Competition in Wireless Communication: Android Edition

The New York Times reports that several cell phone manufacturers are turning to Google’s free operating system, Android, to run on their upcoming smartphone models. The switch to Android is likely to hit Microsoft and its clunky Windows Mobile platform the hardest, as companies that previously used Windows for their high-end PDA-phones seek to cut costs and offer consumers a more customizable product.

With Google joining the ranks of Nokia, Research-in-Motion, Apple, and Microsoft developing in mobile phone operating systems, the big four wireless carriers signing on to offer Android phones within the coming year, the deployment of 4G networks slated to take place in 2010, mounting consumer anticipation for Motorola’s soon-to-be-released Droid, and reported rumors that Apple is about to end its exclusive distribution deal with AT&T, it’s difficult to take seriously critics’ claims that a lack of competition and carrier-device exclusivity contracts are restricting consumer choice and keeping prices prohibitively high.