Doubleplus ungood! Big Brother's designs on mobile

The carriers announced their visions at CTIA and Mobile World Congress -- here's how to interpret their real goals

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Android is getting real momentum
The carriers and device makers are used to delivering new, regular cell phone models every few months, but these devices are as much as about fashion and attention-seeking as anything else. That creates the myth that mobile is fast-moving market. It is for cell phones, but not for smartphones and the data-oriented devices that people are really excited about.

So all the announcements at Mobile World Congress and CTIA about device makers' plans to roll out Android devices this year is meaningful. It's been 18 months since the first Android device (the HTC G1) hit the market, and already most major device makers not wed to their own platform (that is, Apple, Nokia, Palm, and RIM) have announced Android devices, as have all the major U.S. carriers.

Microsoft also managed -- though over many more years -- to get that kind of adoption for its mobile platform, Windows Mobile. But it let the platform stagnate and has seen its user base dwindle. Android is essentially replacing Windows Mobile as the major platform that all the carriers and Asian device makers are betting on.

Windows Phone 7 may resurrect Microsoft in mobile -- although it won't be out for six to nine months, the slow pace of mobile means it's not too late -- but Android is now the "establishment" platform.

Where's the Big Brother ungood here? There may not be any. In fact, it could be doubleplus good, as Apple gets a much-needed challenger to the iPhone as the BlackBerry continues its slide into messaging-only irrelevance, as Palm's capable WebOS continues to gain carrier signups but few customers, as Nokia continues to screw around with five-year plans, and as we wait to see if Microsoft stages a comeback in mobile. Doubleplus interesting!

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This article, "Doubleplus ungood! Big Brother's designs on mobile," was originally published at Read more of Gruman et al.'s Mobile Edge blog and follow the latest developments in mobile computing at

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