Autumn is shaping up to be quite a good time for Android, the open source mobile operating system from the Google-led Open Handset Alliance.
Android increasingly is in the news, and the stories invariably paint it in a positive light. Yesterday, I blogged on what appear to be conciliatory gestures by Verizon Wireless and AT&T on net neutrality. One of those moves was an agreement by Verizon Wireless and Google to work together on an Android device that will support any application. Verizon Wireless moving toward openness is the headline news of that announcement. However, a strong Android move onto the carrier's network certainly is important as well.
The reason Android is enjoying good times-and that those times will get better-is explained in this Computerworld piece that reports on a rosy forecast from Gartner. The key is Google's backing. Gartner says that Android, which only drives 2 percent of smartphones now, will move to 14 percent in 2012. At that point, it will be ahead of the iPhone, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry and trail only Symbian. Symbian, the story says, will recede from being the operating system on about half of all smartphones to a more modest but still substantial 39 percent during the forecast period. The story says that Google's expanding family of cloud-based applications will be a key reason that Android will thrive.
Yesterday, eWeek noted a Wall Street Journal report that Dell and AT&T are planning an Android smartphone. The device, which is said to be coming next year, would represent a couple of firsts: It would be AT&T's first Android device and Dell's first smartphone. The story notes other Android/carrier initiatives, which include promised devices from Sprint and Verizon Wireless and a current device from T-Mobile.
Another sign of the good times for Android is that Motorola is solely focusing on the open source operating system. PC Magazine reports that the company will attempt to rehabilitate its cell phone business through Android smartphones. Chief executive Sanjay Jha says that the company will release "multiple tens of products"-whatever that means-using Android, including a device for the holidays. There will be both phones with touch screens and full QWERTY keyboards, the story says.
Samsung also is making an Android move. PC World says that the company is switching the Behold phone, which was introduced during last year's holiday season, to Android. The T-Mobile Behold II will have many of the same features as the original Behold and, not surprisingly, will add Google Maps, Google Search and Gmail.
There is a good deal of unanimity around the fact that Android is hot-and will get hotter. That's a good thing for consumers, both because of the Android devices that will be produced and the competitive impetus that will spur other manufacturers.