Google Android Invasion…
T-minus 24 hours until Android arrives. Less than a year after announcing Android, the open-source phone operating system intended to jump-start the mobile Internet, Google began sharing the project’s underlying source code. The Android Open Source Project site includes a project list, a feature description, a guides to the roles people can have in the project and how to contribute, and of course the Android source code itself.
From IDG News Service:
Google planned to announce on Tuesday that the source code for its mobile operating system, Android, is now available for anyone to use free.
The move was expected, although the timing was uncertain.
Developers can find the source code on the Web site for the Android Open Source Project.
“An open-sourced mobile platform, that’s constantly being improved upon by the community and is available for everyone to use, speeds innovation, is an engine of economic opportunity and provides a better mobile experience for users,” said Andy Rubin, senior director of mobile platforms for Google, in a statement.
But Google’s model for Android has some critics. The LiMo Foundation, which publishes specifications for middleware for mobile Linux devices, and of which Google is not a member, says that Google’s model might be too open.
Google has one team of programmers building the software and another professional services group to help support phone makers building Android phones. Now, though, as T-Mobile’s G1 arrives on the market, Google hopes to multiply that by drawing upon the collective energy of outside contributors to the project.
“Our plan is a launching point for a much more vibrant open-source community,” said Rich Miner, vice president of Google’s mobile platforms business. “For the past almost four years, this has been a large effort between Google and our partners. There have been a lot of people working on the code, but that’s going to be multiplied by several orders of magnitude.”
Open-source software can be freely used, modified, and redistributed by anyone, freedoms that make it a daunting competitor to proprietary software companies that charge for the code. Although open-source software rarely has been the sole basis for a thriving company, it can be a powerful tool to aid a broader agenda. Sophisticated technology companies such as IBM, Oracle, and even Apple often subsidize open-source projects for that reason, and Android fits into that category.
The first Google Android phone isn’t yet on the market but the G1 goes on sale in the U.S. from T-Mobile tomorrow. Journalists were first able to publish their reviews of the phone last week.
Here’s the press release from Google:
Google and the Open Handset Alliance Announce Android Open Source Availability
Today, Google and the Open Handset Alliance announced the availability of the Android platform source code to everyone, for free, under the new Android Open Source Project. This represents the first truly open and fully featured mobile platform which will enable people to create a mobile device without restrictions, build applications that run on Android powered devices, and contribute to the core platform.
As an open source project, anyone can contribute to Android and influence its direction. It means that anyone can download, build, and run the code needed to create a complete mobile device. With an open source platform, developers, OEMs, carriers and code contributors are given the opportunity to build faster, cheaper and more innovative devices and services.
Android is a complete, end-to-end software platform that can be adapted to work on any number of hardware configurations. Having an open source mobile platform will dramatically reduce the time and resources required to bring mobile devices to market. Handset manufactures can access a complete, full featured mobile stack without any barriers and get a head-start in creating as contemporary a device that they want to build. Developers for the first time can contribute code, with a full set APIs that allows the platform to host applications written by third-party developers and carriers can offer faster, cheaper and more innovative devices and services.
“Open source allows everyone and anyone equal access to the ideas and innovation that can make good products great,” said Andy Rubin, senior director of mobile platforms, Google. “An open sourced mobile platform, that’s constantly being improved upon by the community and is available for everyone to use, speeds innovation, is an engine of economic opportunity and provides a better mobile experience for users.
With the availability of Android to the open source community, consumers will start to see more applications like location-based travel tools, games and social networking offerings available to them directly; cheaper and faster phones at lower costs; and a better mobile web experience through 3G networks with richer screens.
The code can be found under the Android Open Source Project, the open source initiative for Android now available at source.android.com.
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