I think that the new Android-powered G1 is awesome. It is open. It has a ton of features, and it is built from the ground up to be futzed with. It is meant to be tinkered with, expanded upon, grown, shaped, morphed and transmorgrified into a powerful platform.
Who cares? Android doesn’t matter. Neither does the iPhone. WinMo? Forget about it? Linux? Puh-leese.
Why don’t these things matter? Well, hyping an OS or a device is like saying that your Dell laptop is better than my Sony, or that my iMac is better than your Gateway. The only things that matter are the browsers. Hardware and the OS don’t really matter. The only thing that matters is how well your mobile data device can access the cloud. Opera, Webkit, Mobile Safari, Chrome Lite, and hopefully soon Firefox Mobile, these are the only things that matter.
On my PC, the only application I use is the browser. (On my PC, I like Chrome, and on my Mac I use Firefox.) On my phone (which is an iPhone) the only application I use regularly is the browser (and the Mail app, but it just pulls down GMail). All of the other apps on my phone are just interesting ways to pull down data from the cloud. Google Maps on the iPhone is just a single purpose browser for maps.google.com. My @Bat from MLB is just a single purpose browser that delivers the MLB WAP site. Facebook, Twitter, etc. they are all just tweaked browsers.
Larry Ellison and his failed NIC plan wasn’t wrong, he was just early. With the rise of Netbooks and smartphones, it is all about the cloud. Locally stored data and local computing power are modestly anachronistic. In the mobile world, as long as a phone can make and receive calls, almost all other data functions are completely reliant on the connection to the cloud. Stick Opera on any phone an it immediately gets better. It gets you more access to the world. Build the data features of the phone around a great browser and your OS doesn’t matter.
And that, my friends, is the (Un)Importance of the Android Google G1. (But Webkit and Chrome Lite, and Mobile Safari, and Opera, and mobile Mozilla are the most important developments in mobile history since the voice channel).