Since the release of the Apple’s iPhone they have pretty much sat in a class of their own winning both small business and Mac fan boys over. As always when a product gets a large market share there can be a lot of grumbling over the quality, and support of a product which the Apple iPhone has definitely see its share (and lawsuits). One of the biggest draw backs of the Apple Apple iPhone is its very closed sourced and secretive nature, and it’s application distribution system (iTunes). In fact in the past Apple has even gone as far as preventing companies from releasing training material on how to develop for the phone.
Now anyone in the SEO community has been hearing rumors of the Google Android Phone now since 2007, with the first model (HTC G1) recently hitting the market in the UK. Naturally you’d think that Google is a search engine, how can they produce a quality phone? That easy they don’t, essentially what they are creating is a Google Platform (Operating System) for handset manufacturers to integrate into their phones. For Google this is the best possible approach as all the non software costs are covered by the hardware manufacturers (other then reference designs), for Apple this is bad as it potentially will be competing against a multitude of handsets.
The next major question is how can Google’s handset platform possible compete against Apple when it has had the iPhone on the market long enough to have already released a second revision prior to Google’s initial offers? Easy they just have to make it more appealing, and that is exactly what they did yesterday. On October 21st, 2008 Dave Bort a Google software engineer wrote “Today is a big day for Android, the Open Handset Alliance, and the open-source community. All of the work that we’ve poured into the mobile platform is now officially available, for free, as the Android Open Source Project.” For more information here is the (formerly linked to: http://source.android.com/posts/opensource) original post on source.android.com.
How exactly does releasing a phone platform as open source make it more competitive?
1. There is a lot of existing free software that has already been developed for Linux that will be easy to port to the Android as it is based on Linux already.
2. Linux has an extremely strong community of programmers, and has some of the best free development tools on the market (lots of programming languages, compilers, and libraries to build GUIs).
3. Linux developers, and open source proponents are WAY more fanatical then Apple Fan Boys. If you don’t believe this statement all you have to do is watch the movie Revolution OS to see the likes of Richard Stallman, Bruce Perens, or Linus Torvalds.
4. Now that initial platform has been released to the general public there already will be developers sitting at home trying to improve on Google platform. Who doesn’t like free development on their product?
5. Within 12 months I would be surprised if there were any less then 1,000 free applications for the Google Android. Just try to see how many free applications there are for the Apple iPhone.
As for me I’ll probably wait for the platform to mature a bit first, but my next cellphone will definitely be based on the Google Android Platform. And I’m waiting with baited breath for all the SEO Applications that will be developed as Link Bait (Good free tools will always organically generate links). Not to mention that Firefox will most likely never be available on the Apple iPhone which already has dozens of SEO and Web Development addons. Essentially you can have a restrictive Apple iPhone, or the Google Android which is a true smartphone.