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Google Announces Android, Linux Based Mobile OS

Google AndroidGoogle today has announced its plans for a new open source based mobile operating system. The new platform called Android is backed by the new Open Handset Alliance, a multinational alliance of technology and mobile industry leaders.

Thirty-four companies have formed the Open Handset Alliance, which aims to develop technologies that will significantly lower the cost of developing and distributing mobile devices and services. The Android platform is the first step in this direction, a fully integrated mobile "software stack" that consists of an operating system, middleware, user-friendly interface and applications. Google says that consumers should expect the first phones based on Android to be available in the second half of 2008.

The Android platform will be made available under the Apache v2 license, one of the most progressive, developer-friendly open-source licenses, which gives mobile operators and device manufacturers significant freedom and flexibility to design products. Next week the Alliance will release an early access software development kit to provide developers with the tools necessary to create innovative and compelling applications for the platform. Google says an early look at the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) will be available on November 12th.

Current members of the Open Handset Alliance include: Google Inc., T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm, Motorola, Marvell, Broadcom, Sprint, Wind River, LG, Samsung, Texas Instruments and many others.

Palm Inc is notably absent from the list at this time. Both Palm and the former PalmSource, now owned by Access, have been developing their own separate mobile Linux based operating systems.

"This partnership will help unleash the potential of mobile technology for billions of users around the world. A fresh approach to fostering innovation in the mobile industry will help shape a new computing environment that will change the way people access and share information in the future," said Google Chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt. "Today's announcement is more ambitious than any single 'Google Phone' that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we're unveiling will power thousands of different phone models."

Google will be holding a press conference later today where they are expected to release more details about Android. They have also posted a short video about the motivations behind Android here.

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That's gonna be before Palm's!

Jayy @ 11/5/2007 12:15:11 PM # Q
Second half of 08... somehow this doesn't seem to sound too long to wait.

RE: That's gonna be before Palm's!
pmjoe @ 11/5/2007 1:52:47 PM # Q
Given that there is supposed to be an Android SDK out next week, it does "feel" much more close. But it's hard to guess how this will play out when it actually comes to devices on the market. The way the market currently works in the US, Palm having a more "closed" device will likely get it in the hands of the big carriers (Verizon, AT&T) much more quickly ... but who knows, Google has plenty of power and money to put behind it, and T-Mobile and Sprint are likely excited to get the first "gPhones" out to market.

RE: That's gonna be before Palm's!
Tuckermaclain @ 11/5/2007 3:00:32 PM # Q
Yeah, maybe, but will there be a Blacktie edition or a ruby red one? LOL

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The promise of a modern mobile OS...

princehifi @ 11/5/2007 1:15:34 PM # Q
I hope Google hits a homerun with this mobile OS. Palm owned the mobile space for so long and has completely dropped the ball. I am already running Google Maps, the G-Mail prc and YouTube video (via Kinoma) on my TX. I'm going to see what else Google has for mobile apps (Google Docs) and get a taste for what they are thinking. I'm hoping for a PDA-sized Google OS mobile computing device: VOIP, 480x320 touchscreen, that could plug into a docking station for full screen, keyboard, mouse etc. Hopefully this Google mobile OS can give hope where Palm has utterly failed.
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Looks like this is the end

megazone @ 11/5/2007 3:11:44 PM # Q
I've been a Palm OS user since 1998 - Palm IIIx -> Visor Deluxe -> Clie NZ-90 -> Treo 650 -> Treo 680. I've been very happy with Palm OS to date, but it is getting old.

As of right now, I plan to jump to Android when the phones are available next year. Even if Palm gets their Linux platform out, I'm sure Android will attract more developers because of the breadth of the alliance. And I expect to have more choices in phones because multiple HW vendors are involved.

I think Palm would be better off dropping their in-house OS and adopting Android as their platform going forward. Because of the Apache v2 license for Android, they'd still be able to bring over Palm-style PIM features, etc, to differentiate their products. While at the same time benefiting from a platform with broad support.

