Google Android, the new open source mobile operating system

Posted on September 3, 2008 By pramitsingh Topic: Actually Useful Technology, Google Android, Google Phone, Cellphones

Part of Google's strategy for the mobile business, Google Android is Google's asnwer to proprietory mobile operating sytems such as Symbian, Windows and Palm.

Consumers
Basically, the idea is anyone, that includes you and me, can build one's own iPhones using Google Android mobile operating system which is based on Linux.
- Android integrates popular Google applications include Google Maps and Gmail.
- Android has a fast, full-featured web browser, of course.
- Android supports WiFi, 3G, EDGE, and Bluetooth connections.
- Android supports SMS and MMS messaging.
- Android supports MPEG-4, MP3, AAC, AMR, JPG, PNG and h.264 formats.
- Android can support GPS, touch screens, video cameras, GPS and hardware accelerators for 3D graphics.

Developers
- Android comes with a comprehensive software development kit (SDK) using which independent developers can build extra applications.
- The Android Market: a user-driven content distribution system. Developers will be able to make their content available on an open service hosted by Google where you can rate offerings and offer feedback.
- The Android Challenge - Google has started contests for developers. The first Android Challenge ran from January 2, 2008, to April 14, 2008 The top 50 projects were announced on May 14, 2008. The second Android challenge has just started. The Top 50 winners of the Android Challenge contest received $25,000 for further development. These winners are eligible for further awards, between $100,000 and $275,000.

Carriers and Handsets
- The Open Handset Alliance: More than 30 hardware manufacturers including Intel, Motorola, T-Mobile, NVIDIA, HTC, China Mobile, Sprint Nextel, Telecom Italia, KDDI Corporation, eBay, Samsung, LG, Broadcom Corporation, SkyPop, Texas Instruments, and NTT DoCoMo have agreed to develop phones using teh Android system.
- Among the wireless carriers: Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile ae part of the OHA.

- Reluctant carriers: They fear that the end of the lockdown may be near. The whole idea behind Android and other open source mobile operating systems is to release mobile consumers from the iron clutches of the mobile service providers. However, since the Android is Open Source, the mobile carriers may modify it, locking down the phone again. The carriers' top fear is that developers may figure out ways to bypass the carriers' network, using Wi-fi for example. So, they have come up with the security risk excuse.


- The Security Risk excuse: The carriers are saying that Android is open soiurce, it will be prone to security attacks, whereas experts say the becasue Android is open soirce, there will be more people working to make it better , just like the Linus operating system, something that is not so easy with proprietory operating systems. The carriers do not like things like the Android Content and Softare market - they like to force their own poorly built software down consumers' throats.

- First handsets based on Android: HTC, part of the OHA alliance may release the HTC Dream sometime later this year. The first phone from T-Mobile is also due by Christmas 2008.

Google's agenda:

Being an advertising company, Google is hoping to integrate adsense and other forms of advertising onto Android-powered handsets - ad-supported free mobile calls, location-sepcific advertising, among other things.


Related Links:
Android Announcement
YouTube - Android Demo
Android (mobile device platform)
Android Videos
A first hand look at building an Android application
Building an Android Application 101
Android Gallery
Android Wiki
ADC Gallery Android developer Challenge 1: Top 50 apps list
10 Android Apps We Will Actually Use - ReadWriteWeb

Related Open Source Mobile OS and HandsetsProject
The OpenMoko open source Mobile Operating sytem and Handset project

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