Live-blogging is everywhere and fan-sites are filled with predictions and prognostications because, as I write this, the so-called ‘Google phone’ is finally being revealed in a US conference alongside T-Mobile.
Given that this is Google, there is much excitement that this first release on the Android platform could be a game-changing new phenomenon that overturns the BlackBerry and iPhone, never mind Symbian and Windows Mobile devices. Competition is always welcome, of course, but frankly, the last thing that businesses need is another handset.
An IBM blueprint, standardised I/O bus and subsystems, Intel x86 processors and Microsoft Windows came together to create the Wintel platform that meant a PC is a PC is a PC. In phones, they’re only just getting around to using the same charger. You can have big ones, small ones, clever ones and dumb ones but the idea of a phone design standing still is anathema in the go-go (and sod the buyer) mobile world where designs are so bleeding edge a badly engineered enclosure might slash your ear, and bugs are ten a penny.
The desire for reliability, consistency and familiarity remains largely unfulfilled and now we have an open-source stack from a new provider. Great fun if you’re after the new stuff, but another blow to fleet buyers already having to satisfy the egos of executives by providing top-end models to a lucky few, and screwing up holistic device management in the process.
It’s not Google’s fault that it’s still the Wild West in business mobiles but if firms really do see handsets as being strategic they need to begin to standardise, provision and manage in the same way they did with PCs, and not flip over the latest gewgaw to land from R&D.