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November 5, 2007

Google Launches Android, an Open Mobile Platform

"Google Phone" turned out to be a mobile platform and not a phone optimized for running Google apps. "Android is the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. It includes an operating system, user-interface and applications -- all of the software to run a mobile phone, but without the proprietary obstacles that have hindered mobile innovation," announced Andy Rubin on the Google Blog. Android was launched as part of the Open Handset Alliance, an organization that has a lot of other important members: Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, Intel, NVIDIA, LG, Motorola, eBay, Nuance Communications and more.

The goal: "through deep partnerships with carriers, device manufacturers, developers, and others, we hope to enable an open ecosystem for the mobile world by creating a standard, open mobile software platform". The SDK will be available on November 12 and the first devices based on Android should be launched next year.

"Through Android, developers, wireless operators and handset manufacturers will be better positioned to bring to market innovative new products faster and at a much lower cost. (...) The Android platform will be made available under one of the most progressive, developer-friendly open-source licenses, which gives mobile operators and device manufacturers significant freedom and flexibility to design products. Developers will have complete access to handset capabilities and tools that will enable them to build more compelling and user-friendly services, bringing the Internet developer model to the mobile space. And consumers worldwide will have access to less expensive mobile devices that feature more compelling services, rich Internet applications and easier-to-use interfaces -- ultimately creating a superior mobile experience," explains the press release.

Android is based on the Linux Kernel and has some interesting particularities. "Android does not differentiate between the phone's core applications and third-party applications. They can all be built to have equal access to a phone's capabilities providing users with a broad spectrum of applications and services. (...) Android breaks down the barriers to building new and innovative applications. For example, a developer can combine information from the web with data on an individual's mobile phone -- such as the user's contacts, calendar, or geographic location -- to provide a more relevant user experience. With Android, a developer could build an application that enables users to view the location of their friends and be alerted when they are in the vicinity giving them a chance to connect. (...) Android provides access to a wide range of useful libraries and tools that can be used to build rich applications. For example, Android enables developers to obtain the location of the device, and allow devices to communicate with one another enabling rich peer-to-peer social applications."

It seems that Andy Rubin didn't forget the principles used when he built Sidekick: a great platform for developers, always connected to the network and that doesn't cost too much. In less than a week, Google announced two important initiatives that contain the word "open": OpenSocial and now Open Phone Alliance, but Android seems much more open and more meaningful for developers and users.

In a conference call that followed the announcement, Eric Schmidt said that an Android phone "with a real browser, won't need customized programs and websites, so it'll be easy for devs to support the phone by supporting any desktop browser". Apparently, the browser is a very strong point of the phone. By bringing the web closer to mobile phones, Google could become even more important in people's lives of and could increase its reach.

{ Thank you, Chris. }


  1. The video was removed, but I think this one is the same, isn't it ?

  2. Not even an image to figure out what we could do with this new platform. What a difference if you compare it to the presentation of the iphone!

  3. iPhone is a phone. This a SDK that will be released next week.

  4. << Schmidt reiterated during the conference that the company sees Android as a way to enable thousands of different gPhone choices and that today's announcement is fundamentally a developer announcement. Schmidt did not, however, rule out the possibility of creating a more official "gPhone" in the future. "We are not announcing a Google Phone today, but if there were to be a Google Phone, Android would be an excellent platform for it to use," he said. >>

    Ars Technica

  5. << The realities of a phone business--running a supply chain, keeping inventory and managing distribution--were never something Google wanted from its phone initiative. But it has built about five prototype phones based on the Open Handset Alliance software kit that it has used to demonstrate what an open-source phone could do--and to woo companies to join its team.

    The phone, code-named "Dream" inside Google, looks somewhat like Apple's iPhone: It is thin, about 3 inches wide and 5 inches long, and features a touch-sensitive, rectangular screen. Unlike the iPhone, the screen is also time-sensitive: Hold down your finger longer, and the area you're controlling expands. The bottom end of the handset, near the navigational controls, is slightly beveled so it nestles in the palm. The screen also swivels to one side, revealing a full keyboard beneath. (The screen display changes from a vertical portrait mode to a horizontal display when someone uses the keyboard.)

    The Dream design makes the core functions--e-mail, text documents and YouTube--readily available by putting icons that open those applications along the top of the screen. In its guts, the phone runs a virtual machine so that applications, like the browser, can launch once during a session, then reside in the background. That way, if someone sends you, say, a YouTube video link, you can run it immediately, without restarting the browser. The browser also downloads large files in stages to cut the time it seems to take to bring them onto the phone.

    Taiwan's HTC is already considering manufacturing a commercial version of Dream, which Chief Executive Peter Chou says could be available as early as the second half of 2008. >>


  6. adding points to your article,

    there's no doubt that google will also release a mobile phone based on this OS usually like gphone or something.t which is believed that all gphone users will be able to make free calls to other gtalk user.

    see this article ionut

  7. This sounds to me like they've copied OpenMoko from down to up. Which shouldn't be bad will this really be open. I wonder what the specs will be including "one of the most progressive, developer-friendly open-source licenses"

  8. Hi Chris,May be Google could spread it's reach in people's lives in coming days but still google's Android is a new thing for almost mobile phone users in India