There is little doubt of Google’s (GOOG) ambitions far exceeding the confines of Internet search and advertising. In the past couple of years the Internet giant has also focused its attention on the mobile phone market by developing and intensifying partnerships with mobile operators. And it’s not difficult to see why. With mobile phone subscribers projected to reach 5.2 billion worldwide by the end of 2011, Google sees the use of the mobile platform not only as a major business opportunity, but also as a strategy to extend its presence throughout the traditional Internet world.
The NYT is reporting that the nation’s No. 4 wireless carrier, T-Mobile, appears to be the first carrier to offer a mobile phone powered by Google’s Android software, introduced by the Mountain View, CA-based co. last November, and made available to cellphone carriers and manufacturers who have agreed to provide the device.
The phone will be manufactured by HTC Corp. (HTCKF.PK), one of the largest producers of mobile phones in the world, and is expected to go on sale in the U.S. as early as October of this year.
The smartphone is expected to challenge many of the capabilities of Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone as well as other smartphones that run software from Palm Inc. (PALM), Research in Motion (RIMM), Microsoft Corp (MSFT) and Nokia (NOK).
Richard Wong, a venture capitalist at Accel Partners, which invests in mobile start-ups said that “the launch of Android is an important milestone in the industry. But, he warned, it was only one of several platforms being developed or upgraded today”. [Via NYT]
There are also some issues, notes the Times, with developers complaining that “creating applications for Android has been difficult”. They have chosen instead, at least for the time being, to focus their development efforts on phones that are already on the market. At the same time, others differ, saying that creating programs for Android has been painless.
Considering this is new territory for Google, challenges facing Android will certainly be numerous. However, one thing is irrefutable: failure or not - as long as innovation keeps chugging along, great new products in the future will eventually emerge.