Welcome Back To The Future

Gizmodo: The Google Phone could be a ploy to upset the wireless industry, or it could be an expensive niche device. Either way, it’d be a bid to take Android back from the companies that seem hell-bent on destroying it. Android’s most serious problem right now is fragmentation: with each new phone, it seems, comes a different version of the OS. In theory, these differences are superficial, and come down to handset manufacturers’ and carriers’ custom interfaces, which sit atop a mostly unchanged Android core. In practice, it’s much worse.

Welcome to the troubling world of Windows Mobile.

Honestly, the only phone to have avoided OEM and US carrier meddling is the iPhone and that’s because Apple selected one carrier and one hardware vendor that they could “bully” into doing the Right Thing. If you want to support more than one carrier and/or OEM, you are forced to make nice-nice with the carriers and OEM at the same time. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s US carriers only cared about air time charges; anything that was data related was put in a box and shunned. After that, the same carriers felt that they had to include software (or own virtual machine in the case of Java) for their users and put their own branding on things; this added delay to every release and destabilized the handset. All the while, the OEM’s rested on their initial victories and didn’t work to innovate on their hardware.

It was this way with the Pocket PC Phone Edition, BREW, J2ME, Windows Mobile, and most recently the Windows Phone… and it looks like history will repeat itself again with Android.


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