Google Opens Source Code for Android

October 21st, 2008 at 12:00 am

android open source project mobile g1 gphone mobile operating system platform ad-supported apps

On the eve of the release of the T-Mobile G1 or the famed Gphone, the first Google Android powered mobile phone, Google is not only shipping pre-orders early but also releasing the entire source code for the mobile operating system.

Android was designed and promised to be open source since its conception.  Last year when the buzz about Google going into the mobile phone market started, many speculated three things, Google was going to make their own hardware, Google was going to make their own wireless carrier or Google was going to make a platform for free where they would make money off the best way they know how – ad supported apps.  Apparently the latter only came true.

Today, along with the announcement made on the Android Open Souce Project website, Google is also inviting developers to take advantage of the openness of the platform.

"Android is not a single piece of hardware; it’s a complete, end-to-end software platform that can be adapted to work on any number of hardware configurations.  Everything is there, from the bootloader all the way up to the applications.  And with an Android device already on the market, it has proven that it has what it takes to truly compete in the mobile arena.

Even if you’re not planning to ship a mobile device any time soon, Android has a lot to offer.  Interested in working on a speech-recognition library?  Looking to do some research on virtual machines?  Need an out-of-the-box embedded Linux solution?  All of these pieces are available, right now, as part of the Android Open Source Project, along with graphics libraries, media codecs, and some of the best development tools I’ve ever worked with.

Have a great idea for a new feature?  Add it!  As an open source project, the best part is that anyone can contribute to Android and influence its direction.  And if the platform becomes as ubiquitous as I hope it will, you may end up influencing the future of mobile devices as a whole. "

What does this mean for the mobile industry then?  Well, much like the internet, mobile is the next frontier for information availability and access.  Day after day we are seeing faster and more powerful mobile devices hit the market.  Alongside, wireless carriers are providing more access to their 3G networks.  Moreover, 4G technologies are already in the pipeline and we are also beginning to see its emergence in the market through WiMax enabled devices. 

With all these going on, Google is setting itself to be smack down in the middle of it.  By opening the Android source code, Google hopes that every mobile device would use the Android platform where they could do business through ads instead of software or hardware sales.  This technique has propelled Google to the top of the food chain in the web industry and now they’re doing it all again in mobile.