Google: does Android make sense?

Are we impressed with Google’s Android announcement?

The search engine company has steadily been chipping away at Microsoft, offering a free word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and email. It has made breakthroughs in publically accessible web services like Google Map, making MS simply play catch-up.

Now it wants to build an operating system and software stack for mobile phones. Is this sensible? After all, there’s the well-established Symbian OS, Linux and Java for mobile devices.

I’m starting to learn to live with Microsoft’s own Windows Mobile 6.0. Forget the applets built into the phone. There are a growing number of quite useful applications that are beginning to make my XDA Orbit close to being an essential electronic companion (and I don’t even use the calendar).

What worries me about Google is that, up until now, it has been OS agnostic. Google Apps run in a browser. That’s the power of Google. As far as I can see, Android breaks Google’s OS independence.

I’m not a big fan of mobile content. Google’s own mobile search is pretty poor and GoogleMail is barely usable via a mobile phone screen.

Google could learn something from MS, which has spent years developing and promoting the various guises of its Windows smartphone OS – yet the devices that use it are not exactly mainstream, in terms of usability. It is very hard to make a mobile device truly compelling.

What’s more, Apple’s iPhone hs arrived and that changes everything.

We don’t need another mobile phone OS. Just make the existing ones more robust, usable and provide truly compelling mobile applications.