When Google announced that it was working on a phone
project, many fantasized
that it was making a "GPhone", similar to Apple
Inc.'s iPhone. Google surprised many when it was revealed that it was
creating a Linux-driven OS and development environment to compete with Symbian
mobile phone operating systems. Google is taking the project very
seriously and is offering
$10M to developers and startups to develop creative software for the
the Android SDK with much aplomb in November, confident it would rock the
industry -- it did for some extent. The platform gained strong
support from T-Mobile, HTC, Motorola, and other key industry players. It
has been opposed by
Verizon and AT&T, though, who were concerned that it would undercut
Now a new version of the SDK is out and with it is some
new improvements. The programming interfaces and development tools
have been updated to be more functional and easier to use. Google has
added a new OS user interface, which includes an OS X dock look-alike. It
has also added the capability to create layout animations
for applications. The phone now supports many more formats, including
OGG. It also includes geo-coding support and a new Eclipse plug-in.
What is really interesting is not so much the minor iterative details, but the
big picture of what Google is trying to do. With Android, Google is
emphasizing not only the importance of SDKs for phone operating systems, but
also the value of Java support for mobile applications. While Java seems
a natural fit for mobile applications, it was snubbed by Apple's Jobs and did
in the iPhone. Jobs was
quoted as saying, "Java’s not worth building in. Nobody uses
Java anymore. It’s this big heavyweight ball and chain."
However, many argue that the iPhone and iPod lineups onboard iTunes components
could be much better written and full featured if they were written in Java,
which was made for such cross-platform embedded scenarios. Google is
championing Java, and unlike other Java SDKs for mobile applications, is
letting programmers work with the phone on a deeper native level -- a
first. It feels that by doing this it can leave less full-featured phones
like the iPhone in the dust.
One key competitor to Google will be Sun's
own JavaFX Mobile SDK, which is currently under development. Where
Google basically uses its own brand of Java with “Dalvik” bytecode, Sun
supports traditional Java bytecode. This means that while Google's
Android SDK can run equally deep and full featured software to Sun's offerings,
there will be no working code base for it from legacy code.
Who will win the mobile phone industry -- Android SDK with an early launch and
lots of financial backing, or JavaFX Mobile SDK with its more traditional Java
support -- remains to be seen. However, it is clear that Google is very
committed to pushing both mobile SDKs and Java. Sun and Google are
certainly united on one issue -- that the iPhone and various other phone maker's
lack of native
Java support is a glaring, and ultimately fatal, flaw.
quote: It has been opposed by Verizon and AT&T, though, who were concerned that it would undercut their proprietary.