Friday, October 24, 2008

Android G1: RIM should be afraid. Very afraid.

Here's what is going to happen pretty soon, in no particular order, with different probability of materialization:
  • Software development houses are going to realize that Android offers them equal, if not more powerful platform than BlackBerry OS;
  • They are going to realize that social networking and application interoperability (a.k.a. Web 2.0) is making their life much easier, and development overhead smaller, and time to market shorter;
  • For a short while, corporations will bitch and moan about absence of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes support on Android;
  • Software development houses are going to realize that whoever comes up with Microsoft Exchange and/or Lotus Notes support on Android is going to hit the jackpot;
  • Hence, the Big Race will start (I believe it has already started), and Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes support will inevitably come to Android, and very soon;
  • This will eliminate the competitive advantage that BlackBerry is still enjoying;
  • RIM is going to realize that Android in general, and G1 in particular, is the BlackBerry killer;
  • RIM may do the right thing and drop BlackBerry OS altogether, with just legacy support (unlikely, that's too much of loss of face) or
  • RIM may do the right thing and release a BlackBerry device with Android instead of or along with BlackBerry OS, gradually fading BlackBerry OS into oblivion;
  • Presence of Android on BlackBerry hardware is going to save their butt, and allow them to save billions of dollars on not having to develop something the rest of the world is already eager to do for them. Just let them.
So here's what I would do:
  • If I was responsible for mobile application development for consumer sector: drop BlackBerry development, change iPhone/Android resource allocation as 20/80 - iPhone is just one iPhone, Android is a platform, a cheaper platform, with more phones to come and vastly wider distribution;
  • If I was responsible for mobile application development for corporate sector: forget that Android is not currently on the approved list. This will change very fast. Change the BlackBerry/Android resource allocation to at least 50/50, and keep watching the market. Oh, and look very deeply into not reinventing the wheel, for application interoperability will be the key for Android applications, and there'll be lots of reusable code to reuse;
  • If I was responsible for infrastructure development: location based services are somewhat overdue, make sure they're not forgotten - and start planning ahead already;
  • If I was responsible for buying a phone for myself: I'd buy G1, in fact, I just did;
  • If I was responsible for corporate procurement plan: I'd eliminate all sorts of long term contracts with RIM and kept talking to Google about how they can make my life easier.
Now the prediction's been made, let's sit and wait and see what happens. I don't think holding one's breath for extended periods of time is necessary - BoA's mobile banking application has already been available on day one, Visa has declared their intent to do the same, there's some action as far as Microsoft Exchange support is concerned, Motorola is working on something. Let's see how much time it takes for others to realize that either they have to jump on the bandwagon, or be left in the dust.

Update: Told ya: CompanionLink Releases Outlook Syncing App For Android. Less than a month. May not be perfect, but certainly proves the point. Now let's see how long does it take for Lotus Notes sync app to arrive.

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