The Googlefication of the mobile industry will begin a bit later than expected.
When the search giant announced its Android mobile platform last November, it said devices running it would arrive at market by the second half of this year. Well, turns out that deadline was a bit aggressive. Android-based handsets may not be available until the fourth quarter of this year–if Google’s (GOOG) lucky. Because some handset manufacturers are “struggling” to meet even that extended deadline. And at least a few wireless carriers have abandoned plans to launch Android-based handsets this year entirely.
Apparently, a multinational consortium of companies working to develop an open mobile platform–while a wonderful idea in theory–is, in practice, a pain in the ass. Software providers are finding it difficult to develop programs on a platform still going through revisions. Handset manufacturers are having a tough time integrating that software into their devices. And wireless carriers are finding that customizing Android to promote their Internet services isn’t as easy as they’d hoped. “This is where the pain happens,” Andy Rubin, director of mobile platforms at Google, said of this particular phase of development. “We are very, very close.”
Sadly for the Google, the pain to which Rubin refers seems decidedly Android-specific. Developers building applications for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 3G, which will launch in early July, seem to be having an easy time of it. So much so that some are prioritizing iPhone apps over their Android counterparts–at least until Android development is painless.