We expected Google to break the seal on their mobile OS plans today, and they didn’t disappoint. The search giant has formally announced their plans for the mobile space (in part, at least) with their new open mobile operating system, Android. Google has also announced the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) – a group of 33 (so far) tech and wireless companies devoted to developing the for the Android platform.
The OHA aims to improve the user experience for mobile users by supporting the open-source Android mobile OS – which is basically a Linux-based mobile platform (OS, software, user interface). Android will give developers and users free reign over any supported device’s functions – any application will be able to use any function on the phone, and users will be able to fully customize their phone’s interface on a whim.
“Today’s announcement is more ambitious than any single ‘Google Phone’ that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks,” said Google chief executive Eric Schmidt. “Our vision is that the powerful platform we’re unveiling will power thousands of different phone models.”
Developers will be able to sink their teeth into the Android SDK when it’s released on November 12, but consumers will have to wait until at least halfway through 2008 to see the first Android-based handset hit the market.
Forget the GPhone, Google is set to shake up the mobile industry with an entirely fresh approach to the user experience – which is to say, a user experience that can be fundamentally customized to carrier/manufacturer/user needs. Android-based handsets will be more like a toolbox filled with features that the user/carrier/manufacturer can leverage with their own, custom solutions. Want to take a picture? Customize your Android phone with your favorite camera application. Need your contact viewer to integrate with the GPS module? Whip up your own application to do just that. The possibilities are endless – and incredibly enticing. Bring on Android!