Android Saves

In hindsight all roads are clear, all mistakes can be seen before they are made; and all it is because we are looking at an event AFTER it happened.

Right now there are rumors Palm and Kodak will have phones on hand for the Consumer Electronic Show, CES. Both are likely to be devices running Android and perhaps a specialized skin (user interface layer) to brand the experience. Neither Kodak or Palm exist in a way where their name being on a product will bring anything special to make them stand out. The Palm phone is being made by French manufacturer Alcatel One Touch. Kodak has now moved to backend technologies and licensing its name for use on products. The companies join Nokia (Microsoft only part the hardware group) in making device plays using Android.

Nokia at least helped in designing the app launcher and the look of the tablet (Foxconn will be doing the rest).

“Go Android”

This is a phrase often used as sage advice to anyone wanting to get into mobile. It makes sense in a way because Android is the largest mobile platform by far. It outpaces iOS and is the 21st century equivalent to Windows. It has a matching app catalogue to Apple’s iOS is open enough to where a company can skin the beast to make it look and act any way they want. In the last few years it is the advice many a pundit has given Microsoft. Go Android, offer Microsoft services on top of it and everything will be golden.

The Android Panacea

I don’t know any more, maybe just going Android is what everybody should do; move with the tide. Slap your name on the ass of a device and watch the money roll in. Fork the green robot, paint it blue and go attract developers. It did not work for Blackberry, but it sort of worked for Amazon. It raised the fortunes of HTC until Samsung; and before both was Motorola. Android scales, unless we are talking tablets or laptop devices (then it becomes tricky or it uses ChromeOS).

I have nothing against Android it is a solid platform, but it is not a cure all.

Forking Android, skinning the OS and selling under your brand is no guarantee of success. It is not a guarantee the developers will come any faster or be any more committed to updating apps. Adopting it to sit alongside native development kills native; ask Blackberry. It gives you the ability to have apps but not every app and not overnight; ask Amazon but really ask Barnes and Noble.

If you can live on the thin margins and can build up a little brand strength than go ahead, go Android. But if you building a platform and go Android know that what you’ll have one day is another app launcher and the Google Play store is full of them.

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