Google Android - Open Platform Mobile Development

07/11/07 Permalink

The project itself was concepted in 2003 and was bought by Google back in 2005 and is about to be brought to the limelight.

It is based on The Open Handset Alliance. The SDK is out on November 12th 2007 and it's built on Linux. Motorola are already using Linux, Nokia and Sony Ericsson are mostly Symbian, there's Windows Mobile, RIM BlackBerry, Palm OS and Apple's OS X (iPhone) as well. (comprehensive list here)

No news on J2ME support as of yet (Update: Android is Java based) - the main problem with J2ME is the security model - it restricts many functions unless you signed the app. For example, a basic file browser for J2ME phones requires that every time you go to a different folder you get a security prompt which was totally impractical and frustrating for end-users. Sure you could sign the app and get a certificate, but you'd have to pay and there was no guarantees it would work across all networks and phones. So this is making the more hardware communicative parts of J2ME very restrictive. If Android eleviates many of the restrictions it can only be a good thing.

There are theories that Android may further fragment the market, and it may well do, but if it offers developers a more friendly environment, then it's market share may expand due to better range of better applications available on it. I don't know until I see the SDK.

Here are some quotes:

For example, an application could call upon any of the phone's core functionality such as making calls, sending text messages, or using the camera, allowing developers to create richer and more cohesive experiences for users.
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. We have developed Android in cooperation with the Open Handset Alliance, which consists of more than 30 technology and mobile leaders including Motorola, Qualcomm, HTC and T-Mobile. 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.
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