Google Blogoscoped

Monday, November 12, 2007

Google Android: First Look, Developer Kit, and Competition

Google created a video showcasing Android, the Google-initiated, Linux-based open source mobile operating system being backed by the recently announced – and again Google-initiated – Open Handset Alliance. This thing has been coined "Gphone" in many of media's (often misleading) reports on the product, though Google's Steve Horowitz says it's not a Gphone, but allows to create "thousands of Gphones."

The presented demo looks quite good, but Android's capabilities depend on the hardware; in a relative large-screen, high-power phone environment it's coming close to the iPhone, while on lower-end hardware it might be more comparable to the Symbian mobile OS. But even with Android, it might well be that usability-wise, nothing will play in the league of the iPhone for quite some time to come.

Developer Kit Released

Google's SDK (software development kit) for Android is live now too. The tool is a 55-59 MB download for Windows XP/ Vista, Mac OS X and Linux. "Developers will also need Eclipse 3.2 or later, with Java Development Tools and the Android SDK's plugin, or Java and Javac 1.5 or 1.6; Apache Ant; an integrated development environment; and Python 2.2 or later," Google adds in a press release.

"The dev environment (Eclipse) even has a nice emulator, so you can see how it's going to work on an Android phone," Reto Meier comments in the forum.

A $10 Million Android Competition

Also, Google announced a 10 million dollar heavy developer competition for the best programs people create for Android. Individual prices range from $25,000 (as recognition for the 50 "most promising entries", as Google's press release on the subject puts it) to $275,000. The first phase of the competition runs from January 2nd through March 3rd, 2008. The second phase will take place in the second half of 2008, Google says. Clearly, Google's money is intended to push the platform by creating buzz, but also by generating potentially useful applications that pull end users.

You want to join the competiton? Here's a bit of Java source code Google presents as "Hello World" introductory sample (I removed the comments) – if this looks like it might be something for you, I suppose $275,000 is *cough* not shabby (I usually prefer creating web apps, as they can – theoretically – work across devices, even on cellphones... but this API may give you the power to access the full phone and all its capabilities):

import android.os.Bundle;

public class HelloWorld extends Activity {

    @Override protected void onCreate(Bundle icicle) {

The actual contents of the Hello World aren't in that source bit, but contained in XML files probably similar to this XML and this other XML. There's also a video demo for creating your first Android application.

[Thanks Reto!]


Blog  |  Forum     more >> Archive | Feed | Google's blogs | About


This site unofficially covers Google™ and more with some rights reserved. Join our forum!