Google says future versions of its Android operating system will have a more business focus, putting it in greater competition with RIM. This is from a Reuters report that simply confirms the obvious: BlackBerry seems ripe for picking.
According to the news service, "Andy Rubin, Google's top Android executive, said on Friday that as well as expanding consumer features like social networking and gaming, future Android versions would support businesses who give phones to employees working on the road."
"Today, we don't support many enterprise applications but in the future, I think enterprise will be a good focus for us," Rubin, vice president of engineering at Google, told Reuters.
So besides gaming and social networking, Google plans to concentrate on business features and enterprise apps, hoping to grow Android at the expense of BlackBerry, the entrenched champion of business mobility.
However, RIM is seen by some as a company that has nowhere to go but down as Android, iPhone, and Palm's WebOS nip at its heels.
As many as 20 Android-based handsets are expected to enter the market before the end of 2009, by which time Google expects to have released a 2.0 version of the OS. The increased emphasis on business users will also become evident this year, Rubin told the news service.
I am among those who believe the BlackBerry's best days are behind it. Or more rationally, that RIM needs to do something dramatic to hold its position in enterprises or watch it slip away (over a period of years).
Google is, obviously, getting interested in business customers. I don't think the company yet has a compelling story and may not for several years, but it is clearly headed in that direction.
Apple has already shown that the combination of a great device, great apps, and a great online channel can deliver a winner. Google seems closer to achieving that than RIM and as competition increases, RIM risks falling way behind.
In that environment, and if Google can score some enterprise wins with Google Apps, Android handsets start to look much more attractive as a corporate standard than they do today.