Android is the name of the open mobile OS announced by Google last week.
As expected, Android code and SDK has been released today. Lots of people have been talking about it lately and I’ve to admit, from the various screenshots I’ve seen so far, that the UI does not seem that bad for a first release — even if it looks at bit iPhone-ish.
According to Engadget the OS comes with interesting features built-in, such as:
- Webkit-based browser
- Optimized Java runtime (Google’s Dalvik VM)
- Threaded text messaging
- MPEG-4, h.264, MP3, and AAC file formats
- Accelerated 3D graphics
A friend told me that the bundled Java runtime is a full J2SE stack and not J2ME. That might not be a coincidence with Sun recently expressing the will to get rid of J2ME in favor of J2SE. I’m wondering if Apple has a plan to include Java with the iPhone SDK.
The inclusion of Webkit made me smile. It’s irony that Apple’s code will power one of their direct competitor — but that’s how open source work, I guess.
Developers, Developers, Developers !
$10 million in awards for the best app built on Android. It’s the developer challenge Google announced with the released.
Google is going to do anything in their power to attract as many developers as possible and get a first killer app. But wihout any real hardware — at least until end of 2008 — I don’t get the point except for the proof of concept and developer feedback.
The Open Handset Alliance
Alongside with Android, Google also announced the Open Handset Alliance initiative, a gathering of partners in the mobile industry.
Maybe I’m wrong and Android could change everything, but I’m quite skeptical. What’s interesting though, is that with two big consumer companies (Apple and Google) on the playground, the mobile industry could make a giant leap forward anyways.
- Google Android, We Want Developers But by Robert Scoble.
- How Google Routed Around Sun’s IP-based Licensing Restrictions on Java ME by Stefano Mazzocchi.