Google faces a developer challenge of its own

Following a keynote appearance at last week's NewTeeVee conference in San Francisco, AT&T's wireless chief Ralph de la Vega said in an interview that the operator has talked with Google about joining its fledgling Open Handset Alliance. It didn't matter that de la Vega said only that AT&T was "analyzing the situation," declining to offer additional details of the discussions and even admitting he's never personally met with Google--in typical Internet fashion, headlines quickly proclaimed AT&T's membership in the OHA a done deal. Never mind that AT&T's exclusive iPhone contract with Apple reportedly restricts the carrier from partnering with Google, or that the search giant is making "the necessary preparations" to bid in the FCC's upcoming wireless spectrum auction, as a company representative told the Wall Street Journal. According to the WSJ, Google will enter January's 700MHz band auction sans partners--suffice it to say there's no chance AT&T or Verizon Wireless will join the OHA and collaborate on the Android platform if Google launches its own rival network.

But hey, at least AT&T expressed an interest in Android--so far, developers are shrugging their shoulders at the prospect of teaming with Google. According to The Seattle Times, which interviewed roughly a dozen mobile software firms, most downloaded the Android SDK released last week by the OHA, but none have immediate plans to begin developing applications for the platform, citing lingering questions with Android's overall direction as well as a reluctance to halt ongoing projects. It seems that not even the Android Developer Challenge, which will dole out $10 million in awards for innovative mobile applications created for the platform, is enough to convince firms to shift their focus. Android is open to developers--the problem, at least for now, is that developers aren't open to Android. -Jason