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Google has just announced its much anticipated mobile phone OS named Android and its Open Handset Alliance. Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.

Google rocked the mobile phone industry just hours ago when it announced the true face of its mobile phone efforts.  The operating system, named Android has been kept under tight wraps by Google, but DailyTech caught wind of it weeks ago.

Android OS, available in the second half of 2008, aims to provide a operating system, user interface and a broad array of mobile applications.  The OS is expected to directly compete with the market leading Symbian OS and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Mobile "Photon", scheduled for release in 2008.

Software Development Kits for Android will be available in within days -- on November 12.  Early support for third parties is very refreshing, in contrast to smartphone rival Apple Inc. whose mobile version of OS X denies third parties support until February 2008, due to "security reasons."

The Google Software Development Kit (SDK) promises to provide third party applications with robust tools and equal access to all the same capabilities that Google's first party applications enjoy.  Programmers can add capabilities based on the users contacts, calendar, or geographic location. 

Mashups, according to Google, are a must.

The OS also has some powerful industry support.  Thirty-four companies have formed the "Open Handset Alliance," which worked with Google to develop the OS and will continue to aid it is growth and release.  The alliance, of which Google is the founding member, features such communication giants as T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm and Motorola.

American carriers can look forward to Android accelerating development of new mobile services and also aiding hardware development by adding a foundation for wireless communication.

"Google has been an established partner for T-Mobile’s groundbreaking approach to bring the mobile open Internet to the mass market. We see the Android platform as an exciting opportunity to launch robust wireless Internet and Web 2.0 services for T-Mobile customers in the US and Europe in 2008," said René Obermann, Chief Executive Officer, Deutsche Telekom, parent company of T-Mobile.

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt also raved about the move, saying, "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."

While Schmidt attempts to downplay the significance of a Google Phone, the fact that the company anticipated forking over $4.6 billion for the 700 MHz wireless spectrum already confirms some kind of device is in the works.

Google Maps and GMail are currently available on many phones, and will be among the Google first party applications provided by Google.

The news follows a flurry of recent activity from Google.  Recently Google's wildly popular free email service, achieved premier status by implementing IMAP support, and Google also recently announced that it will soon be rolling out second iteration of GMail, dubbed "GMail 2.0".

As Google launches its OS into the mobile phone market, many may speculate how long it will be before the media giant decides to go for the jugular and take on Microsoft's Windows OS in the personal computer OS market.  After all Google has everything else -- news, a trans-Pacific digital lines project, a $30 million dollar moon project, videos, and a partnership with -- so why not a desktop OS?

A mobile phone OS seems to indicate Google phones are all but confirmed at this point.  However instead of a monolithic approach as with the Apple iPhone, impending Google ubiquity will likely come, at least at first, via third-party support.

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Details Details...
By jodhas on 11/5/2007 12:59:39 PM , Rating: 2
I keep on hearing that the Google OS is supposed to shape the mobile os industry for years to come. But I don't see any details. Google is doing a really good job of keeping everything under the lid.

I am happy to hear that T-Moble and HTC are lining with Google. This is certainly a good news. I've stayed away from Verizon for the longest time because of their proprietary menu and OS. I hope they ditch their current setup and go with the Google OS. But like I said, I want some details...screenshots... functions.....

RE: Details Details...
By JasonMick on 11/5/2007 1:04:27 PM , Rating: 6
A bit more information: its not in the article, but OS is open source and is using a modified version of the Apache License.

As to screenshots there is a general lack thereof. You can follow the links to watch two Google videos on the OS though.

Google has not released a list of specifications...what exactly it is supporting or offering. This will be coming in following months--I would hope at least.

I agree Google is being very very sneaky about this thing. With its backers though, this should be REAL big.

RE: Details Details...
By helios220 on 11/5/2007 1:42:46 PM , Rating: 2
There are quite a few links in the article, but I'm assuming you mean this one?:

Good suff, but no video of the OS/UI itself unless I missed something scanning through it, which is entirely possible.

RE: Details Details...
By UNCjigga on 11/5/2007 3:00:26 PM , Rating: 3
Real big? This has the potential to be HUGE. I'm very excited about this development. I think at the very least this platform and the iPhone will spur development of Advanced Device platforms. Apple, Microsoft, RIM and Palm should watch this VERY carefully.

Let's face it--in the past few years we haven't seen a lot of innovation in the mobile OS space. Windows Mobile, RIM OS and Palm have focused on push email/messaging integration and media player functionality--the core OS and UI hasn't really changed and the focus has always been enterprise users.

iPhone has helped blur the lines between advanced devices and standard feature phones, and brought a lot of innovation geared to making the device consumer-friendly. But we still haven't seen official 3rd-party app development beyond a few web apps, so beyond a few touchscreen UI tweaks it hasn't been enough to really stir up Microsoft or RIM. Android is different--it has the potential to be more of a direct threat to RIM and Microsoft's business models.

eBay's membership in the Alliance also has groundbreaking implications--if Android itself can support a unified mPayments platform--well that will be a first.

I still think there are a lot of questions to be answered on the mobile operator side. Looking at the Q&A from the conference call, it seems that mobile operators still have the power to control aspects of the platform. This is important to getting their support, though. No operator wants to be reduced to the role of IP backbone while application developers get all the revenue. They need to have a role in deploying premium services and content. I'm not sure how that will all pan out under Android.

RE: Details Details...
By crystal clear on 11/6/2007 12:37:35 AM , Rating: 2
Lets hear from the guys who were there -Details ...details...

Much of today's conference call for press/analysts sounded like vaporspeak to me. Empty promises scripted by marketing teams meant to make us think that something important had been announced, even though nothing really new was spoken of.

When asked what the operating system looked like, Schmidt said it was "awesome." Uh. Thanks. That's very descriptive. Google did say that the base software and SDK will be available next week. Hopefully we'll be able to get some screen shots to see what "awesome" really looks like.

They didn't provide any details such as whether or not there will be a gPhone, whether or not carriers will lock the platform down and make it unavailable for consumer customization, what types of hardware will we see, can it handle touch screen interfaces, and so on.

They did mention one word again and again and again. And that word was consumer. Android will be a platform to help get mobile applications and services onto the handset - services and applications most often used by consumers. Not enterprise types.

.....asked Schmidt how Google came up with the name Android for the platform. He deadpanned: "It seems rather lifeless to me."

RE: Details Details...
By crystal clear on 11/6/2007 1:42:41 AM , Rating: 1
.....asked Schmidt how Google came up with the name Android for the platform. He deadpanned: "It seems rather lifeless to me."

Embarassing !! he is not even aware that the new mobile OS called "Android" is a result of its acquisition of a mobile software company of the same name in 2005

Even more embarassing - He sits on the board of directors of Apple with its iPhone & at the same time works to bring in a competitor for the iPhone & Apple.

Clash of interest-Apple should fire him.

RE: Details Details...
By mlau on 11/5/2007 1:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm surprised HTC is on board. Although they are one of
the largest PDA-Phone makers they've generally been a
WindowsCE-only shop so far (didn't MS invest in them for showing so much blind faith?).

On the other hand, I'd love to have a TyTN-II with free software; WinCE is pretty much the worst software for a PDA anyway. Google's stuff can only be better since it wasn't
primarily designed by marketing droids.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
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