Optical/IP Networks

Analyst: Google Mobile Search to Top $500M by 2011

In the frenzy of Android-related news at the CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment 2009 show last week, it was easy to forget the reason why Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has developed a royalty-free mobile operating system: It needs a mobile search revenue driver. (See CTIA Talks Business, Startups & Symbian, Verizon to Have 3 Android Devices by Early 2010, Sprint's Android Moment, and T-Mob Unveils Holiday Handsets.)

New York-based financial analyst firm Jefferies & Co. Inc. , however, hasn't forgotten. The analysts have released a research note predicting that Android will help the company's mobile search revenue "cross the $500M mark in 2011, up from roughly $180M in FY09."

The Jefferies analysts view Android as a defensive move by Google, one that, as mobile search becomes much more important, will ensure it has a major platform that carriers will support and vendors will want to build on.

So far, it seems to be working, the Jefferies research note suggests:

    Today, Android is available on 9 devices across 26 countries on 32 carriers, with the number of devices likely to double by year-end. With Dell's recent announcement to launch an Android-based phone on AT&T's network and Sprint collaborating with Samsung to deliver its second Android-based phone, devices powered by Google's OS should be available on all four major carrier networks in the US in 2010.

The analysts suggest that one of Google's next moves could be to try to move the operating system "beyond mobile phones to power a wide range of networked devices including e-readers, netbooks and set-top boxes."

We've already seen some signs of that with the Acer Inc. Android netbook and the recent deal with Verizon Wireless . (See Verizon & Google Build on Android.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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