So far all the talk about Google's Android has been about phones. But the more I think about it, the more I realize phones may just be the tip of a very large iceberg that Google is trying to conquer. Why stop at phones?
This whole thing came together for me during a discussion I was having on Friday with an open-source vendor (the details are currently embargoed; I'll have more to say about it later in the week). We got to talking about phones and how having a consistent OS platform between phones would be a huge sanity-saver, both for developers and users. Then it hit me: Phones are just the beginning, aren't they?
Think of all the other devices that use embedded OSes right now that could benefit from having something like Android as a platform. One major example that came to mind was digital cameras. Imagine a camera running Android, outfitted with either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi -- you could shoot pictures and then upload them to a photo-sharing site like Flickr (my favorite) or Picasa (Google's photo sharing service) using the Android interface. Likewise, Android could be used as a way to normalize the plethora of interfaces we get from digital cameras. (Ever try to figure out where the white balance control is on a friend's camera without wasting minutes on end? I know I have.)
The same goes for other devices, with or without networking included. Another major category that comes to mind: digital music players. An Android-powered music player -- assuming such a thing isn't already folded into an Android-powered phone! -- would be something I'd snap up as a replacement for my recently bricked iRiver H10. And so on.
So, the way I see it, Android for phones is probably just the beginning. And I'm fairly sure Google knows it -- it's just that phones are one of the best places to start for this sort of thing. They'll make for an excellent proving ground: if Android can make it there, maybe it can make it anywhere.