While the mobile Linux community has reacted positively to Google's Android, the new platform has also given it some cause for concern. The arrival of a giant player area with very clear ideas of role it wants mobile Linux to fill was bound to ruffle a few feathers and, despite public proclamations of "welcome" and "support", …
Battle of the applications
While I understand the concern of the existing circles, I think it is fair to state that none of them have succeeded in bringing a platform to market that gained substantial support in the industry.
Looking over the list of companies involved in the Open Handset Alliance over at http://androidwiki.com/ it seems clear that the Android platform at least has a chance to achieve such a position. All the monetary support aside, it is clear that ultimately the battle for the handset will be won on the application field - and it is here that Google is going to excel, licensing concerns or not. ($10 million Android developer challenge anyone?)
IMO opinion the small device platform (typically 320x240) lacks one major thing:
A decent free browser.
Even for money the only choice seems to be Mobile Opera. I've run Firefox & Konquerer via VNC on 320x240 and the experience is rubbish.
The next most important application is a decent VOIP/SIP client that works with phone numbers & phone book, not URIs. Again there are various desktop ones that port badly to small screen.
Even very old versions of Qtopia are at Windows Mobile/Series 60 usability on Linux. However the touch UI needs improved.
Most of the good Linux Mobile Apps & GUI cost money. (Trolltec, theKompany). I'm not sure how these guys will compete with Android. If they give the stuff away how to they feed the Programmers?
Linux itself and networking is fairly easy to get running on any Mobile platform.
Linux doesn't matter...
...what is on the top at it really matter indeed, and in this sense, the licensing model is a concern. Google is leveraging its brand, one will uses it on mobile as one uses it on a PC. But the net result could be a kind of tivoization where Google keeps all the controls in such way that one couldn't do anything without it.