Google must walk softly and carry no device

Matt Bowman · May 11, 2010 · Short URL:

Sprint drops Nexus 1 as Android OS passes iPhone in marketshare. Google's mobile role is defined.

One of the big tech stories of 2010 will be the failure of the Google phone and simultaneous rise of Android. This is the year Google, king of the tech world, was handed its Magna Carta, stripped of absolute power, and told what it's role is going forward. You aren't to touch hardware, Mr. King. Your role, in the mobile world, is Android.

On Monday, Sprint decided to drop plans to sell the Nexus One, aka the Google Phone, just two weeks after Verizon made the same decision. Google's dream of a European-style market where consumers buy a phone from and have a choice of carriers is dead. Both Sprint and Verizon have other Android phones, the Evo 4G and the Droid Incredible, respectively, that they would rather hype.

Also on Monday, market research firm NPD group released findings that Android had surpassed the iPhone OS to take the #2 spot behind RIM as the smartphone operating system installed on most new handsets sold. Android OS now has 28 percentshare of units sold to consumers behind RIM’s OS (36 percent) and ahead of Apple’s OS (21 percent).

That means that app developers, many of whom are being forced by Apple's restrictions to choose between the two operating systems, have a greater incentive now to code for Android.

In other words, it's 1985 all over again. Apple has tied its OS to its own devices as a mighty foe develops a device -agnostic operating system that will become the Windows of the mobile world. Google might not like to be called the new Microsoft, but I mean it in a good way.

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