Android Delayed? Depends On Who You Ask.


The Wall Street Journal has reported, and the entire world has basically re-reported, that Google Android is facing delays due to difficulties that carriers, manufacturers and developers are facing when customizing the platform for their circumstances.

As the story goes, the bulk of Google’s time is being taken by T-Mobile who still plans to release an Android handset this year although the timeline now seems to be “late 4th quarter”. Sprint Nextel and China Mobile’s handsets may both be delayed until 2009 while AT&T is still evaluating whether or not to make the Android leap.

The internet game of “telephone” has gotten a little bit out of hand with sources around the world reporting on Android delays without first looking at the facts.

Officials at repeatedly stated for the past several months that the first Android handset and/or handsets would be available in the 2nd half of 2008. Even if T-Mobile were to release the first ever Android phone in late Q4 2008 as is suggested will happen, last time we checked the last day of the 4th quarter is still part of the 2nd half of 2008.

Google and the OHA have been deliberatly vague about timelines because they know that they could face issues and setbacks. The delays being mentioned don’t seem to take into account some information that we’ve already known.

Sprint’s “delays” seem to be related to the fact that they want their first Android handset to be on their new 4G network and not their 3G network. It was only one month ago that the Sprint and Clearwire deal took place and Sprint’s WiMax network (XOHM) was announced as ready for commercial testing. We’ve learned those tests will take place in the Baltimore-D.C. area, but is it really a surprise that Sprint is retooling their focus to put out the first 4G product with Android? They were so obsessed with their Instinct iPhone killer but a 4G Android Handset would seem to have twice the potential.

Then you have China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier, who is supposedly “delaying” their launch to either late 2008 or early 2009 because one of their partners is having trouble translating Android to Chinese. Ummm… hello people… that’s not a delay. At Google I/O, Andy Rubin specifically stated that Google would FIRST work and be perfected in English at which point they can work on altering it for other regions and languages.

The news has folks around the web making comments like, “I told you so”, “Google is learning mobile the hard way” and “it is still too early to count out Google.” Still to early to count out Google? Who even mentioned counting out Google?

Folks, the is delay is only perceived. As long as the first Android enabled handset is launched in the 2nd half of 2008 the only timeframe supplied will have been met. Of course Google (and the world) would rather launch with as many handsets and carriers on board as possible… but nobody thought for a minute that the creation and development of Android would be a cake walk.

[Via Wall Street Journal]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Much ado about nothing is all the WSJ put out. We’re only picking up bits and pieces as to why certain people are not going to have one out within next few months. Each company has their own agendas and until they realize the importance of fully getting behind Android, they’ll continue to put out lesser products and services.

    Anybody who has followed product launch announcements before knows that “second half of 2008” means end of the year. If you deliver before November, then you look like champs. Otherwise, 6 months is a heck of a window.

    This article is good stuff and spot on.

  2. Funny how these stories would undoubtedly spawn the “I told you so” comments when the Android is an entire operating system. Coded by developers, modified by manufacturers and distributed by carriers. However negative journalism will paint a picture against Android and its developers, when any potential delays are likely to be occurring several links down the chain.

    But bad news sells better.

  3. Actually, the WSJ article sounds reasonable. They are merely reporting that Android is behind schedule. 6 months with Android still in alpha is not much of window. It has to be certified on the handsets and then go through manufacturing and delivery. And keep in mind that is only the handset. The carriers have to have the back-end infrastructure built out, boxes ordered, capacity planning and testing, monitoring in place, billing systems integrated etc.

    They also need working applications tested and bundled on the device. And then there will be beta testing on actual devices with customers. And the marketing guys need a firm go well ahead of launch before they do the needed marketing campaigns and lining up of print ads, etc. So, if the Android handset is still in alpha, the carriers are of course under a great deal of pressure to meet a delivery in November (launching in December is usually not an option).

  4. There’s a lot of coordination that google needs to make Android successful on all the carriers around the world. If it’s delayed for a few carriers, then so what? I don’t think it should slow the release.

    Apple still has issues with various recording studios and artists. Those that didn’t get on the iTunes bandwagon lost a lot of money (ie… AC/DC). I think the same will go for cell phone carriers.

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