Will the Adult Industry Drive Android Adoption?

Summary:The Adult Entertainment industry drove the adoption of DVD and the streaming media technologies that everyone now enjoys and takes for granted on the Internet. Will pioneering in mobile porn also accelerate adoption of Google's Android mobile OS?

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The Adult Entertainment industry drove the adoption of DVD and the streaming media technologies that everyone now enjoys and takes for granted on the Internet. Will pioneering in mobile porn also accelerate adoption of Google's Android mobile OS?

Back in September of 2008 I said that Android's strength had nothing to do with the OS's innate "sexiness", in that it didn't need to have the iPhone's sex appeal in order for it to succeed. But maybe I was wrong. Maybe what it needs to truly take off is sex, period.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

Early last week, startup MiKandi launched a 3rd-party app store for Android phones which will allow any developer to sell adult-oriented content for the Google Android platform, which includes devices such as the Verizon/Motorola DROID, the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G and the Samsung Moment/HTC Hero on Sprint.

So far, there isn't much in terms of raciness to look at on MiKandi. The app store has only just been released for 3rd-parties to "plug in", so to speak. As of today, it only has a single demo app, Dildroid, which controls the intensity of an Android device's vibrator function.

What's important here, however, is not what applications MiKandi offers now but what it promises for the future, which is the ability for there to be MANY independent app stores for Android phones, which could be targeted towards different industries and audiences.

What's to stop Mikandi from using their same app store platform that they might use to distribute porn for say, religious material? Or sports-oriented content? Or cooking and restaurant related material? Or for scientific and academic purposes? Or ebooks?

The prospects for expanding into diversified markets on Android are larger than on any other mobile platform available today, because "censoring" or rigorous and controlled app approval processes tied to a single vendor -- such as those that exist on the iPhone -- do not exist on the Android platform. And they probably never will.

Sure, it's possible and perhaps even inevitable that eventually Google's own Android Market may decide for the sake of quality control to start evaluating applications, and might want to keep Adult material off its own app store, which ships by default with every device. Which is perfectly understandable, since even kids are getting smartphones now.

It might even make sense to embed parental controls or a system policy (like those that can be deployed on BlackBerry) which would allow the user or organization to prevent certain types of "rated" content or apps from being installed on the device or block third party app stores from being installed on the unit. If I were a corporation and were rolling the device out to thousands of employees, I wouldn't want them looking at porn on company time. It would also make sense to create some sort of open standard which allows Android apps to be tagged or rated which flags them as adult material.

However, because Android is an open system and allows the ability for 3rd-party app installation (a feature that currently you have to turn on in the system Settings to enable) there's nothing to stop premium Adult content providers, such as Playboy, Penthouse and Vivid from working with companies like MiKandi to provide quality produced erotica for mobile.

It's also entirely possible that these companies and others could also license Mikandi's platform (or someone else's) to launch app stores of their own so they can control the quality or flavor of what they produce.  I can certainly see the emergence of gay and lesbian-oriented app stores, or even fetish-specialized, which are targeted towards specific audiences and tastes.

The freedoms of choice with Android would be unlimited. Want to see attractive Asian (or Russian) women (or men) dress up as nurses (or lumberjacks) and engaging in a specific act? Tagging features and "channels" will allow you to select from thousands of apps  to find exactly what you want. The very same tagging technology could be used for purposes OTHER than pornography, but it will be porn that drives the technology and the apps to the maturity level needed to do everything else that every regular Android consumer needs.

What I see occurring with Android is not unlike how other technologies were advanced by the adult industry, such as VHS tapes, DVD video, and streaming Internet multimedia and content distribution. It can be argued that NONE of these technologies would have been so heavily adopted if it wasn't for the Adult film and content industry embracing their openness, a quality that is shared by Android and its ability to run 3rd-party content without restriction. The YouTube clips and Vimeos that you enjoy of your pets and kids doing cute and completely innocent things? You've got porn to thank for it.

Will porn help Android mature as a mobile content and application delivery platform? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

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Topics: Mobile OS, Android, Google, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet is a technologist with over two decades of experience with integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer... Full Bio

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