But if they fail to do so, I look forward to some slick hardware from HTC, etc, running Android.

-MegaZone, megazone@megazone.org
Personal Homepage http://www.megazone.org/
Eyrie Productions FanFic http://www.eyrie-productions.com/

RE: Looks like this is the end
happyPalm @ 11/5/2007 3:35:25 PM # Q
are you freaking crazy? drop their Linux OS. think how much they have spent getting the linux OS already. A better solution is get this dog on the market. any more delays will spell death to Palm.

RE: Looks like this is the end
WauloK @ 11/7/2007 9:26:32 PM # Q
I don't care if Palm takes Android or another mobile OS, but it'd beat trying to do it themselves.
They could have used all that BeOS IP to do something fantastic 6 years ago!
Palm needs to give up on making OS's and concentrate on devices and applications. They do that and they have a chance. In the meantime they are losing more and more customers to Windows Mobile, UIQ, OpenMoko and now Android! Who is going to wait another 2 years for Yet Another Mobile OS [tm]?

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Hahaha! It's Symbian, Take Two!

mikecane @ 11/5/2007 4:11:28 PM # Q
Yeah, good luck with that, guys.

Well, not really.

RE: Hahaha! It's Symbian, Take Two!
mikecane @ 11/5/2007 4:15:36 PM # Q
>>>Handset manufacturers and wireless operators will be free to customize Android in order to bring to market innovative new products faster and at a much lower cost.

Nope, I was wrong. It's worse than Symbian.

Hey, devs, have fun writing to 50 billion proprietary UIs.

I think Colligan is actually dancing a jig today! Go, Ed, go. (But, yes, you still must RESIGN!)

RE: Hahaha! It's Symbian, Take Two!
Gekko @ 1/23/2011 7:30:00 AM # Q

Con - any more predictions?


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The Android preliminary SDK is available

SeldomVisitor @ 11/12/2007 3:36:18 PM # Q
Plus more.

RE: The Android preliminary SDK is available
Ryan @ 11/12/2007 4:50:27 PM # Q
RE: The Android preliminary SDK is available
palmato @ 11/12/2007 5:51:07 PM # Q
I'm trying this out.
It's basically a Java class library which provides most of what is available under standard java (java.* and javax.*) with the notable exception of awt. In fact there's a whole new tree which provides services for the UI, phone features, graphics, audio, etc.
Which means: a whole new UI to study and no compatibility with standard java applications. On the other hand this has nothing to with the java that is available on most phones: this is more complex and more powerful.

In the newsgroup there's a hot discussion about lack of support for native C/C++. While google hasn't ruled out such a possibility, the initial SDK only provides support for java applications. Many developers feel that this is a severely limiting factor, both for performance reasons and support of their current code base.

Performance is a complex issue. AFAIK no consumer device has yet been optimized to run a jvm fast: an android device may yield some surprises.
Legacy code on other hand will become less relevant if android gets a large enough market share, which would make porting profitable enough. However in the meantime that could be quite a big issue especially since the platform is a new one.

The sdk is available for windows and requires java to run. It includes a emulator running a browser, contacts and a couple of other applications. An eclipse plugin is included though I did not have the chance to try it out. Not even for an hello world thing, shame on me....


--------------------------
Hey Admin: Why do we have to keep two profiles?

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RE: Speaking of Android...
twrock @ 2/28/2008 8:02:36 PM # Q
Hmm..., wasn't someone just recently trying to tell us that Palm could ship an Android device "right now"?

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." (Inigo Montoya)


"twrock is infamous around these parts"
(from my profile over at Brighthand due to my negative 62 rep points rating)

RE: Speaking of Android...
Poopie @ 2/28/2008 9:18:47 PM # Q
hmm... well the prospects of running Android on HackNDev's Linux for existing Palm models look slim...

http://hackndev.com/node/103

RE: Speaking of Android...
akalefty @ 2/28/2008 9:57:28 PM # Q
Evidently, Engadget hasn't been reading the Android developers' lists, either. There's an awful lot of unhappiness, it seems, with the mc5 SDK versus the initial mc3 version. In particular, the emulator seems slower, more resource-hungry and less stable.

