All This And Pac-Man, Too?

One open mobile operating system. Three thousand programmers. Ten minutes.

That just about sums up Google’s brief but compelling Wednesday debut of Android, the open mobile operating system that has rallied numerous handset makers, cellular service providers, and software developers.

Most of Android’s features seemed predicated on touch-screen technology, though tracker-ball technology is also compatible. These include:
* Navigating around images of a street, thanks to a “compass mode” and Google Maps.
* The ability to lock/unlock a device by swiping a special pattern across the screen.
* A “zoom” mode that helps users magnify Web content on their small phone screens.
* A mobile version of the video game classic Pac-Man.

Savvy marketers are watching Android closely. Keeping the system open means that any developer will be able to create programs for it–and the best, most in-demand apps will prevail. That bigwigs and small fry alike are rallying ’round Android means that developers’ efforts won’t be for naught. All this, proponents say, will lead the way to standardization of technology across virtually all mobiles (currently Windows Mobile, Symbian, and innumerable flavors of Linux fragment most of the market). In turn, marketers will be able to leverage mobile tech like never before.

Indeed, all the effort Google is putting into Android (including the creation of the Open Handset Alliance) is so that the company can make money from ads displayed on mobile phones when consumers use them to browse the Internet or search for information via SMS, location-based services, etc. In other words, Google’s making sure such ads offer the kind of ROI that marketers won’t be able to refuse.

Forget “Pac-Man Fever.”  Marketers and techies alike could get “Android Fever” as Google unveils more apps and features.