"Gphone": Meet Android, Google’s Mobile Phone

Nov 06, 2007

Google’s mobile phone has been dubbed Android and is actually an Open Source platform with an operating system and applications.

After months of speculation about the "Gphone", the search engine giant has now released tangible details of the project. Instead of a feature-loaded mobile phone the mobile project is an operating system platform called Android, which the Open Handset Alliance project will be promoting. "Android is more significant and ambitious than a single phone", says Andy Rubin, Google’s Director for Mobile Platforms in his blog.

Android is Google’s term for a Linux operating system, desktop and applications. Google purchases the software basis in August 2007 in the form of Andy Rubin’s company. Now, Andy Rubin heads the Mobile Platforms team in Google’s development department and has published a Youtube video introducing the Gphone aka Android along with the members of the project team. Rubin writes "We have developed Android in cooperation with the Open Handset Alliance, which consists of more than 30 technology and mobile leaders including Motorola, Qualcomm, HTC and T-Mobile."

Rubin goes on to describe Android as the "first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices" promising "all of the software to run a mobile phone, but without the proprietary obstacles that have hindered mobile innovation." Google hopes to achieve faster development cycles and more freedom of choice thanks to the open platform. Google refers to Android as an important part of its strategy to provide information on a platform-independent basis.

Google is looking to release a Software Development Kit (SDK) for developers in about a week’s time. Consumer devices based on Android are due for release in the second half of 2008. And Sun boss Jonathan Schwartz has already announced his support. Sun will be seeking to provide a matchin developer environment for Android on the basis of Sun’s Netbeans Java developer tools.

This announcement sees Google join the race to deliver a Linux-based mobile platform and to find other enterprises to back the project up. UK-based processor manufacturer ARM is working on a similar project with six partners including Montavista, an embedded Linux system vendor. Competitor Intel announced a Linux operating system on the basis of Ubuntu for x86-based mini PCs dubbed Mobile Internet Devices MID in April 2007.

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