I don't believe Google could ship an Android device "right now": Android seems as though it's got a fair distance to go until it's really "ready for prime-time".

RE: Speaking of Android...
TreoAnon @ 2/29/2008 12:47:12 PM # Q
At least they have a development environment and emulator out there so people can be learning it and developing third party applications!

Android may not beat Lefty's ALP or Palm's new system (aka Nova) out onto the market, but they will have a nine month lead in the third party arena, and that's pretty scary.

I wonder when we will see an Android port of its Java system to the iPhone?

RE: Speaking of Android...
SeldomVisitor @ 2/29/2008 1:04:50 PM # Q
> ...I wonder when we will see an Android port of its Java system to the iPhone?

Check back March 6th.

RE: Speaking of Android...
akalefty @ 3/2/2008 8:47:00 AM # Q
Check back in March 2009, you mean, when Google's released (with any luck) the Android sources. Running it as a "black box" on your iPhone is not going to be terribly interesting, particularly since there's no way that Apple's going to give you access to the information you need to really tie it into the hardware. Without the release of the Android sources on the one hand (which won't happen, according to Google, before phones ship) and real access to the iPhone hardware and drivers (which won't happen at all, if Apple has its way), Android on an iPhone is going to be a complete non-starter...

As far as any "lead" on the Android SDK goes, we've had an SDK in the hands of developers, in one form or another, for over a year now. We only just made it generally available, but we've been pre-seeding "fast-track" developers with it for a good while now.

As I say, check out the Android mailing lists. The SDK for Android's been in people's hands for a fair while now, and I have yet to see any really interesting or significant applications coming out of people's efforts there...

RE: Speaking of Android...
SeldomVisitor @ 3/2/2008 9:24:49 AM # Q
The SDK for ALP's been in people's hands for a fair while now, and we have yet to see any really interesting or significant applications coming out of people's efforts there...

RE: Speaking of Android...
TreoAnon @ 3/2/2008 10:09:14 AM # Q
After the Cobalt and PalmOS-on-Linux non-releases, everyone who would develop applications is seriously gun-shy about putting significant effort onto anything that runs on an OS developed by Access.

On another point... I wasn't earlier talking about Android on the iPhone, just the Android Java environment on the iPhone, which would only require good access to the SDK so it could be ported from Linux to Apple's version of BSD Unix. Those following the Android saga know that developers are being told to implement their application in the Android Java environment, and I can't see any reason that couldn't be ported to the iPhone.

RE: Speaking of Android...
akalefty @ 3/2/2008 10:14:59 AM # Q
Well, you haven't been paying attention, then. We've got a full suite of Orange Signature Accelerator Program applications running on the i800. We've demoed a variety of them at tradeshows over the past year, including the "Orange TV" television streaming application from Blue Streak, several games (including "Bejeweled") from Astraware, and a number of other things...

We've also got our own applications, of course, including the browser, the full PIM suite, Garnet VM emulator, etc. Even the applications coming out of Google, as part of their own development efforts, are pretty sketchy in comparison...


RE: Speaking of Android...
akalefty @ 3/2/2008 10:24:15 AM # Q
...everyone who would develop applications is seriously gun-shy about putting significant effort onto anything that runs on an OS developed by Access.

For small values of "everyone", maybe. Do you have some data to back that up, or are you simply making it up because you think it sounds good...?

Fact is, we've had something like 5,000 downloads of the SDK in the week or two it's been generally available. Here's a nice (and representative) quote from Rob Savoye, the author of GNASH and CEO of the Open Media Now! Foundation:

As a long time embedded GNU/Linux developer using traditional cross compiling tools and other development tools like Maemo, Open Embedded, Scratchbox, MobLin, etc., ALP is the best of these environments I've used. I often have to drop back to building all my own toolchains to get everything to work correctly, with ALP I haven't had to do so, it's just worked.


