The New York Times coverage of the G1 Android phone from T-Mobile, Google and HTC points out something I didn't really think about Tuesday: Google's goals for the G1 are different than Apple's goals for the iPhone. For most people that would probably go without saying, but at the same time, it's a good reminder.
The first sentence of the NYT story sets out Google's aim in no uncertain terms. It reads, in part:
... slick mobile device that combines a touch screen and a keyboard and is aimed at putting the Internet in the pockets of millions of cellphone users.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin told reporters, "We want people out there to use the Internet on their phones a lot. It actually doesn't matter if it is Android, the iPhone or something else."
The company wants to make money from advertising on the mobile Internet. That's part of the reason Android is based on open specifications that are made available to developers and handset makers. Google wants as many manufactures as possible to have Android on their devices so users will have easy access to Google search, maps and other applications.
As Pacific Crest Securities analyst James Faucette put it:
"For Google, Android is a cash drain. They are going to lose money on Android as an operating system. They hope to make it up from the services that they are delivering..."