TWho noticed the article in BusinessWeek online 2 years ago on August 17, 2005, titled: "Google buys Android for Its Mobile Arsenal"? I only noticed it when rumours were starting to hit about the coming out of the Gphone (which turned out not to be a Gphone but "Android", an open software platform for mobile devices)
On 5 November 2007 Google announced Android as their open software platform for mobile devices. And it is now clear why they bought the company Android more than 2 years before as described in BusinessWeek in those days. How elegant of Google to name their platform after the company they took over, indicating they leveraged its assets well.The BusinessWeek article describes the take-over of Android, a 22 month old and quite unknown startup at that time. The company operated under a cloak of secrecy, stating only that it made software for mobile phones.

It's been a week since Google released their first cut of the Android SDK and despite Scoble's claims to the contrary, thousands of developers spent last week developing their first Android applications.

Doesn't it make sense to launch the SDK well in advance of any actual phones?

Erstwhile video blogger Scoble is disappointment with Android. It seems this is largely because the launch "videos were boring". Robert? Dude? Who gives a shit about the videos? Developers don't want videos, they want CODE. Code, samples, and a well documented API. I still haven't watched the videos, I was too busy using the SDK to spend time looking at the pretty moving pictures. Apparently the shiny lights distracted Scoble as he screeches "[I] DO NOT TRUST THINGS THAT THEY WON’T SHOW ME WORKING". Android works. I've seen it, I've used it. They announced a software stack not hardware, and the software stack is available right now.True, there are no phones yet, but Android is about development tools for 3rd party developers, so doesn't it make sense to launch the SDK well in advance of any actual phones? Google aren't going to out Apple the iPhone but they may just out Microsoft Windows Mobile.

You can bet that there's more than one Android project to duplicate the iPhone interface in excruciating detail.

There's been some complaints about the Android UI. It's true, the emulator isn't groundbreaking. It doesn't have to. It exists solely to provide the functionality developers need to write apps. How many projects do you think are right now in the process of reskining that bad-boy? The iPhone interface is as inevitable as this MS Messenger skin. The shipping UI is irrelevant, it's the flexibility of the SDK to create a new UI that's important.

Despite Scoble not knowing "...a single developer who has had his/her hands on Android" there are more than 4,500 members on the Android developer forums and more than 4,000 messages. Even if only 1% of them come up with a useful mobile application that's still about 30 more useful mobile applications than I've ever come across for Symbian.

The Android phone won't have the iPhone's consumer appeal. It's very true, but it's also entirely beside the point.

Read enough articles and you'd think that if Google doesn't immediately grab 30% of the mobile market at launch they Fail. That's short term thinking. Developers will write applications for Android phones because they literally can't write them for other platforms. One will get you ten that the iPhone SDK won't have nearly the level of phone access that Android provides.Eventually people will be buying Android phones because the applications they *need* only run on Android phones. Don't believe me? Do you think people run Windows for the pleasure of it? Worst case scenario? Android forces people like Apple and Symbian to offer the same SDK access in order to keep their market. I'll take that and still call Android a net win.

Google's strategy seems to be 'make it open' -- with 'make it popular' a distant second.

People probably won't be lining up around the block on the release day for the first Android mobile but just like Google search and just like GMail, Android is going to change the way we think of mobile phones.

What made the PC so popular? Why has the web taken off? Because *anyone* with the inclination could bring their vision to life at minimal cost. If you've ever tried programming for a mobile phone you'll know it's expensive and difficult -- that's why there's so few *good* mobile phone applications, and very few for free. The Android platform is going to get thousands of developers playing around with new applications for mobiles, in the same way early IBM compatible PCs got thousands of electronics hobbyists interested in programming computers.

Eventually the availability of popular apps on Android phones is going to encourage more phone makers to release Android versions and networks to release Android phones. It costs them nothing in licensing.

People love iPhones, companies love options.

I don't run Windows because I like it, I run it because 75% of the applications I use every day only run under Windows; plus I can write powerful software for myself really easily.

Corporations will start buying Android phones for the same reason almost every company that's not a graphic design house runs Windows -- it's a more universal development environment with deeper access to the underlying hardware. I work for an investment bank, they'd never dream of writing corporate software for the iPhone; do you think the 300 Java developers here might be able create something useful with Android?

Source: The Radioactive Yak

AT&T has talked with Google about joining its mobile-phone software alliance. The phone company is "analyzing the situation" and may use Google's software for phones, Ralph de la Vega, chief executive officer of the wireless unit, said in an interview Friday. He refused to give details of discussions and said he hasn't personally met with Mountain View-based Google. The search-engine giant announced Nov. 5 that it would work with 33 companies to develop software for mobile phones. Wireless carriers Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA joined the alliance, looking for features such as local shopping searches that could help them lure new customers.

