November 21, 2007

Android

Google this week did as most predicted and released details of it's new mobile software platform called Android. At the press conference Google said that ' Android will deliver a complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middle-ware and key mobile applications.'

Android is built on the open Linux Kernel, which means the project is open source, so can be extended to incorporate new cutting edge technologies as they emerge. Android, according to Google, '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. 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.'

Along with Android, Google also announced the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), billed as 'a group of mobile and technology leaders who share this vision for changing the mobile experience for consumers.' With 34 members like HTC, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Google, Intel, Sprint, T-Mobile and NTT DoCoMo Google has lined up some serious industry players.

Google has convinced some of its partners that including a Google OS on their mobile phone is a good idea because it means they can focus on designing and marketing the phone, while Google takes care of the user experience. Partners in the OHA like it because Android will be available to them for free.

Importantly for Google, a play into the mobile phone space means that more consumers will have access to Google technologies, and hence Google advertising. Remember, the more traffic Google gets, the more it can charge its advertisers. And if Google are behind the operating system then all of its programs, like Google Maps and Gmail will be included in the Android platform.

Google plan to make an early software developers release of Android available in the next month, however the first devices that will ship with Android will be available from mid 2008.