for any future competition

2.      Technical advantages – Open source, programming Java on Eclipse plugin (iPhone needs Objective C!!! on XCode IDE), can be developed on win/mac/Linux, runs natively (Blackberry needs special JVM). Along with the OS, you get host of other mobile applications such as an email client, SMS program, calendar and map bonus!   

3.      Positioning of Android – Shrewd marketing strategists as they are, Google is positioning Android in two parallel markets. With it’s leverage in OHA, there is a constant push for Android adoption by big players in both mobile handset manufacturing as well as mobile Operators. At the same time, as open source platform, it’s targeting consumer ‘first’. Eventually, when Android phones come to enterprise, it would come as consumer-purchased rather than enterprise-issued. On a related note, Google might extend Android to be a desktop OS..if and when such an event happens, the possibilities of cross platform application development would be huge..

All said and done, Android phones are yet to be launched in large scale (Currently being used exclusively on T-Mobile G1). The real test would come with it's application on more high-end phones in the hands of highly demanding consumers. However, as things stand, the future looks promising for Android.