Results: By all accounts, Android has been a big hit so far. The number of Android-based devices grew at a rapid clip during the fourth quarter of 2009 and Android phones now account for just over 7 percent of all smartphones sold in the United States.As for the Nexus One, we aren't likely to see its full impact until it makes its debut on the Verizon network sometime this spring. However, just because both T-Mobile and Verizon will be supporting the Nexus One, don't think that you can merely cancel your subscription to one of the carriers and bring your device onto another network. Since Verizon uses the CDMA-based EV-DO Rev. A 3G technology and T-Mobile uses the GSM-based HSPA 4G technology, Google has had to design two different Nexus One devices that will be compatible with each network. So basically, don't set your sights on carrier-hopping until Google comes out with a 4G phone that can run on LTE, the GSM-based 4G technology that has been adopted by T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon.
Initiative #3: The experimental broadband network
This could be Google's most audacious project to date, as the company announced last month on its blog that is constructing an experimental fiber network that it says will "deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections."
To be clear, this project is unlikely to threaten the big ISPs' bottom lines since Google says it plans to only offer access to the network in "a small number of trial locations" and that it will serve anywhere from 50,000 to 500,000 people. But much like its efforts with Android and the Nexus One, Google's plan to deploy a high-speed fiber network is less about competing directly with incumbent companies and more about pushing incumbent companies to change how they operate.
Or put another way, Google is trying pressure carriers to step up their games and hasten their plans to build out more high-speed networks. With typical broadband speeds lagging behind those in countries such as South Korea and Japan, Google is seemingly trying to give U.S. carriers a kick in the pants by saying, "If we can build a network this fast that serves large numbers of people, so can you." And what's more, the Google network will be open access, meaning third-party service providers will be able to use it to deliver Internet to their customers. In this way, Google is trying to bring back discarded common carrier rules by showing that it's possible to have a strong and successful fiber network that third-party service providers can use to wholesale access to subscribers.
Results: The limited scope of the network means that it could easily be brushed off as an interesting novelty that would make an unrealistic model for a nationwide high-speed fiber network. Even so, the mere fact that the Google brand is behind the new network – and the fact that Google's other telecom initiatives have had a good level of success so far – means that the network's development and implementation will garner plenty of industry attention.
Read more about lans and wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.