The first Android-powered phone isn't the only big news on the mobile front this week. Applications for the Android operating system are already making their way to market.
On Thursday, Visa announced plans to make mobile payment-related services for the Android platform, while PacketVideo stepped out on Wednesday with news that it would launch CORE, a multimedia application framework that powers more than 260 million devices worldwide, for Android.
Meanwhile, Namco launched PacMan for the Android operating system. Glu Mobile announced that Bonsai Blast, an all-new action-puzzle game, will launch on Android. And
Big in Japan announced ShopSavvy, an application designed to help people do comparative shopping via the Android Market.
"There's money to be made in the Android marketplace," said Bill Ho, an analyst at Current Analysis. "Developers, while they are intellectually stimulated by programming, at end of the day they are going into this to make money. So what we see is an ecosystem that's been built for this."
Getting Ready for the Mobile Web
While developers are gearing up for mobile apps, others are exhorting companies to get their Web sites ready for mobile handset viewing. Most businesses have yet to investigate whether their Web site is accessible to handheld users, according to an M:Metrics survey.
But 85 percent of iPhone users access the Web for information and are 10 times more likely to search the mobile Web than cell-phone owners. Mobile technology experts say that the release of the Google Android-powered T-Mobile G1 phone made by HTC signals an acceleration of the trend.
"What we've seen with the BlackBerry and the iPhone is a shift away from cell phones to smartphones, and the G1 is going to further spur that shift," said Chuck Sacco, CEO of mobile-technology company PhindMe.net. "With Google's Android technology also available to other cell-phone manufacturers who want to develop smartphones, we anticipate a spike in the number of people using handhelds for the kind of online information they used to access while tethered to the home or office computer."
Is the G1 an iPhone-Killer?
The G1 is merely the first Android-powered device. Google plans to make Android ubiquitous, which means other handset makers, including LG, Samsung and Motorola, as well as other wireless carriers like Sprint will be vying to be second to market. All are members of the Open Handset Alliance.
For now, the G1 is the closest handset to the iPhone.
"The iPhone is the bar, but from the swiping and the finger motions, this one is the closest to the iPhone," Ho said. "It's no iPhone-killer in terms of design or elegance of use. But this comes very close, and it's probably the first of many models that will be improved upon. People who currently have service with other carriers and are looking for a new opportunity will explore the G1 because T-Mobile is still a value carrier."
Image credit: Product shots by Google.