Google Launches Open Mobile Platform, No GPhone
No, my friends, sadly there was no big Gphone announcement. Or at least not the one you were all hoping for. You’ll all have to snuggle up with your cold iPhone for at least one more night.
What we did get from Google today, however, was an introduction to Android, an open mobile platform for a Linux phone that can run mobile Google apps and mashups based off those applications.
Google’s Director of Mobile Platforms Andy Rubin described Android as:
"The first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices. It includes an operating system, user-interface and applications — all of the software to run a mobile phone, but without the proprietary obstacles that have hindered mobile innovation."
So basically, everyone can create their own Gphone? Sweet?
But that’s not all we got from Google today. We were also introduced to the new Open Handset Alliance, a collection of 34 mobile leaders tasked with "accelerat[ing] innovation in mobile and offer[ing] consumers a richer, less expensive, and better mobile experience". Aw, how sweet. The Alliance includes top mobile dogs like Sprint, T-Mobile, NTT Docomo, China Mobile, Telefonica, Telecom Italia, Motorola, Samsung, HTC, Qualcomm, Intel, and others. Really, the only players not (yet?) participating seem to be Nokia and AT&T. Curious. Wonder where they are today?
While there’s no physical Gphone today, Eric Schmidt said he expects manufacturers to begin shipping phones complete with the Android platform as early as the second half of 2008. Andy Rubin called Android an important part of Google’s goal to provide information to users wherever they are.
I don’t know, I think you have to give props to Google here. In a matter of a week they’ve managed to quiet the Facebook-will-beat-Google-in-social-networking rumors and opened the door to a whole new mobile landscape. Think about it. As we speak, every social networking site not named Facebook is looking to Google’s OpenSocial to help them leverage their social networking dreams and they’ll also look to Google’s Android to overtake the mobile market and perhaps make it actually profitable.
Suddenly Google has become the center of everyone’s social and mobile universe and all it took was the creation of an android. How very sci-fi and nerdy of them.
If you want some more background information, you can check out this video describing Android: