A couple of weeks back, we reported on this very blog that HTC’s [TSE: 2498] new open-source phone running Google’s [NASDAQ:GOOG] Android operating system was indeed on track for its Q4 release date. Now reports are surfacing that this isn’t actually the case. According to an analyst at Global Equities research, HTC is having a hard time “incorporat[ing] Google’s demand feature set” due to “structural problems.” If there were a prize for BS corporate-speak in a tech rumor, that right there would win it. The source went on to tell Barron’s that HTC is also struggling with a “guaranteed minimum revenue surety” from Google. (Wow, that BS sentence almost upstages the last BS sentence.) As a consequence, HTC’s Android phone might be delayed til next year.
What this analyst is trying to say is that HTC is having a hard time making a phone that is fast enough (or perhaps, has enough storage) to satisfy the Google OS’s requirements. The reason: they don’t want to sink a ton of R&D money into this thing if they don’t have some guarantee from Google that the phone is going to sell well enough to justify the expenditure. See, Mr. Analyst from Global Equities? English is easy.
There’s more bad news, according to Barron’s. Developers aren’t enthusiastic about picking up the developer’s kit for Android, with their plates already full of iPhone, Symbian, Blackberry and WinMo developers’ kits. This blogger has long suspected that by the time Android is released, the smartphone market will be mature and relatively saturated, but the adoption of the SDK is an unexpected manifestation of that prediction.
It’s worth mentioning that rumors have been floating that Nokia’s [NYSE:NOK] Symbian and Android will somehow intermarry and join forces, but those whispers haven’t gotten a lot of substantiation as yet. It would certainly be a smart move for both companies — since Google is good with the software, and Nokia with the hardware — and they wouldn’t increase the cognitive load placed on developers by adding yet another completely new SDK to the fray. But two giants rarely dance well together (see AOL, TimeWarner), and the each respective company’s management probably knows that, too.