There is no such thing as a Gphone

Introducing the Android Open Platform for Mobile Devices

Android is the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. It includes an operating system, user-interface and applications — all of the software to run a mobile phone, but without the proprietary obstacles that have hindered mobile innovation. We have developed Android in cooperation with the Open Handset Alliance, which consists of more than 30 technology and mobile leaders including Motorola, Qualcomm, HTC and T-Mobile. Through deep partnerships with carriers, device manufacturers, developers, and others, we hope to enable an open ecosystem for the mobile world by creating a standard, open mobile software platform. We think the result will ultimately be a better and faster pace for innovation that will give mobile customers unforeseen applications and capabilities. Via: Google Blog

Together with Open Social , Google has cleverly moved their game onto a very strategic level. Rather than working and getting the nuts and bolts of an interface or “end product” (ie the Debunked Gphone) to work, they focused on creating a system and moved into owning an infrastructure. They let the other people down the food chain (ie the Social Network sites) worry with the consumers.
In the bygone era, Infrastructure used to be Water, Power, Telecommunications, Sewerage etc (kidding), but on the Internet Google has defined their own. The amazing thing is Google can do this only because their business model and revenue stream comes from a different place. I don’t think any other company would be able to create Open Social or Open Hand Set Alliance if they needed it to make money. The business environment is changing and traditional business practices need to be re-invented. What can we learn as Designers? Try to get as high up the food chain as possible.
Check out the Andriod at the Open Handset Alliance.

9 Comments
  • drew kora

    November 15, 2007 at 2:08 am

    This is really awesome and has to happen. I’m in the market right now for a new cell phone and it’s really really annoying comparing the features and things…and doing so within the confines of your carrier. Technology like this would even the playing field, I would hope.

  • csven

    November 16, 2007 at 1:23 am

    “In the bygone era, Infrastructure used to be Water, Power, Telecommunications, Sewerage etc (kidding), but on the Internet Google has defined their own”
    Have they really?
    You’ve heard stories that Google is laying it’s own pipe between North America and Asia, yes? And their interest in purchasing access to a big chunk of the UHF spectrum in the U.S. Those are backbone infrastructure and the UHF thing seems particularly tied into their gPhone/Open Handset play.
    Thoughts?
    And btw, I see parallel between those and where fabrication is headed. “Grey goo” comes from *something*.

  • Susan

    November 17, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Yeah, but I *wish* there was a such a thing as a Google Phone. Maybe they’d make it less ‘smudgy’

  • DT

    November 17, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    @csven, Perhaps. While I have not heard of these stories, I would not be surprised. Right now Google makes money running off other people’s infrastructure (fibre optic networks, undersea cables, etc) and a big risk to their business plan if someone like say China decided that their content was unacceptable. Hey that happened! So the reality of it is, if they want their backbone secure they must come back to reality.
    If you also recall that has been what I have been saying about people playing in the virtual coming back into real. Perhaps 20 years in the future it would be different, but people wanting authentic experiences, and the disconnect between real and vitrual, is still a strong motivator to come back to real or a strong barrier for virtual worlds coming into the mainstream.

  • DT

    November 17, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Susan,
    I myself am not so sure. I am worried that I will have to either listen to an ad every time I make a call, or have to deal with text ads when I navigate my phones menu!
    This is something I not quire ready to do.

  • csven

    November 18, 2007 at 7:38 am

    I’m surprised you were unaware of Google’s efforts as they’ve been much-discussed (Link to references). And yes, I’m fully aware of the risks you mention. That too has been discussed, both as part of Google’s efforts and as part of the larger “net neutrality” issue.
    Only thing, you didn’t answer my question. Have they defined their own “infrastructure” as you’re claiming? And if so, what is it? You’re now saying, “Google makes money running off other people

  • DT

    November 22, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Yes sven don’t forget we always agree to disagree, and I like how we are polite about it.
    Ok to answer your question, to me infrastructure is a back bone of something. Via Dictionary.com

    1. the basic, underlying framework or features of a system or organization.
    2. the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, city, or area, as transportation and communication systems, power plants, and schools.
    3. the military installations of a country.

    So Google’s Open social and Open handset are all about creating an infrastructure. Both creates a common programming language (the ones and zeros of any webpage), so that it is standardized for all to use and follow. While it is standard markup, the pulled it together and gave it meaning. It just like all unleaded fuel variations or electricity type are essentially the same.
    Now with my other point about leveraging other people’s infrastructure to make money, Google makes money via advertising. The Adsense drops into people’s website like mine. They do not, own the webpage code of my site, own the server space which I pay for, nor do they own the optic cables the web runs on. In return the pay me a “percent” for what ever ad that gets clicked on, and nothing if it is not clicked. So in my mind that is making money out of other people’s infrastructure.
    Hence, while I missed, Google’s play for physical infrastructure, I am not surprised, as this seems to be as a weak point in their business plan, if you extrapolate my Adsense example above it is a logical move by a business with that much money.
    I still hold my position on Authentic Experiences, but I agree with you experiences are by nature intangiable, and yes virtual suicide, virtual marriage and relationships are very real. I am not discounting them.
    The main issue I think is where we are at at this point in time. You perhaps reside on a level further down the evolution track. To me at this point in time and not in the near future, Authentic Experiences will still rule, as they can only be created by real experiences such as sky diving, rock climbing or space flight. Only until a virtual environment can replicate these experiences 100%, btw I know it will be able to eventually, will virtual worlds shift into the mainstream.
    But I think we are getting off track here on the topic of Google’s infrastructure so I wont say anymore. Perhaps if you like we can continue via email.

  • csven

    November 23, 2007 at 12:25 am

    You’re missing my point. The “basic, underlying framework” is *not* the Internet, but the hardware which connects it. Without that hardware, Open Social and Open Handset wouldn’t even exist… because the Internet wouldn’t exist.
    Thus, your claim –

  • DT

    November 23, 2007 at 8:40 am

    Hi csven,
    I sense you are getting a little overly nit-picky here. I have already conceded in my previous comments that as it is a weak point in their business plan, hence I am not surprised that Google is investing in real infrastructure. I’ll even say that it is a good idea.
    Perhaps my examples are not the best, but it looks like we are really speaking of the same thing here and I think my readers get the point.
    Blog comments are meant to evolve the discussion from the post I originally made, and no point trying to use it to contradict original comments from the post. They will be, especially if I am conceding a point.
    Finally this is getting off topic therefore I am closing comments. No hard feelings I hope, and your comments are always welcomed.