Feeds

Google's gives the world (another) Linux phone OS

SDK next week, phones next year

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

Google has unveiled its phone platform, Android. It's yet another Linux OS, freely licensed, and will appear in devices in the second half of next year. Google has signed up over 30 partners including Qualcomm, Motorola, HTC and operators including Deutsche Telekom for the "Open Handset Alliance".

CEO Eric Schmidt described it as "the first truly open platform for mobile devices." Android, named after the start-up company Google acquired in 2005, encompasses middleware and applications as well as the base kernel. An SDK is promised for download next Monday under an Apache license. However, the ad-supported model will take a while to shake out.

"Contrary to a lot of speculation out there, we won't see a completely ad-driven cellphone based on Android for quite some time," said Andy Rubin.

If this all sounds a bit familiar, it's because it is.

Two such alliances appeared in 2005, and two more this year. The LIMO Alliance, backed by NTT DoCoMo, Motorola and Samsung was unveiled in January. ARM announced yet another industry Linux OS coalition just a month ago.

Despite clocking up a healthy air miles account for all involved, real momentum has stalled for Linux on mobile phones: you'll look for a 3G Linux phone in vain, today. Motorola made a strategic bet on open source in 2003 but discovered that integration complexity and costs outweighed the advantages: the company recently returned to Symbian for its smartphones. Nevertheless a wide alliance of industry backers have come to Google's launch.

Currently Symbian dominates the smartphone business. It's painfully built-up almost a decade's worth of integration expertise in giving manufacturers what they want, including a successful Japanese business where carriers dominate. Symbian's chief technical advantage today is the platform's maturity, and more recently, its real-time kernel. This permits manufacturers to build lower-cost single-chip phones, while running their older proprietary baseband stacks as an OS personality.

With Nokia, whose volume drives lower component costs, pushing Symbian into its midrange feature phones, Android faces a stiff challenge competing in this market.

And as we pointed out earlier this today, it isn't clear that failure of rich mobile data services is due to anything on the supply side - people just don't find them very useful.

There's a significant gap, however, for "two box" solutions that only Blackberry and Apple fill today, as phone companions. Rubin said the system requirements supported QWERTY and large screen sizes, and Schmidt hinted at bringing the PC experience to mobile devices.

Android may yet find a niche in which to flourish. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.