Google Android and the Wireless Ecosystem

Mobile Consumer Lab and Mind Commerce recently published a report about Google’s Android. The 55-page report, entitled “Google Android and the Wireless Ecosystem” looks through the hype and cynicism that has surrounded Google’s official unveiling of Android and analyzes the significance of Android versus competitive platforms such as Symbian, Windows Mobile and MontaVista, as well as competing devices such as Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s Blackberry.

The report looks through the hype and cynicism surrounding Google’s official announcement of Android and the Open Handset Alliance and identifies the key opportunities and critical barriers facing the future evolution of this platform. The report benchmarks the Open Handset Alliance against Japan’s “Wireless Ecosystem” model, as well as competing services offered by Symbian, Microsoft, MontaVista, Apple, and RIM. Through this analysis, five key insights are presented and a roadmap for the future success of Google’s Wireless Ecosystem is provided.

Google’s plans are focused on the development of a comprehensive ecosystem which aims to bring mutual benefit to all participating members, and spark innovation in handset designs, content and service offerings as well as overall consumer behavior. However, based on the dynamics of the existing mobile industry, they face a number of fundamental challenges in realizing these dreams.

Key Findings of the Report

  • Linux Developers are critical: Winning developers over to the Android platform will be a critical first step upon which Google must focus. If Google fails to accomplish this by mid-2008, Android will never achieve the critical mass necessary to compete with Windows Mobile or Symbian.
  • Innovation is Fundamental: While the $10 Million developers challenge is nice, a long-term vision for how content developers will be compensated and rewarded for their efforts is a critical success factor.
  • Operators hold the most critical role: Without Network Operators loosening their revenue-sharing strangle-hold on content developers, these companies hold the greatest power to thwart Google’s ambitions. We predict that Google will succeed in acquiring a spectrum license, and to use this to “convince” operators of the value of mobile innovation, either through partnerships or direct competition.
  • The Power of the Mobile Internet: For mobile innovation to truly succeed, Google and its Android developers must get consumers out of the habit of thinking of the Mobile Internet as a “smaller” and “less robust” PC Internet.
  • Handsets are the Key: Google must develop compelling incentives to convince the larger Handset Manufacturers to focus upon and innovate using Android. Without a broad range of handsets available and optimized for Android content/services, Google’s mobile ad-revenue dreams will remain dreams.
  • The Future is OFF the Network: For the Open Handset Alliance to convince Operators to loosen their grip on content and service revenues, alternative (and more profitable) revenue sources must be identified. While Government regulations will impede operator’s efforts to become banks, without a “carrot” to compliment the “stick” of Google’s plans to become a network operator, Google’s efforts to convince the world’s largest operators to adopt Android will be limited. Off-Network revenues will be the key ingredient for these discussions.

The cost of the report is $495 US for a single-user license and $995 US for an organization-wide license.

More info: Google Android and the Wireless Ecosystem Insight Report