Yesterday, in our symposium on Mobile Learning (with Judy Brown and David Metcalf), Ellen Wagner was talking about how fast the landscape is changing. I was able to provide a timely example.
At the same time we were convening, Google was announcing their new mobile platform, Android. There’d been talk of the gPhone (Google’s mobile phone), but this was a totally different, and important, move. The elements are an operating system, middleware, and software development kit (SDK) that are being developed by the Open Handset Alliance. Note the key word is ‘open’. That is, anyone can build phones that meet the requirements and run the OS, or develop applications that will run on it.
This is a much bigger play than the iPhone in that it’s an open environment which can open up the currently very restricted US phone market. Apple managed to get great concessions from ATT, but there’re constraints on software development (their SKD will be announced in February, but it’s not clear how much control Apple will exert). Obviously, it’s still to be seen how well anyone will be able to emulate the innovative UI of Apple, which was game-changing as well, but the openness will present a very appealing environment, not just a platform.
This is a very volatile environment, but this is a real big change in the environment and it will be interesting to watch the waves that result. Time to go surfing…