I doubt it. To me the idea of bringing an open mobile platform into the market to drive innovation is a honorable goal and deserves respect. Will it also rock the mobile phone market? No, I don’t think so. For the exact same reasons why Linux has not taken over the Windows and Apple OS PC market, the new Google Android platform will appeal to the Unix freaks among us and be a nice cool platform to built your own applications, but won’t attract the masses.
First of all Apple has stolen the show with its AppStore months ago and has shown with the iPhone what it takes to offer great usability. The Google Android phone lacks also behind other platforms like Symbian or Blackberry and I bet even behind Microsoft’s Windows Mobile that most people hate. So what will happen to it? With Google behind it it will survive many years and depending on how much more Google will put into it remain valid as a platform for the Linux guys around. To make it a mass market success though Google should have better partnered with Apple’s iPhone and bring its strength in Search and some Google apps such as maps to that platform. I think over time that will happen too but for now the Google boys have another great toy and will play with it and since they don’t need to make money with it they will let them play for a long time to come.
If I would be a software developing company who wants to make money though this platform would not be interesting. Still there are many Linux folks out there who make things without the $ sign in front of them and they will like it I guess. I am sure Steve Jobs had a big smile in his face when he watched the announcement probably thinking that these guys don’t get what it takes to enter the mass market with success over night.
As for me I will play around with the Google Android phone when I get a chance next time I am in a mobile phone store that carries it and I am sure will drop it quickly as I got used now to my iPhone and expect any similar device to offer me the same user experience or even better. By then the iPhone apps will be in the second generation which will widen the gap even more.