Google announced today that they are not in fact developing a single phone, but rather an ostensibly open-source mobile operating system called Android. Google stock prices jumped from $710 per share to $730 per share this morning on the news.After months if not years of speculation,
For all the "wow" everyone was hoping for from a GPhone, this is probably a much smarter move. Just as all non-dominant players in the social networking market have to give some thought to teaming up under the Google-led OpenSocial, so too will all mobile manufacturers likely think hard about leveraging the Google-led Android in the face of the iPhone's threat to remake their industry. Google won't be able to match Apple's eye-candy, but they may be able to offer far more utility in a mobile OS that's still far more pleasing to use than almost anything else on the market today.
Android was developed in co-ordination with the 30 members of the Open Handset Alliance. Participating vendors include Motorola, Qualcomm, HTC and T-Mobile; but not AT&T and Verizon.
Android will be available for any phone manufacturer to install and build on top of. It will allow for extensive use of Google applications, mashups based on those applications combined with third party apps and will in time live on portable devices other than phones, like car navigation systems.
Google says that some of the partner companies are aiming for a late 2008 release of Android enabled phones. The developers' SDK will be available in about a week. The OS is based on Linux and Java.