In the past, under Sol Trujillo's leadership, Telstra was infamously slow to the market on mobile innovation - notably the iPhone. Under the same leadership, the carrier put itself at loggerheads with Google in the search space, with Sol Trujillo's famous "Google Shmoogle" remark.
Today all that is history, however, with Telstra determined to present itself as forging ahead of the competition in both the iPhone and Android space, with the latest announcement illustrating a show of strengthening ties between Australia's largest carrier and Google.
Warwick Bray, Executive Director, Telstra Mobile said it was the first time a mobile carrier had teamed with Google to create a dedicated Android retail presence.
'Over the past 12 months we've seen a huge growth in the number of customers coming in-store and asking us about Android phones and tablets. With Androidland we wanted to create a retail environment like no other that helps us to answer customer questions in a fun, interactive way.
'The result is a world-first collaboration that goes beyond conventional product displays by allowing visitors to get hands on with a range of popular mobile services and apps found on Android devices,' Mr Bray said.
John Lagerling, Director, Global of Android Partnerships said Telstra's Androidland is a fun way to help Australians learn about Android phones and tablets.
'Australians have gone crazy for smartphones over the last year, and we estimate that each month, hundreds of thousands of Australians buy a smartphone. Chances are that a smartphone is on the Christmas list of someone you love, and Telstra's Androidland has plenty of ideas and tips,' Mr Lagerling said.
Accrding to Telstra, visitors to Androidland will be able to:
- Board the Android spaceship - An interactive spaceship zone allows visitors to pilot the Google Earth app on the giant screen and fly across the world; play Angry Birds on a big interactive screen; and create an Android avatar that can be printed or shared.
- Have fun in the play zone - Visitors can sit under a pixel tree and play with live devices; try their luck on an Android skill tester and clown machine and flick through a virtual library of Google Books.
- Get expert advice - Android experts, specially trained by Google, will be on hand to help customers set up their Google accounts, recommend popular Android Marketâ„¢ apps, answer questions and to help customise device homescreens.
- Get hands on with the latest Android devices - Visitors will be able to try out a wide range of working Android smartphone and tablets.
- Customers will be able to interact with a massive 24 x 9 metre window display that features an augmented reality game challenging visitors to catch Android robots drifting in a virtual snowfall.
Mr Bray said consumers were increasingly looking for an interactive shopping experience where they could try out live devices and get advice from experts before making a purchase.
'From the moment customers walk through the doors of Androidland they'll be transported into an immersive retail environment that's as much about having fun as it is about researching your next phone.'
Androidland was built in collaboration with leading Android handset makers Samsung, HTC, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and LG and is a temporary installation. Telstra will use customer feedback to test whether similar installations are introduced to other stores across Australia.