September 16, 2014

WiMax Deal the Biggest Victory for Android Yet?

Today sees a monumental event in the wireless industry. Along with partners Intel, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and Bright House Networks, Google has ponied up a share of a $3.2 billion dollar marriage between Sprint and Clearwire. With the two of them making nice and coming together for a national WiMax system, the deal puts the Android platform front and center as the operating system of choice for mobile devices on the network.

We knew from the start that Google was ambitious with Android. Just how ambitious though is becoming more apparent each week. Today they’re pulling $500 million out of their wallets to ensure that Android based devices and capabilities are synonymous with this new ultra-fast wireless internet. Something tells me that there’s been some behind closed doors stuff going on with Intel, Sprint, and Google for a long time. All three of them are founding Open Handset Alliance members and are probably well aware of each other’s long term goals.

Google wants to get in front of users in as many ways as possible so that they can sell advertisement in search and websites. As people are migrating away from desktops, they are turning to mobile internet devices and smart phones. How does Google integrate their services as deeply as possible? Android.

I envision a simple game plan:

Google develops a platform that takes advantage of location based technologies and searches. Needing a way to get it on handsets, they form the Open Handset Alliance with hardware, software, and technology companies. Intel agrees to make next generation chipsets with WiMax built in and Sprint (with pals) provides a network that blankets the country and happens to be super-duper fast. Known as Xohm, the service is expected to cover 120-140 million potential customers. The handset manufacturers HTC, LG, Samsung, and Motorola will happily make phones and devices all day long. Even with only a fraction of the country able to take advantage of the speeds, the backup 3G networks from Sprint and T-Mobile would still provide a substantial, and acceptable footprint.

The Clearwire deal is slated to be finalized later this year with a projected rollout of 2010. By then, it’s safe to assume that T-Mobile’s 3G network will be running in a large portion of the United States. Throw in all of the Wi-Fi networks around the world and you’ll have a significant amount of people using location based searches with instant results. Oh yeah, there will be targeted ads in there too. Courtesy of Android.

Google’s been working on this stuff a lot longer than most realize. In fact, it’s almost like they are working backwards from the end goal. All of the little things they’ve done over the last few years will be paying off like nothing we’ve seen before.

While you weren’t watching closely, Clearwire said earlier this year that they will start migrating their customers to Gmail and Google Calendar. They also agreed to start using AdSense for Search capabilities on future portal apps.

While you weren’t looking, Sprint started using Gmail on their website in addition to integrating YouTube and Google Maps for Mobile on their devices. And of course, you can’t forget that Google does searches still. Sprint has agreed to use Google as the preferred mobile search provider for the company.

It’s time to start paying attention.

If you’ve been with AndroidGuys since we started, you’ll recall an article I did back in November calling for Android TV on set top boxes. The idea seems even less far-fetched today with Google’s involvement with cable companies.

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