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Print 42 comment(s) - last by BAFrayd.. on Nov 8 at 10:40 PM

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 Myspace.com -- 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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RE: Sweet !! :)
By retrospooty on 11/5/2007 1:22:36 PM , Rating: 4
Thats not really a question is it? No way in hell will you be able to upgrade. You cant even upgrade from one Palm OS device to another, what makes you think Palm, or more importantly, your carrier would make an upgrade available?


RE: Sweet !! :)
By ImmortalZ on 11/5/07, Rating: 0
RE: Sweet !! :)
By retrospooty on 11/5/2007 2:07:43 PM , Rating: 3
Can, yes. Will , no.

There will be no upgrading of old Treo's (or old Win Mobile devices for that matter) to the new competing OS. If you seriously think that will happen you know zero about the smartphone industry. Carriers control it all, not the phone makers, and they are not interested in updating older devices, none of them are.


RE: Sweet !! :)
By ImmortalZ on 11/5/2007 2:37:36 PM , Rating: 1
And who says carriers need to do it?

Check out projects like OpenEZX or OpenMoko. The only thing carriers do is have some customized skins + the GPRS/UMTS settings built into the phone with a simlock. Simlocks are easily removed. GPRS settings can be added back - it's not black magic.

If it's an open OS and the target device has enough users, people will find ways around whatever hurdles placed in their way. Hell, almost every good Motorola phone has a community around it - locked features are brought back in, carrier placed restrictions are removed - you name it, they'll be hacking it. HowardForums is an eye opening place.


RE: Sweet !! :)
By retrospooty on 11/5/2007 2:45:58 PM , Rating: 4
You do know that there is more to a smartphone than an arm processor right? They are all highly specific designs, not like windows, where you can just load a new OS because the hardware is standardized. You have to deal with the entire ROM, flash memory, radio, radio firmware, and many other aspects, each tiny little piece is custom.

It wont happen. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it just wont. Not on any older device, even an unlocked one. I do realize it is possible to do, of course it is, but the amount of labor and engineering it takes to do a complete ROM/OS for a smartphone (any smartphone) is not just a little too much for this type of undertaking, its WAY too much (think 100x as much as you think it is). The only way any team/company would elect to do it is of the money is there to fund it, and it wont even be on any previously released phone.


RE: Sweet !! :)
By stonemetal on 11/6/2007 9:20:16 AM , Rating: 1
What you don't realize is that it has already been done for a large number of phones. I once worked with a guy that had a hacked razor. While not a "smart" phone it does show that phone hacking is more than possible, it happens. Second to hack a device that already works you don't have to engineer a complete Rom/Os you take one that already works and tweak it to run.


RE: Sweet !! :)
By retrospooty on 11/8/2007 9:42:36 AM , Rating: 2
Taking an existing Palm ROM and hacking it, then reloading it is one thing, loading a whole new OS is totally another thing and wont be done. Not to the point where it works even half assed and is a sellable product.


RE: Sweet !! :)
By BAFrayd on 11/8/2007 10:40:25 PM , Rating: 2
You're right.
I'm sure Google, with all the genius-level folks working there, with billions of dollars for development, are simply too naive to realize it can't be done.
Hurry and call them, because I don't think there aware that you have defined the issue.


RE: Sweet !! :)
By UNCjigga on 11/5/2007 3:20:45 PM , Rating: 3
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought most of those projects are written on top of a phone's existing RTOS (the low-level code embedded on the device.) I imagine that Android might even use a different RTOS if it is truly "open"--that would be the IP Google acquired when they bought Android in 2005. Of course, writing an RTOS from scratch is next to impossible so they could be using Qualcomm REX.

Maybe the GSM world is different, but I know Treos/Moto Qs etc. on CDMA all use Qualcomm chipsets, and those all run some form of REX that Windows Mobile/Palm OS run on top of. If Android uses a different RTOS, it will require all-new devices. You won't be able to port it with just a hacked firmware.


RE: Sweet !! :)
By retrospooty on 11/5/2007 3:29:40 PM , Rating: 2
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought most of those projects are written on top of a phone's existing RTOS (the low-level code embedded on the device.)"

You are right, and there is a huge difference between taking an existing ROM/OS and modifying it and reloading it back to the same phone and making a whole new ROM/OS and loading it on a different phone. It just doesn't work that on smartphones. It micht if there was a standardized platform, but none exist, not even on similar devices from the same company (meaning you cant load a modified Treo 700 ROM to a Treo 650, much less a new OS platform altogether.


RE: Sweet !! :)
By euclidean on 11/5/2007 3:30:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not worried about my carrier. I've messed around with my phone a ton, not nearly as much as those who haxed iPhones, but enough that I know the possibilities. I've already switched my 650 from PalmOS to Windows Mobile2k5. It's fun getting to know the workings of your mobile smartphone and it's even more fun putting games and other software on it for free instead of paying $15+ to my carrier to get it. And it wasn't really a question, more a statement that let others think of the possibilities. If I really wanted it though and it wasn't out as an upgrade anywhere (not just the carriers) i'll just have work get me a new one. Easy as pie IMO ;)


RE: Sweet !! :)
By LiquidIce1337 on 11/7/2007 9:30:11 AM , Rating: 2
Do you have a guide or link to somewhere that offers information to convert a Treo 650 to windows mobile? I am very curious!


"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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