After the recent successful launch of their web browser, Google Chrome, the search giant is now getting ready to release another long awaited, but not as surprising new product – the new Android mobile phone, by the last quarter of the year.
The first Android handset, which will be called ‘Dream’, has been designed by HTC, a Taiwanese smart-phone company, and will be run by T-Mobile.
Android version 1.0, which will be based on an open source platform, will have to take on the likes of the already established iPhone, BlackBerry and Symbian operating systems in the highly competitive smart-phone market.
At present, Research In Motion’s Blackberry is the most sought after handset in the U.S., while Nokia’s Symbian phones are the most wanted worldwide.
Google has been spearheading the collaboration to develop Android in conjunction with several other mobile companies such as T-Mobile, Intel, HTC, eBay, Motorola, LG and Samsung.
The open source system on which Android is based will be able to provide several new features, such as tracking of family members and videos accompanied by local, map-based information.
In contrast to Apple’s policy of monitoring all programs manufactured for its iPhone through their App Store, Android will give complete freedom to its developers. To do this they are introducing the ‘Android Market’ rather than a store to give the feeling of openness. Users will be able to add any programme they find useful or interesting. Some of these programmes will be free, while others will have to be paid for.
Speaking to MSNBC, Francesco Roveta, Director of eBay Mobile, said that there should be no concern regarding lack of quality control in spite of the open market, as eventually, users will only accept programs that are well designed and user friendly. The rest would “rapidly fall into oblivion.”
Gretchen Grisworld, V.P. Marketing at Packet Video, says, “the beauty of an open system is the ability to innovate without restrictions and distribute without boundaries.”
To encourage programme developers, Google has announced prizes worth $10 million, to the top application developers in the Android Developer Challenge, the first phase of which were announced on August 29. One of the winning programmes, Life360, is based on GPS technology and allows users to track family members, store important documents and communicate in emergencies, through its ‘always-on background network connectivity.’
The winners of Android Developer Challenge said that programs such as Life360, GoCart and Locale could not have been created on any other mobile platform, as they were possible to build only in an open environment.