I’ve been following Google’s Android platform on and off for awhile now, but lately the buzz is starting to pick up. For those not in the know, Android is Google’s new software platform for mobile phones.
Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications.
The great thing about Android is that it’s open and any developer can create applications for it. Google actually has a competition going and there is already a list of the top 50 apps announced along with 10 million dollars that will go towards the top developers. The Android site has slides of the first applications to arrive (PDF).
Of course you cannot create a mobile device these days without a touch screen. One of the video’s at Android Community shows a cool touch unlock system where you slide your fingers in a pattern of your choice to unlock the phone. The software uses a mobile version of their search engine with access to Gmail, calendar and other applications.
Android uses WebKit as it’s browser rendering engine which is the Open Source web standards compliant engine used in Apple’s Safari, so we can expect a rock solid web experience similar to Safari on the iPhone and iTouch.
There will also be all kinds of other goodies like Media support, WiFi, Blue Tooth, OpenGL for 3D hardware acceleration and a lot more which you can find on the official What is Android page.
Who supports Android? Well check out the Open Handset Alliance members, right now there are over 50 members, and most of them are recognizable names like Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Intel, nVidia, etc, etc. It’s great to see everyone working together to innovate instead of locking and closing everything up. We have already seen what open collaboration can do with open source, now it’s time for transparency and openness to be embraced at the corporate level.
With the release of the Apple iPhone and BlackBerry Bold just around the corner for Canadians, now I have to ask myself yet another question, do I wait even longer to see what Android holds for us? I guess I could end up waiting forever if I’m always waiting for the next best thing, but Google is a company that I admire and they seem to be doing everything right.