Google's open-source, Linux-based Android software stack may do for mobile phones what DOS did for the PC: create a de facto standard riveting developers together in singular purpose. Or, the Open Handset Alliance backing Android could become just another "knitting circle," say industry pundits observing the matter.
It's sometimes tough to tell with open-source projects. Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't. Are the stars in alignment this time?
Much could depend on the commitment of OHA founder and leader Google. Does the search giant really care about phones?
As more consumers get access to 3G phone service (i.e., phone service with broadband-like data rates of 384M bps and faster) the phone may replace the PC as the top Internet access device within a few years. That means Google may have to deal with a new world order, or face at least partial marginalization.
Carriers, meanwhile, have a lot to gain. Services like Google Maps and Local Search—and even good ol' Google search itself—could incent more users to subscribe to data plans. That increases ARPU (average revenue per user), in turn helping mobile phone executives realize the full potential of their incredibly over-valued bonus income structures.
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