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Google Brings Us the Android Age of Mobile

Mobile is the next great frontier on the web for developers and users alike. Mega-companies like Microsoft and Apple have entered the mobile fray with strong platforms and services for their competing mobile devices. These devices use proprietary operating systems which means that new services and software have to come directly from the developer. Now search giant Google and the Open Handset Alliance are poised to reshape the mobile landscape with the open-source mobile operating system, Android. Android differs from windows mobile, iPhone, and Palm in that the code and SDK are freely available for download.

Rumors have been circulating for weeks of the possibility of a gPhone from Google, after it was confirmed that Google intended to enter the mobile space. This week Google announced that, rather than creating a new, dedicated, and proprietary device in a market saturated with such devices, they are offering a development platform that can be applied to any device. According to Google’s Sergey Brin (see the video below) the launch of the Android platform may lead to the creation of thousands of unique gPhones.

An open source platform on which to deliver software and services means an unprecedented level of flexibility in the mobile operating system. Users will conceivably have access to a host of applications developed by independent developers. Open source services and applications developed by third-parties notwithstanding the Android platform already offers a host of attractive features. Following are just a few of Android’s capabilities:

 

    • 3D graphics

 

    • touch-screen support

 

    • Browser

 

    • Maps

 

    • Contacts

 

    • Software interoperability: this means if you click on someone’s contact information within your mobile device running Android, it can automatically direct you to the maps application and show you the contact’s location.


This additional functionality works in conjunction with the standard phone operation, and Android has applications for making calls, sending text messages, and so on. On higher end devices Android takes advantage of any hardware acceleration for the creation of 3D graphics and animation, as long as the application has been written to the Android OpenGLS APIs. In the video embedded below Steve Horowitz demonstrates the 3D rendering capabilities of Android by playing Quake.

Google has now made the SDK and code available for download so developers may begin creating new applications and services for the Android platform. Google believes in supporting and rewarding the efforts of developers in creating new software and services for Android. To reward these efforts and show their appreciation for the contributions of developers Google has set aside $10 million to give to developers who create great applications for the Android.

Google’s entrance into the mobile web domain has the potential to change how we think of our mobile devices.

Google’s Video Introduction to Android:

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