Techdirt notes that the USA Today title “ATT Flings cellphone network wide open” is quite a bit of hype given that it’s been open for 3 years. Although the article itself notes that this is really nothing big and new, it is an indication that many of the wars are now faught on the marketing battlefields and not the technological ones.
Also yet another sign that titles to grab attention are becoming increasingly misleading, especially in the blog world. Even the title of this post is – frankly – somewhat misleading, as was my recent suggestion about Andrew Seybold’s competence during a recent PBS interview, for which he just took me to task in his newsletter.
But hey I’m in elite company – he’s also pissed at Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt for suggesting that physical limitations on the wireless spectrum won’t post insurmountable challenges to the coming internet convergence.
Rumors that Google might buy Sprint appear to be mostly just that – silly rumors to catch a headline. Not so much that it would be a bad idea – for Sprint it would be the rescue they can only dream about as shifts in subscribers and the mobile landscape do not appear to favor Sprint right now. As a Sprint customer with 4 phones on the plan you’d think I’d be rooting for them, but my misadventures with bad coverage here in Oregon and back east, the overhyped Treo 650, and a ringtone scam I had to *remind* them remove too often has basically soured this customer.
If Google buys Sprint the Champagne should be popping – but probably not at Google though the economics of a deal like this are well beyond my expertise – probably anybody’s for that matter.
Google clearly wants to enter and effectively destabilize and reinvent the mobile market and they’ve already taken a major first step in the direction with the Mobile Handset Alliance. Also true that Google can keep a secret as the recent Myspace “Open Social” partnership made very clear. But I have a hunch they’ll do this more indirectly than managing their own mobile network. Cleverly, Google is poising themselves to be the keeping of most mobile advertising which is where the “extra” cash is now laying on the table. Open Handset Alliance phones will combine with mobile services and ads to bring a lot more advertising revenue into this market fairly fast, and Google is making sure a Google mobile OS, or something very compatible, is waiting there to scoop up the bucks.
Why buy the cow when you can get all that milk … for free?
Today Google and partners announced the Open Handset Alliance, a group of phone related businesses and technology providers that are committing to develop phones and software with an “open architecture”.
Although showcasing an actual Google Phone would have been more dramatic, this approach will likely shake up the cell phone world in a variety of ways, especially if this approach gains quick traction in the developer community. On November 12th Google will make available a free package, the “Android SDK” which is a software kit for phone application developers. If the Google mapping applications used by the iPhone and the Treo are an indication of the kinds of new phone functionality we can expect from this Google’s expressed goal of trying to create something like a “magic phone” could actually become a reality. Google asked kids what they’d want in a “magic phone”. I think this was a neat way of helping adults innovate and think out of the box during the software design phase.