Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Google's Android

So, guess what. This is probably the one-millionth blog posting about the "Android" platform that Google and its partners announced today. Still, I'm set on adding my thoughts on today's developments, even if it's just for the sake of getting them out of my head.

I know some people are probably going to be disappointed that Google didn't announce a gPhone but I actually think that Android has a bigger chance of improving mobile phones than any single device would have had.

Now what exactly is Android? While there aren't any real details available at the moment the Official Google Blog gives a brief overview of what it's all about:

"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."

The interesting thing here is that Google has teamed up with 30+ other companies to really push Android. Some notable partners are HTC, LG, Marvell, Motorola, Nvidia, Samsung, T-Mobile and Texas Instruments. I'm sure we're going to see more companies join the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) over the coming months.

I have to say that this might just be the best thing that has happened to mobile phones in a long time! As previously mentioned I've kept a close eye on the (slow) progress that the OpenMoko platform and its flagship product, the FIC Neo 1973 have made in the past months. The thing is that I really like the idea of having a common software platform for mobile phones and if executed well this development could really improve both the quantity and quality of mobile phone applications and services.

I was also interested to hear what my friends Igor and John of LiveVote.ca fame were thinking (btw, you guys should set up a poll about what people think of Android!). They both replied basically saying the same thing: show us the SDK (which should become available Monday, November 12th) and then we'll see how potent the whole thing really is.

By the way, Apple probably isn't too thrilled about the whole thing because it just mocks them and their decision to lock down the iPhone. Plus now their February date for the iPhone SDK will also look like too-little-too-late! Seems like Steve Jobs really made the wrong decision here... On the other hand OpenMoko will also have to speed up their development because otherwise they might find themselves in a race they simply can't win.

All in all I haven't felt this optimistic about the future of mobile phones in a long time. We definitely have some very interesting times ahead of us!

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