Source: SilliconValley

Dave Burke, an engineering manager within Google’s mobile team, stood up today at the Future of Mobile conference in London to talk about Android and the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), the new open mobile platform initiative from Google. This is the the first conference presentation in Europe on the subject since Google’s announcement on November 5th, and was live blogged by TechCrunch UK.

But if you were expecting much new information on all this you would probably have been disappointed. Burke introduce the OHA, outlined how it has 30+ industry leaders on board and how there is no gPhone, just a phone built by partners using the Android platform - this we already know. There was a run-down of what the platform will be capable of and a reminder that the SDK is a only a few days old and that we will probably not see handsets until the second half of next year when the full open source platform will be released.

He also did a fairly impressive demonstration of coding an application (in this case a mobile browser).Burke did say: “We’re really serious. We want to see serious innovation. We want operators and application developers to spend less time on little silos and more time building great stuff.” At the end he added an advert: “we’re hiring in Europe”.

During Q&A he said he hadn’t “heard” if Android will support Flash Lite, but he did say the Webkit would support Netscape style plugins.

How come Google is only releasing the full source code when the handsets hit the market next year? He said Google wanted to wait until it really worked on handsets before releasing the code.

What about the difference with the OpenMoko project, an open source mobile platform? “The difference with Moko is this [Android] is real,” he said “We have a lot of momentum with key partners. We are not talking about specifications, we’re just building it and trying to get support.”One questioner asked if Google would be subject to anti-trust allegations given that a lot of Google applications will come default with the handsets, but Burke gave the impression that this would be unlikely as handset makers could “swap out applications.” We’ll see I guess.

So what’s the upshot of all this? In terms of content perhaps not a great deal. If one were to be cynical, one would say that this was mainly about a Google guy appearing in London (which has a big mobile community) at a conference aimed at mobile developers, and was in hiring mode…

Source: TechCrunch

The Android SDK includes a mobile device emulator — a virtual device that runs on your computer. The emulator lets you prototype, develop, and test Android applications without using a physical device.

The Android emulator mimics all of the typical functions and behaviors of a mobile device, except that it can not receive or place phone calls. As shown at right, the emulator provides a variety of navigation and control keys, which you can "press" using your mouse or keyboard to generate events for your application. It also provides a screen in which your application is displayed, together with any other Android applications running.

To help you model and test your application, the emulator lets your application use the services of the Android platform to invoke other applications, access the network, play audio and video, store and retrieve data, notify the user, and render graphical transitions and themes.

The emulator also includes a variety of debug capabilities, such as a console from which you can log kernel output, simulate application interrupts (such as arriving SMS messages or phone calls), and simulate latency effects and dropouts on the data channel.

Source: Google

Android™ will deliver a complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications. On November 12, we will release an early look at the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) to allow developers to build rich mobile applications.

Open

Android was built from the ground-up to enable developers to create compelling mobile applications that take full advantage of all a handset has to offer. It is built to be truly open. 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 built on the open Linux Kernel. Furthermore, it utilizes a custom virtual machine that has been designed to optimize memory and hardware resources in a mobile environment.

Android will be open source; it can be liberally extended to incorporate new cutting edge technologies as they emerge. The platform will continue to evolve as the developer community works together to build innovative mobile applications.All applications are created equal.

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. With devices built on the Android Platform, users will be able to fully tailor the phone to their interests. They can swap out the phone's homescreen, the style of the dialer, or any of the applications. They can even instruct their phones to use their favorite photo viewing application to handle the viewing of all photos.

Breaking down application boundaries

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.

Fast & easy application development

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. In addition, Android includes a full set of tools that have been built from the ground up alongside the platform providing developers with high productivity and deep insight into their applications.

Source: Android

The details on Google's gPhone Open Handset Alliance are coming to light. Here's what we know:

•They're hoping to make a better phone, ultimately. (And sell a ton of ads and services, of course, along the way.)
•Android, an open system for handset dev, is the first joint project and core product of the alliance.
•There are 34 members of the group, including NVIDIA, Intel, Texas Instruments, Synaptics (haptics!), Marvell, Qualcomm (chips), Motorola, Samsung, TMO, Sprint, LG, HTC, KDDI and DOCOMO from Japan and China Mobile Comm. Corp.. Basically, a lot of companies sick of Windows Mobile Slop and other closed up phone systems like the iPhone.

•Who's missing is interesting: Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Blackberry/RIM, Apple, Verizon, and AT&T. Oh, did I forget to mention Microsoft?
•Handsets coming in 2008, second half.
•Nov 12th, the Android early look SDK drops.
•Android built on Linux, made avail as open source via the Apache v2 License.

