While Apple goes to extreme lengths to keep the vastly overpriced iPhone locked down so as to protect their lucrative deal with AT&T, Google has gone the other way in announcing their Open Handset Alliance. The alliance joins 34 companies which will accept the Google Phone and it’s open source mobile platform called Android.
The Android platform is the first step in this direction — a fully integrated mobile “software stack” that consists of an operating system, middleware, user-friendly interface and applications. In addition, handset manufacturers and wireless operators will be free to customize Android in order to develop new products faster and cheaper. This should give consumers worldwide more affordable access and hardware. That’s the theory anyway.
“Open is good because it’s about choice. It allows people to do what they want,” says Steve Horowitz, engineering director of the Open Alliance.
T-Mobile, HTC, Samsung, LG and Motorola are amongst the leading wireless providers who have joined together to provide an open format for cellular communications which will also foster innovation on mobile devices and giving consumers a far better user experience. The goal is to work corporately, rather than exclusively, to create better cellular service and provide more options for the wireless experience. And you can bet the Alliance won’t be bricking any phones should third parties want in on the party or prevent users from using cash to buy a new Google Phone.
Consumers should expect the first phones based on Android to be available in the second half of 2008.
Here’s to the dreamers.