I know what you’re thinking…”Oh, it’s Bubba again, blogging about Android.” There he goes again….But, it’s true. The Silicon Valley ecosystem, as a whole, is wholly underinvested in Android. In fact there even seems to be a rising sentiment that building on top of Android is a poor strategy. There are a probably many reasons for this but here are a few reasons that seem particularly large.
First, the number of folks in the Bay Area startup and technology scene with Android devices as primary phones seems to be inversely proportional to the worldwide distribution of Android. How will we all be able to build for a platform we don’t natively use? Yes, many of us will adapt quickly if forced, but technology is a speed game — will other regions already steeped in the ins and outs of Android development and distribution beat us at our own game? It’s possible. Just look at the messaging giants spreading across Asia and the Pacific.
Second, the intellectual horsepower and curiosity in the Bay Area toward mobile is incredibly rich and varied. Yet, the majority of this attention is focused on iOS. I understand why, all the hot consumer apps start on Apple’s platform. But, one side effect of this is that we aren’t able to form equally deep opinions on Android as a platform, or its forks, or apps on top of each. We are more than prepared for the next iterations inside iOS and advancements to the iPhone hardware, yet we don’t seem to have a similar level of curiosity and exploration for the Android platform. Every now and then, a mobile startup will survive long enough to go “cross-platform,” and those teams get to experience the wondrous joy of Android (it ain’t easy, folks!), but those are often isolated experiences.
I believe most mobile observers and investors would have a difficult time trying to name 10 Android-first or Android-only startups in Silicon Valley. How is it possible that so few of these exist, and how is the next mobile unicorn going to be created if we don’t have large numbers of experiments running on Android? It’s cliche to say “we are living in a very special time,” but…we are! Look at all the new platforms emerging around us — virtual reality software (like Oculus VR and Morpheus), the Bitcoin protocol, drones, 3-D printing, and more. Android is one of these platforms, and perhaps one of the biggest in terms of size, reach, and potential market value.
Android is literally a freight train, an unstoppable force and a computing platform that will only increase in power. To that end, I want to see and fund the true Android-first startups out there, the teams who will run with the blank canvas, who won’t be constrained by conventions of a sister platform, who will think originally and critically about the next innovations in mobile computing, technology, and consumer experiences. If this describes you, please get in touch.