Why Android and the OHA matter

Today, the Open Handset Alliance and the Android open mobile platform were announced. This was the big “Google” announcement that many had been anxiously awaiting.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that Sprint Nextel is a member of the OHA and pushing hard to quickly bring Android-based handsets to market. Sprint has always been focused on innovation and has a long history of enjoying the benefits of openly partnering to enable the creation of new value for customers.

As John Garcia, Sprint’s SVP of Product Development said in Sprint’s press release: “Sprint realizes that to grow the mobile marketplace and fully exploit the amazing potential of mobile communications, we have to empower rather than restrict wireless users.? And the best way to do this is to create an environment that encourages the development of innovative products and services that customers can’t live without. Android will be just such an environment, and Sprint is yet again at the forefront in mobile innovation.”

The best example of this is the success that Nextel was able to achieve in the business wireless?market. In large part this success was driven by our open platform and support of developers. Nextel became the preferred carrier for developers of business applications on mobile handsets. Developers enjoyed the simplicity of having a single handset environment (Motorola phones) to deal with. Developers also were attracted by Nextel opening up the capabilities of the phone, including location, to developers and very actively recruiting developers to their platform.

The resulting broad portfolio of business applications contributed to Nextel’s clear leadership in business wireless market share. Customers using software on their handsets to do their job used their phones more for talking too, resulting in higher monthly revenues. Naturally, since these customers couldn’t get the same productivity benefits from other carriers, they also stayed loyal to Nextel, resulting in significantly lower churn.

After the merger between Sprint and Nextel, developer support became much more complex. The broad array of handset vendors supported by both carriers, and the different approaches to supporting location data made it much more challenging to provide the same benefits to developers. Although the combined company has been able to hold onto its leading position with developers and business customers, we’ve longed for the opportunity to regain the simplicity that a single standard approach provided.

In fact, as we had the opportunity to start from scratch with our 4th generation network, we’ve built it from the ground up – the network architecture, the systems, and the business model – to strongly support 3rd party developers. Our faith in the benefits that come from innovation spring from our rich heritage.

And now today, with the creation of the OHA and our participation in it, we see a tremendous opportunity to unleash the kind of broad innovation that can lead to previously unimagined value creation for businesses and consumers, and previously unimagined growth in the mobile industry.

I believe it is very appropriate to draw comparisons to the PC revolution and the Internet revolution, as I do in The Power of Mobility.

Consider all the innovations that occurred and the explosive growth that happened in the computer industry – well beyond what IBM, Microsoft, and Intel could possibly have imagined when they introduced a standard with mass market appeal and to which developers could confidently develop.

Consider all the innovations that occurred and the explosive growth that happened – well beyond what Marc Andreeson and Tim Berners-Lee could possibly have imagined when they introduced standards with mass market appeal and to which developers could confidently develop. I specifically remember the first Internet business plan I wrote in 1994, how the growth of the Internet market that we predicted at that time was called foolishly optimistic by many, but which today would be recognized as laughably understated.

Therefore, I am unashamedly excited about the OHA and Sprint’s participation in it. I can’t wait to see the innovative ideas, products, services, businesses, and even new industries that will be launched now that developers have a standard to which they can confidently develop.

Welcome to the Revolution!

2 Responses to “Why Android and the OHA matter”

  1. […] panel also discussed (at length) the “open” topic.? This took many flavors, from whether Google’s Android matters to whether mobile applications are “dead.”? My summary opinions on this broad topic […]

  2. […] (Here were my thoughts on the announcement of the Open Handset Alliance and Android just over a year ago.) […]

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