When computers first came out, they were big and expensive machines. From what I understand, code had to be written for specific machines. Windows, an operating system, brought computers into the main stream by enabling developers to write code to the operating system. We now have thousands and thousands of products available for computers.
Let’s fast forward to more recently with Google’s launch of Gmail. Was it revolutionary? No. But it did force Yahoo and Microsoft to give us more storage and a better interface. It also changed the rules of corporate email providers as well.
Now we look at cell phones.
Yesterday, Google announced an new industry consortium for cell phone hand set makers, wireless carriers and software developers the “Open Handset Alliance”. They will release a new cell phone operating system – Android.
The NY Times reports on it extensively here.
The Alliance is in direct competition to Microsoft Windows Mobile in that Google provides a cell phone operating system for free, Microsoft charges for it.
What does this mean?
Phones can be much cheaper as the operating system is free.
Developers can write programs to the open standard and not to 30 or 100 different phones and systems. This will enable an explosion of content for cell phones, via the web.
Why is this important for small businesses.
Over time, every wireless carrier will be forced to a) lower price b) add more functionality and c) more ease of use to their cell phones and mobile solutions.
The NYT writes The technology is expected to provide cellular handset manufacturers and wireless operators with capabilities that match and potentially surpass those using smartphone software made by Apple, Microsoft, Nokia, Palm, Research in Motion and others.
Why is Google doing this? Advertising revenue from cell phone users. I would guess a percentage of sales as well.