Android roundup: Google's web-wide plan, Ericsson to join OHA?, and more

The hype is continuing to build as Android’s launch looms next month. Here’s the latest:

Google wants there to be more internet on more devices — Google’s strategy is becoming clearer as more details emerge. The single best way to reach mobile users today is by serving them on the web, not by trying to access the phone’s deck, which is owned by closed and sometimes jealous carriers. So, through “the 1-2-3 combination of Android, Chrome, and Gears,” Google is sending a message to developers is its platform is a way to do that. Mobile-focused blogger David Berlind describes this in a clearly written article.

I usually see mobile companies developing/testing their apps for a combination of 70-500 platforms/handsets that run rival operating system platforms, such as Windows Mobile, Symbian or the iPhone SDK. Google’s efforts will reduce that to one. The developers can simply write an application that works in a browser — a browser that can work on any phone. One conclusion Berlind makes: Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and the Symbian Foundation are losing. I agree with the direction of the article, and I’ve drawn the following diagram to help explain it.

The “lower level” elements of the mobile architecture (well, in my diagram, they are actually at the top: Linux kernel, libraries, runtime and applications framework) have a tremendous affect on price and performance, as we’ve noted before. With the adoption of the Android ecosystem, we will see companies using differing elements of that ecosystem for applications development. Regarding Berlind’s “1-2-3 combination” observation, I’d articulate the combination somewhat differently: I see a 1-2-3 combination of SDK, Webkit and Gears/Chrome. But that’s only semantics. The combination offers developers a variety of possibilities to engage with the Android ecosystem.

First Android phone will have the Google brand on it
— The official name of the product is “G1,” not its pre-launch moniker “Dream” — we kind of suggested as much, but the Wall Street Journal has more.

LG, Samsung, Motorola — and now Sony Ericsson — to have Android phones — Or so a Forbes interview with Open Handset Alliance member PacketVideo’s Joel Espelien suggests. Sony Ericsson has not yet signed on to the OHA, the consortium of mobile industry companies that Google has built around Android. It is one of the largest handset manufacturers in the world, so the addition could help Android reach more users. Meanwhile, here’s a rumor from us. We’ve heard that Sony Ericsson will not solely tie its Xperia phones to Windows Mobile and is considering “other options” (read: Android).

Shopping information app Big in Japan wins Android Challenge — MG Siegler has a closer look.

As PC makers enter the handheld market, which operating platform will they choose?
— Acer chief executive Gianfranco Lanci recently told German magazine Capital Investor that his company wants to come out with its own smartphone, “similar to the iPhone,” at the beginning of 2009. With that move Acer mimicks competing PC manufacturer Asus. Dell, meanwhile, had been rumored to be moving into this area for a while, but recently said it’s not planning to produce smartphones “in the near term.” Acer’s first step? Acer will be selling “Mini-PCs” with T-Mobile data plans in European T-Mobile stores this Christmas. It seems to us that many industry leaders like Android’s “cake” of customizable software layers.

Eric Eldon contributed to this roundup

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