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The Google Android and the Open Handset Alliance

November 5, 2007 in Wireless Industry News

Google’s plans for the future have been unveiled to the world, and it starts with one word: “Android”.

Android was originally an eight-person startup that focused on building an open-source platform geared towards mobile phones, and was swallowed up by Google in 2005. Since then, the group has been “secretly” developing a software development kit and a Linux-based operating system to go with it.

How it works:

  • Google builds the operating system/SDK and assembles a group of software developers, telecoms, and manufacturers known as the “Open Handset Alliance”
  • Members of OHA donate source code or technical know-how to the rest of the group
  • Once the first Android-based phone is released, the intellectual property will be open to any wireless technology company
  • Group members will have about a year’s lead time on everyone else (first phone expected to be released in 6-12 months)

So what does everyone get out of this? Software developers can do their thing on one platform, vs having to deal with the likes of Symbian, Java (bleh), Windows Mobile, Blackberry, and other competing OS’s. Manufacturers save on software costs and licensing fees for the software side. Google gets yet another platform for its search engine, Checkout payment service (it’s integrated into the operating system), and ads.

The list of companies is pretty impressive – although Forbes call them mostly “second-tier” companies. Some of the bigger guns: HTC, LG, Samsung, Motorola, Intel, Texas Instruments, eBay, T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel, and China Mobile.

Missing from the list, of course, are Apple, Nokia, AT&T, and Verizon.

I have to admit, the whole idea is actually pretty exciting – even though we probably won’t see anything substantial until at least a year from now.

Google’s Call – Forbes



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