RE: Speaking of Android...
akalefty @ 3/2/2008 10:41:08 AM # Q
...just the Android Java environment on the iPhone, which would only require good access to the SDK so it could be ported from Linux to Apple's version of BSD Unix...

How do you figure? For starts, Android uses its own (completely non-standard) graphics stack called "Surface Manager", which no one's ever seen previously (and which you won't be able to look at for a year, most likely); you'd need to either take that along in toto (or rewrite Dalvik to tie into the iPhone's presumably Quartz-like interaction stack) at the very least.

Once you've got that taken care of, you'll need to adapt Android's component brokerage architecture (of which only the driver portion's been released as source and would itself need to be rewritten to work with the Darwin kernel); I guess rewriting the entire user space (neither available as source, nor documented) for that would keep you occupied while you're waiting for Google to actually release some of their soi-disant "open source platform"...

That's just two examples of the difficulties such an effort would face. There are certainly others.

See, the bottom line is that there are no Android sources to be "ported", and there won't be for a year, most likely. Beyond that, the overall architecture is completely nonstandard, once you get outside of the Linux kernel.

It's unclear how much access to the graphics and interaction stack will be allowed from the iPhone SDK; it's certain that adapting Android to anything without the underlying sources won't be easy, straightforward or, ultimately, terribly useful.


RE: Speaking of Android...
TreoAnon @ 3/2/2008 3:37:49 PM # Q
...everyone who would develop applications is seriously gun-shy about putting significant effort onto anything that runs on an OS developed by Access.

For small values of "everyone", maybe. Do you have some data to back that up, or are you simply making it up because you think it sounds good...?

From the Palm Entrepreneurs Forum and the widespread distrust of Access's ability to get an OS product onto shipping hardware. A number of third party developers were burnt quite badly by the Cobalt disaster and have learned to wait to see the hardware on shelves before committing scarce development resources. It doesn't help that Access (formerly PalmSource) have occasionally announced licensing deals for both Cobalt and ALP that failed to ever get onto a shipping product.

Access has a very large credibility gap which can be closed only if you can finally deliver ALP on viable, volume hardware. Do that and we will applaud you!

RE: Speaking of Android...
akalefty @ 3/2/2008 6:05:33 PM # Q
Do that and we will applaud you!

Nah, ya won't. You'll whine about that, too.

=D

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Google's Schmidt On Why Android Exists

Gekko @ 3/17/2008 9:54:23 PM # Q

On Why Android [Mobile Operating System] Exists:

Most of the older mobile operating systems were not really designed for modern Web use. They don't run the internet applications right. Many companies are looking for an inexpensive, Web-based operating system for their upcoming mobile devices that's based on open systems—Linux, in this case. [Android] has a full browser, it has Java support, and it's being marketed to the software developers to build new applications. We don't know what a lot of those are going to be, but the most interesting ones will probably combine social activity and location.

http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/3/google_s_schmidt_softens_ludicrous_stance_on_microsoft_yahoo

RE: Google's Schmidt On Why Android Exists
Gekko @ 3/17/2008 9:55:12 PM # Q

frankengarnet?

RE: Google's Schmidt On Why Android Exists
mikecane @ 3/18/2008 8:54:03 AM # Q
It will be worse than FrankenGarnet. Go ahead, Schmidt, tell us all how Android apps will run on all phones, from the $20 cheapies to the $600 high-ends.

Yeah, right. Symbian Mark II.

RE: Google's Schmidt On Why Android Exists
Gekko @ 3/19/2008 8:27:22 AM # Q
>Most of the older mobile operating systems were not really designed for modern Web use. They don't run the internet applications right.

i wonder if he's talking about OS's like frankengarnet. a 1996 OS cobbled and hacked together to limp along in the modern world.

RE: Google's Schmidt On Why Android Exists
mikecane @ 3/19/2008 10:31:34 AM # Q
Or ALP?

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