So, it seems that all the hubbub over the Gphone was really less about a phone and more about a rethinking of the concept of the mobile phone.
Today, Google formally announced the release of Google Android, an interface that will be completely open source in almost every way imaginable. Cellphones have always been hindered to a degree by their closed interfaces (see the iPhone’s war against the hackers), which was a calculated move by the designers and carriers to ensure that top dollar had to be paid for exclusive, cutting edge designs. Even where technology of cellphones far outpaced what we are used to in the states–in countries such as Japan and Korea, for example–the ability to improve the device you’ve been using to call your friends, take pictures, browse the web and listen to music remained elusive.
The Google Android concept appears to be a step in the completely opposite direction. In a world where openness, compatibility, usability and connectivity are the keys to a products success, the Google Android concept makes a lot of sense. If there is such a high demand to hack the iPhone, after all, isn’t it inevitable that it will eventually happen? If it will eventually happen, doesn’t it make sense to be among the first people on board? Google’s answer is, “Absolutely yes!”
And, in all honesty, what better company to rethink making money in the cellphone industry than the company that showed how powerful and profitable search engines could be as a marketing medium? In an open source world, the money isn’t in the product, the plan or the presentation; it’s in the advertising. All other elements should be honed and perfected by the people, and as the web becomes more and more easy to use while on-the-go, the volume of potential consumers to advertise to should inherently become larger and larger.
A college buddy of mine once pointed out the genius of Pizza Hut to me:
Just when you thought there were no more places to put cheese, Pizza Hut comes up with Stuffed Crust Pizza. For centuries, people loved the cheese, but couldn’t think beyond “extra cheese” when it came to adding more. That’s why the guys behind the Stuffed Crust Pizza were so brilliant.
Something about the way that Google looked at the cellphone and decided to completely rethink it reminded me of my pizza-loving friend in college. How could Google, which had already seemingly perfected search, possibly improve it? By finding a new place for it. But not only did they know where to put it, they’re trying to pioneer the medium by which to do it.
Now, I’m not saying that the Google Android will necessarily revolutionize the way we use our phones or the mobile Internet, however, much like the Stuffed Crust Pizza–whether you love it or hate it–you’ve got to respect the guys who thought to themselves, “You know what? There’s got to be another place that we can put some more cheese!”