When Google’s first cell phone ambitions started to fuel public conversation, the mysterious G-phone was a myth as exotic as an udumbara flower and as circulated as a chain email. In November 2007, Google settled the mystery by revealing their plans for Android, a linux based, open-source mobile O.S. platform. Now, there’s a tentative debut deadline for the first Android enabled phone. It will be here by November 10th at the latest, possibly earlier.
The revelation comes by way of FCC device certification documents. Specifically, as part of the FCC device approval process, HTC requested confidential treatment for key parts of their application, including schematics, until November 10.
Since no confidentiality is needed once the device becomes publicly available, many are assuming the phone will be here by that date at the latest. (Nothing rules out an earlier release date).
At this point only a modest schematic (as shown) for the phone being branded the “Dream” is floating around. (The phone has also received its WiFi certification.(PDF))
As noted, Google laid out their plans for Android last November. The platform, which was named after Andy Rubin’s (Google’s mobile guru) prior company, aims to create an open, accessible software environment capable of providing equal access to both the phone’s core applications and third party application suites. Moreover the platform will allow 3rd party applications to be developed and run across the boundaries of different properties and hardware profiles .
Some of the benefits of the approach, to borrow from some of Android’s public specs:
“With devices built on the Android Platform, users will be able to fully tailor the phone to their interests. They can swap out the phone’s homescreen, the style of the dialer, or any of the applications. They can even instruct their phones to use their favorite photo viewing application to handle the viewing of all photos.”
“Android breaks down the barriers to building new and innovative applications. For example, a developer can combine information from the web with data on an individual’s mobile phone — such as the user’s contacts, calendar, or geographic location — to provide a more relevant user experience. With Android, a developer could build an application that enables users to view the location of their friends and be alerted when they are in the vicinity giving them a chance to connect.”
To support Android, industry heavyweights including Intel, Sprint, Samsung, Motorola and others joined together to form the Open Handset Alliance. The combination of hardware, software and telecom companies are collectively pushing the project ahead.
The strategy is a shrewd one on Google’s part. As covered in the prior Metue profile, “In one move their "open" approach creates a bridge that allows Google to cross into a host of private properties which otherwise might have been off limits (at the platform level. Mobile web-access is different). Now, instead of needing singular partnerships, and instead of having to optimize their services (Google software and advertising) for a multitude of different environments, they optimize for just one.”
When the original outline was provided, first phones using Android were projected for fall/winter 2008. That forecast now appears accurate.
Further supporting the “soon to imminent” release expectation, Google today updated the public Android Software Development Kit code too. The new changes, according to website Venturebeat, include kernel related upgrades that are a necessary precursor to the release of a commercial V. 1.0 level of the SDK. According to Venture Beat, the release is “API-stable,” which means that an application built for this SDK will not have to be changed substantially to run on the final build, which will be used for the first phones.”
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