I’ve been somewhat skeptical on Android over the past couple of years. Now, however, it seems that Google is on to something that can be a game-changer on a few levels – free turn-by-turn navigation with Android, essentially delivering a possibly mortal blow (in terms of direct revenue) to the only significantly profitable location-based service the world has seen.
Now, I’m still not a big fan of the Android devices; even the new and praised Motorola Droid somehow fails to impress me. But it does, along with many other devices coming out soon, does give Android increased momentum. The success of Android still rests on device manufactures coming out with compelling devices and the Android-buzz/craze has yet to infect the ‘normal’ users.
But navigation is a billion-dollar business. If a significant player like Google starts offering decent-quality navigation for free, the others – namely TomTom / TeleAtlas & Nokia / Navteq, the two major owners of navigation data – are going to have a problem.
There’s a decent wrap-up of this development here.
In an ideal world (from the consumers’ point of view anyway), Nokia would adopt Android as their platform to eventually replace Symbian. Symbian as a platform, though still dominant, is heading for life support and inevitable death by a thousand cuts in the not-too-distant future. Maemo could make up Nokia’s other platform and Android the other. I mean why not? Nokia has never really excelled in the software space but can build and distribute awesome phones.