-- Google Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues
---- Google Mobile OS - Open Handset Alliance
jtara - 9:37 pm on Nov 5, 2007 (gmt 0)
From the Open Handset Alliance FAQ:
Together we have developed Android, the first complete, open, and free mobile platform.
What's OpenMoko? Chopped liver?
I guess they are somehow arguing that OpenMoko isn't "complete"?
From the Open Handset Alliance Overview:
We are committed to commercially deploy handsets and services using the Android Platform in the second half of 2008.
That's perhaps a year from now. A lot can happen in a year.
Instead of the gPhone we were expecting, all we get is some spreading of FUD.
Don't get me wrong - I think this is a good thing. There is a move toward more openness, and I think there will be several competing, open platforms. For the industry to settle on one platform rather defeats the whole idea of openness, don't you think?
Notice that I said "more openness". Why did I qualify it? Well, the "open" handset alliance qualifies it themselves:
Each member of the Open Handset Alliance is strongly committed to greater openness in the mobile ecosystem.
Not "openness". Just "greater" openness.
From the FAQ:
mobile operators will have complete flexibility to customize and differentiate their product lines.
So, would that include complete flexibility to lock it down?
Edit: Google apparently has commented on this. From [pcmag.com...]
Does "open" mean "unlocked"?
Google acknowledged that the structure of Android would enable providers to create a locked-down phone, but said that was unlikely to happen.
"It's both possible and highly unlikely because the more constraints the manufacturers put on the platform" the less beneficial it is, Google's Schmidt said. "While a license would allow that kind of behavior … it's unlikely you'll see [a locked down] scenario."
HTC's McKinsey agreed. "Yes, technically that's possible but we in the alliance don't see that happening or coming to fruition that way," he said. "We envision the end user to be able to do more from a customization aspect on this device than they have in the past."
Ah. They will be able to do more. Well, they "envision" that users will be able to do "more". Yea, that's open.
On November 12th, an early look at the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) will be made available to developers via our website.
But when will developers (who aren't part of the alliance) be able to actually start developing? When will they get more than an "early look".
So, what does it take to be an insider? That's unclear:
Who can join the Open Handset Alliance?
The Open Handset Alliance brings together companies in the mobile ecosystem that each contribute to the effort in various ways. We welcome companies willing to make serious and ongoing contributions to openness in the mobile world.
Who decides whether a company's efforts are "serious and ongoing"?
I think maybe they should have called it the "Opener Handset Alliance". OK, excuse my English. "More Open Software Alliance". Naw, neither one rolls off the tongue quite as well.
What *does* Google get out of this? Good karma? Something more? More access to handsets than they have now, once platforms are open?
There seems to be something missing here. Was there a gPhone initiative which got deep-sixed, and this is what is left? Or is another shoe yet to drop?