What Does Google's Android Mean For IT? - InformationWeek

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11/6/2007
03:22 PM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
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What Does Google's Android Mean For IT?

Yesterday my colleague, Eric Zeman, chimed in with his thoughts about Google's Android announcement and what it will mean for enterprise IT. In a move to expand the discussion, I sat down earlier today with Maribel Lopez, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research, to talk about the impact of Google's mobile initiati

Yesterday my colleague, Eric Zeman, chimed in with his thoughts about Google's Android announcement and what it will mean for enterprise IT. In a move to expand the discussion, I sat down earlier today with Maribel Lopez, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research, to talk about the impact of Google's mobile initiative on the business mobility market.Over The Air (OTA): Hello Maribel, welcome to Take 5 on Over The Air. Let's dig right in. I have asked a version of this question to several wireless industry insiders this week, so I'll ask you as well. Is Android the tipping point for mobile Linux?

Maribel Lopez (ML): Linux was already underway but Android proves the technology has real vendors signed up to provide momentum. While this improves Linux's market potential, it does not spell doom for other operating systems. Not doom, but it certainly will dampen the prospects for Windows Mobile in the consumer market in the long term, restricting Microsoft's success to enterprise/prosumer in competition with RIM.

OTA: Neither AT&T nor Verizon Wireless signed up for Android. Does the absence of these carriers spell the end of Android's future in the U.S.?

ML: It certainly limits the distribution of Android cellular products since these two operators service a bulk of the US populace. But it is not a surprise that these operators have taken a wait and see approach. Android is still in its development stages. These operators will wait and watch early deployments. If they believe they will are missing a major new market opportunity, they will add the platform.

OTA: Does Android have any potential in the U.S. enterprise market?

ML: Android appears to be positioned at the consumer market. It does little to help enterprises with their main issues of mobile device management and security. However, the low cost and open development nature of the platform provides the opportunity for cheaper smart phones and a more robust application development environment. Enterprises would like to see large applications vendors build to Android before they sign up for the platform and they also want to ensure the platform is secure before they move critical data to these devices.

OTA: Is Google competing with Microsoft or Symbian with this announcement? Does Google want to be the new Symbian?

ML: Android will compete with Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Symbian, and RIM for the device software stack. But at the end of the day, Google is most interested in propagating a software environment that will allow Google and others to build apps for mobile devices. These apps are where Google plans to build it revenue in areas such as optimized mobile advertising that can leverage location etc.

OTA: Should Palm abandon the Palm OS and turn the Treo into a business-class Android smartphone?

In an interview before their CTIA announcement with Microsoft, Palm told us the Palm OS is the company's consumer platform and they believe the Windows OS will be the corporate Treo platform. It has been discussed for some time that the Palm OS would move more toward Linux and this could be a good opportunity to make this happen. Given that Palm currently has many applications that run on its OS, it is unlikely they will make a switch before they see momentum.

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