WIRED article: Google’s Open Source Android Phone Will Free the Wireless Web

WIRED article: Google’s Open Source Android Phone Will Free the Wireless Web

Dan Roth of WIRED magazine interviewed me for this piece in the July issue. I talked to him after Google announced Android last year. Dan does an in-depth piece on how Android came about and what it might mean for the mobile industry. It is a lengthy piece, here is the link to the complete article.

Some excerpts:

“Is this interesting to Google?” That’s what Andy Rubin was asking Larry Page. It was a spring day in 2005, and the two were in a conference room just off the main lobby at Google’s headquarters. A simple yes and Rubin would have walked away happy.

“You have a significant challenge in mobile, in that the screens are much smaller, so you can’t display nearly as much advertising or take as much space,” Google cofounder Sergey Brin told Wall Street analysts on a recent conference call. “On the other hand, you have much more relevant and timely information, like what location the person might be in, so on balance that leaves me quite optimistic.”

Telecom consultant Chetan Sharma says that Android’s success depends on Google’s willingness to share the wealth. “What’s the relationship going to be between Google and the carriers in terms of advertising dollars?” he asks. “That needs to be nailed down before we know how big Android can be.”

And if they don’t? Not much downside. If the only thing Android achieves — as Page knew before Rubin walked into Google three years ago — is getting more people to spend more time online, then Google still profits. More users mean more people viewing pages with Google ads. If they’re doing that from an Android phone, great. If not, but they’re on a phone made more Web-friendly thanks to competitive pressure from Google, that’s also fine. “I hope it’s Android,” Page says. But either way, Google wins.