Silicon Valley's Golden Triangle: Apple, Google, Palm Mobile Platforms

Apple, Google, Palm, Microsoft, RIM, Nokia and Symbian are among today's leading mobile platforms. Some are being developed within Silicon Valley's Mobile Golden Triangle, while others call the mobile communities of Redmond, Helsinki and Waterloo home. While geographic proximity doesn't matter much for individual applications built on different mobile platforms, Knowledge Center mobile and wireless analyst J. Gerry Purdy explains how the mobile industry as a whole benefits from having these large communities of experienced mobile developers in close proximity to one another.


It seems amazing to me that three of the leading mobile platforms today are being developed near each other within Silicon Valley. This is an area that is approximately south of Highway 92, north of Highway 17, bounded on the east by the San Francisco Bay and on the west by the foothills-although there's no real boundary. I have nicknamed this interesting proximity of Apple, Google and Palm the "Mobile Golden Triangle" since the shape of the lines connecting the three companies on a map is triangular. In other words, if you connect the locations of these companies, they look like the three points of a triangle.

Let's map it out. Apple is working on the iPhone platform (operating system, App Store, iTunes) in Cupertino. Set that as point one. Then, go about 10 miles northwest up Highway 85 to the Bayshore Freeway (Highway 101 at the Rengstorff House). There you'll find Google working in Mountain View on the Android platform (Android operating system, Market Place and general mobile applications such as Search and Maps). You'll also find Microsoft working on much of Windows Mobile in their Mountain View campus at Shoreline and Highway 101. Set that as point two.

Next, go southeast about 10 miles to Sunnyvale and you'll find Palm working on the new Pre platform (Web operating system, Synergy and Apps Store). Set that as point three. And, if you go about 10 miles back southwest from Palm, you'll end up back in Cupertino at Apple.

Yes, there are two other major mobile development platforms elsewhere: Nokia's Symbian Foundation (in the Espoo area of Helsinki, Finland) and RIM's BlackBerry (in Waterloo, Canada). While Symbian and Nokia both have major offices in the San Francisco Bay area in this same general Triangle area, these offices are focused on market development.

All of the major mobile platform communities do very good work, but there's a special synergistic effect in Silicon Valley due to three of the major mobile development communities being so close to each other. More importantly, this proximity results in a number of other benefits for the mobile industry as a whole, including:

1. Source of engineers

With three major mobile developers within close proximity of each other, the Mobile Golden Triangle provides substantial engineering talent, both from one major company to another but, more importantly, as a network of qualified developers within the area.

2. Professional networking

The Mobile Golden Triangle allows for local members to network at professional conferences, local get-togethers and community interaction. This helps developers gain knowledge and understand the latest trends and new development processes from other developers.

3. Great climate

The Mobile Golden Triangle may not have the best weather in the winter (compared to south Florida), but it's one of the best climates from April until October, with overcast mornings (caused by the San Francisco Bay's micro-climate), clear sunny days and almost no rain.

4. Magnetic attraction

Because there's a lot of hype over Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and now Palm's new Pre, this positive reinforcement acts like magnetic attraction, bringing the best developers from around the world so they, too, can be part of the action.