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Multi-national alliance announces open platform for mobile devices


November 5, 2007

Open platform for mobile devices (Pictured: T-Mobile Sidekick)

Open platform for mobile devices (Pictured: T-Mobile Sidekick)

November 6, 2007 Some of the technology world’s biggest names have joined forces to announce the development of Android, the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. Android holds the promise of unprecedented benefits for consumers, developers and manufacturers of mobile services and devices by providing developers with a new level of openness that enables them to work more collaboratively and accelerate the pace at which new and compelling mobile services are made available to consumers.

Thirty-four companies including Google, eBay, LG, HTC, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sprint Nextel, Texas Instruments and T-Mobile 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.

Although there are nearly 3 billion mobile phone users worldwide, the lack of a collaborative effort has made it a challenge for developers, wireless operators and handset manufacturers to respond as quickly as possible to the ever-changing needs of savvy mobile consumers. Through Android they believe they will be better positioned to bring to market innovative new products faster and at a much lower cost with the end result of an unprecedented mobile platform that will enable wireless operators and manufacturers to give their customers better, more personal and more flexible mobile experiences.

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. Developers will have complete access to handset capabilities and tools that will enable them to build more compelling and user-friendly services, bringing the Internet developer model to the mobile space. And consumers worldwide will hopefully have access to less expensive mobile devices that feature more compelling services, rich Internet applications and easier-to-use interfaces.

"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."

The Android platform will be made available under a progressive, developer-friendly open-source license, 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 applications for the platform. By providing developers a new level of openness that enables them to work more collaboratively, the alliance believes Android will accelerate the pace at which new and compelling mobile services are made available to consumers.

Consumers should expect the first phones and services based on Android to be available in the second half of 2008 while an early look at the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) will be available on November 12th.

For further info visit Open Handset Alliance.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick
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