•Companies can dev custom functionality to Android without contributing the source code back to the community.
• HTC's first prototype is the dream. It's the first set of hardware details we've heard of.
•Chen's rounded up Gphone details from a couple of mainstream publications. There's nothing you haven't read above, but a few more quotes.
•Couple of Videos on the Android. One by devs, one by kids.

I'll update this post as more comes. Just got off a conference call, actually. No new details. This is the basic outline of what we have for now.

Source: Gizmodo

Google just officially announced the Open Handset Alliance to create an open platform (to be called Android) for a Linux phone that can run mobile Google apps and others. The 34 partners include T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel, NTT Docomo, China Mobile, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Motorola, Samsung, HTC, Qualcomm, Intel, and Google itself. No mention of Verizon, AT&T, Vodafone, or Nokia (which is pushing its own Ovi development platform). Here is the press release. Writes Andy Rubin, the man behind the Google Phone. :

Despite all of the very interesting speculation over the last few months, we’re not announcing a Gphone. However, we think what we are announcing — the Open Handset Alliance and Android — is more significant and ambitious than a single phone. In fact, through the joint efforts of the members of the Open Handset Alliance, we hope Android will be the foundation for many new phones and will create an entirely new mobile experience for users, with new applications and new capabilities we can’t imagine today

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.

Reports started trickling out last week that Google is ready to announce its Gphone, or rather Gphones. It is more a reference design, than a single phone. Android-based phones will start to come out on the market in the latter half of 2008 (from HTC at minimum). One mobile startup CEO I know says he was contacted on Friday by Google and given the final go-ahead to port his app onto Android, which his company has not even started to work on yet. The software development kit will be available on November 12. Today’s announcement is just that. There is nothing concrete here in terms of products or services, but going mobile represents a major growth opportunity for Google, which wants to bring the Internet (along with search and contextual ads) to your phone.

John Biggs at CrunchGear is liveblogging the conference call, and he is also streaming the audio

Here are my notes from the call:

Google CEO Eric Schmidt notes there are 3 billion mobile users. He says:

“We want to create a whole new experience for mobile users.”

“This will be the first fully-integrated software stack, including an operating system and middleware, being made available under the most liberal open-source license ever given to mobile operators [and handset makers].”

“This is not an announcement of a Gphone. We hope thousands of different phones will be powered by Android. This will make possible all sorts of applications that have never been made available on a mobile device.”

He think s a”lack of a collaborative effort” is what has been keeping back the mobile Web. Android will help developers reduce complexities and costs across different mobile devices.

“Mobile software complexity and cost is increasing, but mobile users want the same apps as they have on the Internet. Android will be able to deliver on this.”

Sergey Brin: “As I look at it I reflect, ten years ago I was sitting at a graduate student cubicle. We were able to build incredible things,. There was a set of tools that allowed us to do that. It was all open technologies. It was based on Linux, GNU, Apache. All those pieces and many more allowed us to do great things and distribute it to the world. That is what we are doing today, to allow people to innovate on today’s mobile devices. Today’s mobile devices are more powerful than those computers I was working on just ten years ago. I cannot wait to see what today’s innovators will build.”

No ad-supported phones, says Andy Rubin in Q&A: “Part of this Android solution is a very robust HTML Web browser, so there is really no difference between browsing on a phone [and on a PC]. Contrary to speculation, you won’t see a completely ad-driven phone on this platform for some time.” But he confirms that this plays into Google’s overall advertising strategy by bringing a more fully functioning Web browser to the handset. Notes that Android will require at minimum the equivalent of a 200 MHz ARM 9 processor. The platform is open source, and that will be its competitive advantage over other mobile platforms.

Schmidt: “The best model is to be open. that is what the Internet has taught us. The test of course is whether the applications and developers emerge. The reason we are announcing now is to make sure developers have time to make available applications that have never been available before but are common on Macs and PCs.”

And not that he is announcing anything, but: “If you were to build Gphone, you would build it on this platform.”

Qs about ability of carriers to lock down devices. Rubin: “When you free something into the open it is up to the industry to do something with it.” (i.e., it is not Google’s problem).

Q: “So if the industry wanted to create completely locked down devices, that would be possible?”

And Rubin: “Yes.”

Schmidt: “While that is possible, it is highly unlikely.” Uh-huh, what planet does he live on?

Q: Any overlap with OpenSocial?

Schmidt: “Google announces products whenever they are ready, and the teams are different. OpenSocial will be a framework that will run extremely well on Android for all the obvious reasons. Developers building interesting social apps will have the benefit of mobility as Android becomes widespread.”

Source: TechCrunch