While Android could offer real promise in terms of technology and usability — particularly because it is an open platform — it is unlikely to single-handedly change the restrictive nature of the mobile industry, said John Poisson, founder of Tiny Pictures, a developer partner of Android.
“Carriers in each market will still control how it gets implemented and on which devices and in which form,” Poisson said. “Android lives and breathes at the pleasure of the operator.”
Another problem for Android is how to explain what it is to consumers. Unlike the iPhone, which came on the back of Apple’s hugely successful iPod music player, Android is an unknown brand, even though the Google name has plenty of cache.
“People forget these things get to customers through the retail channel and marketing,” said Frank Meehan, the global general manager for handsets and applications for Hong Kong telecommunications conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd
“We operators struggle with how to market this phone. There’s nothing really unique about it and we can’t say it’s a Google phone,” said Meehan, whose company buys millions of 3G devices year.
How do you then sell an Android phone?