Monday, May 5, 2008

To Google: please make your Android strategy win-win, not win-lose.

To Google - Dan Morill, Rick Miner, Google Android Advocates and Brin(?) - please make your Android strategy win-win, not win-lose.

In the history of software, no company has had 1788 applications for its pre-alpha platform in such a short time. This was propelled, largely by the work of the Android developer community.

Please recognize that most of the 1788 entrants (including myself) did so at personal and family sacrifice. Most of us were not paid a salary to do this. Any hopes of competing and winning will now be tempered by the results and a realization of the intense competition and the long odds.

Only one person can hope to win a prize in a contest, but this was different from other contests in two striking ways.

  1. if this were a desktop contest, we could be turning our apps into business startups right now. With Android, it will likely be 2 years before the common man on the street can afford an Android phone at sub $100 prices (per the Wireless week article).
  2. if this were an Ajax/Flash/J2EE contest, we could be picked up by a good number of local employers, who already use such skills. Contrast this to Android...
In other words, for Android, the payback for most of us, is not clear. It is win-lose.

Suppose there were no applications for Android except the usual boring suite of Google Maps, Mail, Search etc. Then Google would have to hire developers or outsource development to companies to create new mobile applications, or buy up mobile companies. It would have been very expensive for Google. At a minimum, would have cost hundreds of millions of dollars; instead, it is now a free win for them.

For Google, it is currently Win-Win for:

/........ \
OHA - Consumer

The Android developer is not in this picture. If they feel that they are being used and
exploited, then they will walk away. Sure, Android can still win, but it will be costly and

So please modify your triangle into a square and make it win-win for all of us.

Google - developers
| .............. |
OHA - Consumer

A few ways:

1) Allow hosting of projects with an Android component at, even if they are
closed source. Presently only open source is allowed.

2) Marketing. Free use of Google Adwords for our android applications for (say) six months.

3) Subsidize handsets to the developer community. They should be at the same price as a
mid-level GSM handset. e.g. $50.


wrapware said...

Your stratagy looks like an fair approach.

One step back:
When reading the judging process at it seems that some promising applications are going under in noise with the way: 'Instead, we took the highest and lowest scores in each category and gave them [ALL] half weight.'

I thought google was looking for some
new stuff (

"An app that introduces an entirely new angle on social networking, for example, would likely do better here than one that simply ports an existing mobile application to Android without adding anything new. "

When I compare for instance my 'Energy Grain Compass' app ([is an android app]...that allow users to share information on how they can reduce their carbon footprint.. with Eric Chu words) with some good ports in the winning list, hey where is the brain for the special provisions given by the Judging Criteria's ?

However, time goes on and I think the 4 months of android contest development were not for the trash.

Life is not running inside an cpu:)

Anil Philip said...

Hi wrapware,
I like your comment, "Life is not running inside an cpu:)".