The hype and hoopla surrounding Google’s entry into the mobile space has fizzled out somewhat. Google’s Open Handset Alliance (OHA) announcement was huge, there’s no doubt about that – but as far as staying power, that announcement has already hit the back-burner.
AT&T is looking to fire up the hype-machine again with AT&T wireless chief Ralph de la Vega’s announcement that Big Blue is considering joining the Android-supporting OHA. AT&T’s entry into the OHA would mark the carrier’s intention to sell handsets with the Linux-based Android mobile OS.
If AT&T were to join the OHA, smaller carriers like Sprint and T-Mobile USA could get shafted out of their open-handset advantage. Larger carriers like Verizon and AT&T are notorious for locking down their handsets to only run code sanctioned by the carrier – Sprint and T-Mobile’s participation in the OHA would have given them an edge against the larger incumbents by offering innovative handsets to their subscriber-base. But, if AT&T ships Android-based handsets, we could see an even larger gap between the top US carriers and smaller (relatively) outfits like Sprint, and T-Mobile.