Last week saw the introduction of the first Android phone, the G1 handset for T-Mobile. It’s a cool piece of hardware and software that should appeal to many. But is it really an iPhone competitor? And is that why we should care? No and no, but care we should.
Here are sampling of the headlines from major news organizations in the U.S. and UK:
•Google’s Android could smash iPhone’s locked gateway – guardian.co.uk
•Google vs. iPhone: Is Steve Jobs Reliving Past Mistakes? – time.com
•Google Introduces an iPhone Rival Open to Whims – NYTimes.com
•Google takes swipe at Apple’s iPhone – London timesonline.co.uk
Google isn’t competing with the iPhone in this endeavor. They are competing with every manufacture that doesn’t yet offer a full mobile internet experience and for customers that don’t have an iPhone and want that browsing experience on their cell. That means that companies that are not providing that like Microsoft and Nokia are the ones that Google is up against not Apple. As Greg Sterling points out, the smart phones are risk here are those running Windows Mobile, Palm and Symbian phones. Here is a great summary of smart phone market.
The G1 will have a positive affect on mobile browsing in general and on Local in particular. If not now with T-Mobile than going forward. It is a phone that makes search the center of the user experience and that can only bode well for Local and location based. Like the iPhone, websites will not need to be completely rebuilt and users can have a full internet experience with great local search.
From where I sit, phones like the G1 AND the iPhone will drive us towards the fully functional mobile future, not as competitors but as inflexion points in a dynamic market.