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