With the first Google Android device expected to be officially announced Tuesday in the form of the HTC Dream from T-Mobile, smart phone users craving an open source OS based on the perpetually hyped and oft-delayed Android operating system will be saying "finally."
But will T-Mobile stores see the same winding lines Apple and AT&T stores saw for the release of the Apple iPhone 3G in July?
That's doubtful. Not that people don't crave the new device; there are droves of Linux lovers salivating at the thought of it. But banking on a new mobile operating system is a lot like buying a new car. Typically, the first generations of the latest models have a few kinks to work out before things go smoothly. It's often a wise choice to wait for the next model year for the car manufacturer to have all the growing pains ironed out before diving in.
Same goes for smart phones.
Mobility analyst and consultant Jack Gold, president and founder of J.Gold Associates, Northborough, Mass. said the Android-hungry masses should put their anticipation on hold a short time and let Google Android prove itself before putting all of their eggs in the Android basket with an HTC Dream. There are still a lot of unanswered questions around Android, and smart phone users should not let themselves become victims of hype.
"Android is being awaited with much anticipation," Gold wrote. "What should users expect? If they are expecting to see a robust, complete, optimized OS running all the features and functions smoothly and in complete security, they are apt to be disappointed."
According to Gold, new product cycles often bring with them new problems, and potential users should approach with caution.
"It is highly probably that Google has not tested every single possible scenario for the OS " it's probably impossible to do so " and that particular vendor implementations and hardware designs will cause some strange problems to occur," Gold said. "This is common and part of any new product cycle."
Gold said the first outing for Google Android will likely have a several kinks to hammer out before smart phone users can be completely confident keeping their corporate data and personal information on an Android-based device.
For Android-based devices " and there will likely be several of them popping up over the coming months " it's important for Google to be transparent and admit its shortcomings to give users that confidence.
"We should expect to see several problems materialize over the first few months of operation of Android," Gold wrote in a recent research paper. "The ultimate test will not be whether or not there are issues with Android (there are bound to be), but how well and how rapidly " and how openly " Google admits to the problems and fixes them. This may well mean the difference between success and failure of Android."
But until Google and Android earn a track record, Gold cautions the excited throngs of smart phone users to wait it out a little longer. Instead of jumping on T-Mobile's HTC Dream tomorrow, it might be beneficial to give it a few weeks or months to see how it works out.
"Unless you are willing to put up with a few 'gotchas' with Android," Gold cautioned, "you should probably wait until generation two of the devices and OS before jumping in."