This week, InformationWeek asked a very good question, namely how important is open source to mobile devices? This is something worth considering as Google Android is based on the Linux operating system, which is still the de facto standard in everyone’s minds when it comes to open source on PCs.
But as InformationWeek reminds readers, consumers like to have applications they know and trust and these include Microsoft Office, Photoshop and iTunes. The trade magazine even makes a very valid point that users aren’t really so much using Windows (whether it be Windows XP, Vista or 7) as they are running the applications. Windows users run Windows because the applications run on Windows.
So my take is that Google Android could change the mobile app playing field, first because apps for mobile phones don’t require the huge investment in time and money to create as applications for the desktop do. And it is also worth considering that so-called open source alternatives to mainstream products do run on Windows (and even the Mac), but these are the ones created by giant companies such as Google. So that is hardly opening up the source to the little guy.
But with mobile, the little guy—and open source—has a chance because there really isn’t one all dominating mobile operating system. In fact, many users might not even know which one is on their phones. So the final question is whether the big guys will try to dominate the apps market?
Google Maps Navigation Could Change the GPS Market
It isn’t just the open source market that Google could change either. Next week’s launch of the Motorola Droid, the first handset to run Android 2.0, will ship with Google Maps Navigation, a mobile GPS app that offers 3D views, automatic rerouting and of course turn-by-turn directions.
It will feature Google’s own street and 3D satellite views, giving it a major leg up on the competition. It will also offer voice search, real-time traffic searches and proximity searches to boot.
And considering that TomTom’s GPS programs for the iPhone, which was released this past August, is selling for nearly $100, it isn’t hard to see how Google could cause many users to take a major detour. Given that the location-based services market (LBS) will be somewhere around $713 million in revenue this year, up from $327 million, according to Gartner, there is a lot at stake. And factor in that more Android-powered devices are set to land, including the HTC Hero, Samsung Moment and Samsung Behold II, the location-based service and GPS market could really take off in new directions.
After Hour Mobile Apps of the Week:
Black Gives Way to Blue – This app from hard rockers Alice in Chains gives fans full songs from the bands new Virgin/EMI album, as well as music videos, news, photos, and social networking via Twitter and Facebook. Available now for download from the Apple App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, it is designed to let fans interact with each of the new album’s 11 track. As with other musical apps from recording artists, this one features full audio and video streaming of multiple songs (in this case three songs and two videos), and offers an inside peek with rare photos, tour dates and other must have material for the true Alice in Chains fans.
Fortress Luna – This gaming app from Primus Productions for the iPhone and iPod Touch challenges you to save the earth (and do so for less than a buck), as you must launch missiles from a secret base and shoot down thousands of asteroids that threaten to pummel the planet. This is a simple, yet active game that features gameplay that is both retro-familiar yet offers nearly endless re-playability. Fortress Luna is available now from the Apple App Store for $.99.