Android is Already Reaching Toward Commercial Horizons

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 21, 2008

With the news that Google's Android platform is now downloadable under an open source license, there are also some clear signs emerging about what's about to happen to Android. One doesn't have to be an expert reader of tea leaves to discern two things that lie ahead for this open source mobile platform: 1) it will arrive in commercially supported versions; and 2) it won't stay restricted to handsets. Here's the proof in the pudding.

Today, the very same day that Android has been released into the wild, Wind River has announced that it will offer a commercial software solution based on Android. In addition to support for people developing Android-based devices and services, Wind River will offer software systems integration services to these providers. These services will include customization, optimization and testing, and Wind River confirms that "these services for Android are currently being deployed to customers worldwide"--so there are already partners onboard.

Here are more details from Wind River's announcement:

"Wind River's commercial software platform for Android is expected to include the latest open source Android software, Wind River's commercial-grade Linux, including Android- specific Linux patches, and pre-integrated third-party technologies to help commercialize Android. Additionally, the platform is expected to be optimized on leading mobile semiconductor hardware from which manufacturers can quickly build market-differentiated products."

Kyocera is among the first companies to work with Wind River as a partner to deliver Android-based products and help other companies deliver them, as announced here. (Kyocera was involved with the development of many Palm devices going back to 2000.) "Our goal is to make Kyocera the leader in Android integration among CDMA device manufacturers in the markets we serve," says the Kyocera announcement, which makes clear that OEMs will be able to work with Wind River and Kyocera in tandem to deliver customized Android products.

Meanwhile, this post from GigaOm includes talk of many manufacturers planning to deliver Android solutions that go beyond phones. According to Om Malik on GigaOm:

"Over the last few weeks I have learned that numerous companies are tinkering with Android in an attempt to get the OS to power a whole slew of gadgets — everything from set-top boxes to navigation systems to mobile Internet devices to smart picture frames. For instance, Motorola, a big player in the set-top box business, has designs on building an Android-based set-top box."

All of these developments point to a major trend that we've discussed several times recently: the powerful combination of fee-based services and commercial development and free, open source software. Android goes into the open source wild today, but it also comes under the wings of deep-pocketed companies going far beyond Google.