Monday, September 29, 2008

Android: Unforeseen Consequences

Unforeseen by some, of course. I'm sure Google had exactly this in mind from the beginning.

Take a look at the flurry of announcements - major mobile hardware providers are now "looking" into the platform. The word "commodization" comes to mind right away.

Basic mobile phones are already commodized all the way - there's fierce competition, they cost dime a dozen and offer just about the same functionality.

There's still some diversity and competition between high end phones - notable examples would be BlackBerry, Treo, iPhone, and less known in North America, but more known in Europe Nokia Communicator series. They are vastly different and mostly occupy different segments of market.

Android, with some development effort, can occupy both the niches that the business phones (BlackBerry, Treo, Communicator) and fashion phone (iPhone) currently have the stranglehold on. Net result: some of those phones will go the way of the Dodo, the rest will have to drop prices. Commodity market is not fun.

There is one interesting specimen in this game: Sony Ericsson. Yes, the same Sony that pulled the rootkit on us and cheated on BluRay compatibility. They are currently "testing" Android. Seeing how Sony likes to have the market to itself and not let anyone in, and consistently fails to coexist in the same market segment with competition, I'm making my bet that either Sony will completely refuse to participate in Android game, or come up with something ridiculously vendor locked, which will not survive in the context of open API. Let's see how this prediction holds.

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