After months of speculation, the long-awaited announcement of the first Google Android-powered mobile device has officially been announced. Today, in New York City, T-mobile unveiled the G1, an HTC device with a touch screen and a slide-out QWERTY keypad.
This definitely has the potential to be an Apple iPhone competitor. There have been previous attempts at competing with the iPhone, but that was primarily by going after the touch screen technology only. But the real competition with the iPhone lies in the user interface and applications. Only the geekiest of geeks are likely to notice the advantages that the cult of Mac are going to tout in claiming the iPhone as superior.
But that might not last long. The word of the day at the G1 launch is OPEN. While Apple allows third parties to develop for the iPhone, there's a relatively strict application and approval process. Not so with the Android.
Additionally, the music player on the G1 plays mp3s that can be purchased from Amazon. If done right (and if opened up to other vendors such as Napster and eMusic), this could seriously take a chunk out of Apple's iTunes and iPod/iPhone profits.
Android will also be available on additional advices in the future. And did I mention that T-mobile/Google/HTC is smart to add a QWERTY keypad in addition to the touch-screen technology?
What does this mean to you, dear Search Engine Marketers and Website Owners? It means that you have to start paying attention to the mobile internet.
You'll need mobile versions of your websites. And I don't mean with .mobi extensions (sorry, .mobi domain owners!). No, you'll need the ability to know what device your visitors are browsing from - whether it's an iPhone, G1 or other device - and be able to send them to a mobile-friendly site accordingly.
The mobile site will need also to compatible with the mobile browsers. G1 will be using a browser built on Webkit, something Chrome uses too. Developing mobile applications that reside on the phone itself will become a marketing tool all on its own.
Of course, search is also a highly important factor. Mobile advertising is largely in its infancy. Until mobile search ads are widely implemented, organic results reign supreme.
GPS and cellular triangulation make local search all that more important. As an iPhone owner, I have access to several apps that are solely based on finding what I need locally. There are also user reviews and ratings.
Which leads us to social networking, which in turn reminds us that the internet has made life global as well.
Mobile will advance all of these initiatives. iPhone got the ball rolling. But G1 may just take it to the next level, if for no other reason but reaching those, who, for whatever reason (phone contract, pricing, touch-screen only, etc) are not on board with the iPhone.
Are you ready?
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