I've been absolutely buried in work, so I haven't yet had a chance to think through the full significance of Google's Android handset software, and the instigation of the Open Handset Alliance today.
Various people have been talking up the 'gPhone' and similar stories over the past week, so it's hardly a total surprise. What is interesting is just how many members the initiative has from the start.
I've written before that I didn't believe that the handset OS marketplace would conveniently consolidate to two or three platforms anytime soon, and with this launch, plus Apple and the recent resurgence of UIQ, I stand by that assertion.
Remember when the IT industry used to sporadically develop partnerships that under scrutiny were really "anyone but Microsoft" associations? Well, this one seems to be "anyone but Nokia or Microsoft"....
Biggest surprise for me is the Asia-centric nature - especially having both DoCoMo & KDDI onboard.
Semiconductor partners are probably the group with the fewest obvious gaps - although STMicro seems to have decided against pinning its flag on the Alliance on the same day it concluded its 3G chipset deal with Nokia.
Esmertec & Aplix add some Java flavour - and make me wonder whether SonyEricsson may be next on the Alliance's list of potential suitors.
LG, Samsung and Motorola are all notoriously promiscuous when it comes to handset software platforms, so it's no surprise to see any of them adding another OS notch on their corporate bedposts. HTC is a bit of an eye-opener, though.
It's noticeable that Google's tried to keep its distance a little bit - including itself alphabetically among the software members, although the liberal sprinkling of YouTube videos through the site is a bit of a giveaway. The fact that it's not openphones.google.com seems to suggest that this might actually be a commercial venture for the big G rather than another 'in Beta' testlab thing....
Last quick thought - there's no obvious enterprise-centric players (IBM, Oracle, Cisco, other usual suspects) in the list, so I guess that MS and RIM can sleep easily for now.
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