In speaking with some potential clients this week, there was a common theme of Android differentiation. That is, Android offers some interesting opportunities to create middleware and/or apps for handset OEMs (Sony Ericsson, Motorola etc) to help them differentiate their Android devices.
Up to now, most differention has been either in hardware or changing the look and feel of the UI. However, with hardware becoming much the same and rumours that Google wants to nuke custom UIs the hardware manufacturers might be looking elsewhere for their differentiation. I suspect they will be increasingly buying in software technologies to sit on top of Android.
So what are these technologies? While I obviously can’t talk about my potential clients’ ideas, other examples include widget runtimes, apps that allow access to prime web properties, device management (for enterprise), navigation, new input methods and NFC.