Google joins the Microsoft and Apple fraternity of delayed OS vendors

Google joins the Microsoft and Apple fraternity of delayed OS vendors

Summary: Google Android will be delayed until a fourth quarter launch with T-Mobile, and a 2009 arrival with other carriers. Now that it's in the software business, Google is facing the same kind of product delay pressures that dog Microsoft, Apple, and other tech vendors.

SHARE:

It's official. Google is now a big time software developer. How can we tell? Its largest software development project ever -- the Google Android smartphone platform -- will officially be delayed.

When Google announced Android in November 2007, it said that Android-powered phones would be available by the second half of 2008. The second half of 2008 arrives next week and we have yet to see any real world Android phones. So the news was officially reported in The Wall Street Journal on Monday that Android was going to be delayed.

Google told the Journal that Android phones would arrive in the U.S in the fourth quarter, but the newspaper's sources indicated that it is likely to launch with only a single carrier, T-Mobile. The next launch will probably happen with Sprint and that will likely be delayed until 2009, with Verizon Wireless following Sprint later in 2009. AT&T is still evaluating whether or not it will offer Android phones.

Android is a software platform for mobile devices that will include:

  • An operating system (Linux-based and open source)
  • Middleware and an application framework (Java-based)
  • SDK and open APIs
  • Support for latest multimedia and graphics
  • GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G, and 4G support
  • Mobile applications

According to The Wall Street Journal article, the platform is having its share of growing pains:

Developers cite hassles of creating programs while Android is still being completed. One is Louis Gump, vice president of mobile for Weather Channel Interactive, which has built an Android-based mobile weather application. Overall, he says, he has been impressed by the Google software, which has enabled his company to build features such as the ability to look up the weather in a particular neighborhood. But he says Weather Channel has had to "rewrite a few things" so far, and Google's most recent revision of Android "is going to require some significant work," he says.

Google's Director of Mobile Platforms, Andy Rubin, blamed the Android delay on the natural process of software development and the give-and-take involved in allowing its hardware and carrier partners to lobby for changes and new features. "This is where the pain happens. We are very, very close," said Rubin.

Up until now, Google's products have often had a golden halo around them. Google doesn't typically pre-announce products the way Microsoft and Apple do. Instead, it usually launches products when it announces them and slaps on a "Beta" tag, which serves to deflect criticism because, after all, "it's still just a Beta release."

That's not possible with Android. You can't hide behind a "Beta" label on a smartphone. It has to be fully-baked, or else you have to delay it.

Topics: Apple, Android, Smartphones, Operating Systems, Mobility, Microsoft, Hardware, Google, CXO, IT Employment

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

21 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Up until now. Lets see some change

    Lets hope people start to hold Google's feet to the fire as they do everyone else's. The whole "beta" tag on their software actually sets the industry back, IMO

    If it becomes the "norm", how many other companies would start to release everything under Beta, just to throw unfinished software out on the market in an attempt to derail legit offerings from their competitors?.
    AllKnowingAllSeeing
    • Vista was an Alpha release

      It's not Google holding the industry back, it's Google finally making the bloatfarm actually try to achieve something other than an aborted attempt at globally enforced DRM ;-)
      fr0thy2
      • Nice try at the spin

        Google releases alot under the banner of "beta" so they can come back and throw that in the user's face when they have a complaint, or maybe even a loss of data or data breach.

        If you want to rally against "globally enforced DRM", go yell at Apple.

        It's sad that you'll excuse Apple and Google for doing exactlly the same thing that MS does, which you won't excuse.

        Look up the word "biased".
        AllKnowingAllSeeing
      • Such a twit...and irrelevant as usual...nt

        nt
        ItsTheBottomLine
  • RE: Google joins the Microsoft and Apple fraternity of delayed operating systems

    Google has been saying all year that T-Mobile is on-track to release an Android phone 4th quarter of '08. You might want to look up your facts first.
    infectiouslogic@...
    • ZDnet time

      "The second half of 2008 arrives next week and we have yet
      to see any real world Android phones"

      Yes and go all the way until the end of the year;-)
      Richard Flude
      • Not "in" the 2nd half, but "by" the 2nd half

        Google said that Android phones would be available BY the second half of 2008 (that is, by July 1).
        jasonhiner
        • Who said "in" and who said "by"?

          Here's an article from the Open Handset Alliance from 11/5/2007 (notice usage of the word "in"): "Consumers should expect the first phones based on Android to be available in the second half of 2008."

          http://www.openhandsetalliance.com/press_110507.html
          Etch44
  • RE: Google joins the Microsoft and Apple fraternity of delayed operating systems

    "If it becomes the "norm", how many other companies would start to release everything under Beta, just to throw unfinished software out on the market in an attempt to derail legit offerings from their competitors?."

    That's typical open source tactics. They don't wanna hire enough testers, and then they look out and say "Hey, we have an army of fanboys out there and they drink whatever kook aid we hand out so let's make them our testers FOR FREE." Smart buniness move nontheless.
    LBiege
    • As opposed to spending any testing budget on marketing and shareholders

      a la bloatfarm.
      fr0thy2
      • You're getting less and less comprehensible

        A testing program for shareholders? What's next, a "No
        Broker Left Behind" program?
        Marcos El Malo
        • Test your software. Sorry it wasn't simpler for you.

          ;-)
          fr0thy2
        • ROTFL

          [i]a "No Broker Left Behind" program[/i] :)
          AllKnowingAllSeeing
  • If they want to join the MS fraternity they will have to be 5 years late.

    NT.
    DonnieBoy
  • .

    [duplicate comment]
    jasonhiner
  • Better late than poor

    Whether it's technically "delayed" or not, they're much better off releasing good software later than poor software earlier.

    And you're right about the "beta" tag, gmail has been in beta for years, it's a simple way to avoid criticism.
    coffeeshark
  • The 2nd half of 2008 is 6 MONTHS LONG

    Come on people! the 2nd half of 2008 is 6 MONTHS LONG. nothing is delayed within that respect I don't believe GOOGLE ever said to expect Android by July 1st 2007; they still have 6 months. I agree with coffeeshark that it is better to release a stable product late then a broken one early. Let's all be patient and see what awesome stuff is in store for the mobile world by 2009
    silvercolt
  • RE: Google joins the Microsoft and Apple fraternity of delayed operating systems

    why is the headline of this message Nokia Buys Symbian shows google on right track? there is no mention of nokia in this article. As a writer you should know better. Thoroughly disappointed that the anchor line was misleading I expect more from Zdnet.
    anonymous
  • RE: Google joins the Microsoft and Apple fraternity of delayed operating systems

    Uhhh, Google said second half of 2008, not *by* second half of 2008. Directly from Google's website at http://code.google.com/android/adc.html :
    "Android Developer Challenge II: This contest will launch after the first handsets built on the platform become available in the second half of 2008."
    Please note the use of the word *IN* in that quote.

    Also:
    "Google denied a report Monday that phones using its Android software have been delayed to 2009.

    The Street reported the delay, citing an unnamed source. But Google denied the report.

    'We're still on track to announce Android-powered phones this year. Some of our partners are publicly stating that they plan to ship Android phones in the fourth quarter,' Google said in a statement.

    That's little surprise, given that Android leader Andy Rubin last week said phones using the soon-to-be-mostly-open-source software will be 'available in the second half of this year' just last week at the Google I/O conference."
    This was written at http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9957485-1.html?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=Crave
    Californian
  • RE: Google joins the Microsoft and Apple fraternity of delayed operating systems

    Android is a milestone OS for embedded system, so I hope this delaying may make it better and perfect!
    JackZhao@...