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Google's Android overview.  (Source: Google)
Android Developer Challenge offers phone programmers a chance at big bucks

For only having been announced one week ago, the Google Android handset operating system from Google and the Open Handset Alliance has been generating a lot of fevered press statements, blog postings and dreams for developers and consumers. Google has now made the Android SDK available for download for -- you guessed it -- free.

Android applications are written in Java and run on a specialized virtual machine, which then runs on a Linux 2.6 kernel. Rather than using the GPL license, Android is currently licensed under the Apache v2 open-source license, which allows for innovations and features to be kept proprietary.

Supporting Windows, Intel Macs and i386-based Linux OSes, the Android SDK not only gives developers a chance to familiarize themselves with the environment before the first handsets are launched in the second half of 2008, but it also gives them a chance to collect their share of $10 million in prizes in the first Android Developer Challenge.

The first challenge will take place between January 2nd and March 3rd, 2008, with the fifty most promising entries each receiving $25,000 "to fund further development" and a shot at one of ten prizes of $275,000 or one of ten $100,000 prizes.

A slide from the Android presentation materials shown here makes it very clear that Google isn't interested in playing second fiddle to Apple, Nokia, or Microsoft -- with media playback, OpenGL ES, an ultra-light SQL database library included in the OS, and a mantra of "All applications are created equal" Google seems primed to make more than a small entrance into the mobile market later next year.

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No GUI Designer?
By TomZ on 11/12/2007 2:19:38 PM , Rating: 2
Taking a quick look at the information provided by Google, it looks like Android is lacking a GUI designer of any sort. You seem to have to write code to instantiate and place GUI widgets.

Although consistent with "state of the art" for Java apps, I think that in light of the iPhone's emphasis on a high-quality GUI, Android seems to be lacking quite a bit in that department. It's also nowhere near the level of where Microsoft is with Visual Studio and Windows Mobile. Android doesn't seem to do anything to help folks develop apps with a innovative or appealing user experience.

But, I guess it's not really about the product - it's about the branding and the partners.

RE: No GUI Designer?
By subhajit on 11/12/2007 2:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
I think they use XML based layout design. It should not be that hard to create a plug in for designing GUI. It is an open platform, so I guess a lot of cool dev tools will appear once developers start creating more and more complicated applications. The UI on a phone application should not be very complicated anyway.

RE: No GUI Designer?
By dever on 11/13/2007 1:28:50 PM , Rating: 2
Not complicated... highly refined. Thus, the desire for a GUI designer.

RE: No GUI Designer?
By stmok on 11/14/2007 5:34:34 AM , Rating: 2
Well, let's see TomZ. We all know you're highly reliant and greatly favour MS solutions. The thing is, this is NOT an MS solution promoting the MS way of doing things. So why bother mentioning it? Have you tried the Android SDK? Have you not seen the demo videos of the prototype? Clearly not.

It feels like you only see the MS way of doing things as the best way for everything. Guess what?! There's actually something outside of MS!

This is Google using the opensource development model in application software development for phones.

Its one up on the iPhone, because Apple needs such developers, and Google has just solved this very issue. (via opensource and forming the Open Handset Alliance.)

When it comes to opensource, we all know one thing about you. You don't know jack. ie: Never tried opensource yourself, but willing to criticise based on what you hear and read about it.

Seriously dude. Get off your Microsoft horse and think outside the box.

Here's a video presentation of the Android solution in action.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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