Android™ will deliver a complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications. On November 12, we will release an early look at the Android Software Development Kit (SDK) to allow developers to build rich mobile applications.
Android was built from the ground-up to enable developers to create compelling mobile applications that take full advantage of all a handset has to offer. It is built to be truly open. For example, an application could call upon any of the phone's core functionality such as making calls, sending text messages, or using the camera, allowing developers to create richer and more cohesive experiences for users. Android is built on the open Linux Kernel. Furthermore, it utilizes a custom virtual machine that has been designed to optimize memory and hardware resources in a mobile environment. Android will be open source; it can be liberally extended to incorporate new cutting edge technologies as they emerge. The platform will continue to evolve as the developer community works together to build innovative mobile applications.
All applications are created equal
Android does not differentiate between the phone's core applications and third-party applications. They can all be built to have equal access to a phone's capabilities providing users with a broad spectrum of applications and services. With devices built on the Android Platform, users will be able to fully tailor the phone to their interests. They can swap out the phone's homescreen, the style of the dialer, or any of the applications. They can even instruct their phones to use their favorite photo viewing application to handle the viewing of all photos.
Breaking down application boundaries
Android breaks down the barriers to building new and innovative applications. For example, a developer can combine information from the web with data on an individual's mobile phone -- such as the user's contacts, calendar, or geographic location -- to provide a more relevant user experience. With Android, a developer could build an application that enables users to view the location of their friends and be alerted when they are in the vicinity giving them a chance to connect.
Fast & easy application development
Android provides access to a wide range of useful libraries and tools that can be used to build rich applications. For example, Android enables developers to obtain the location of the device, and allows devices to communicate with one another enabling rich peer-to-peer social applications. In addition, Android includes a full set of tools that have been built from the ground up alongside the platform providing developers with high productivity and deep insight into their applications.
What is Android™ and how is it different?
Android is a complete mobile phone software stack. It includes everything a manufacturer or operator needs to build a mobile phone. Android will be made available as open source via the Apache v2 license. Android was designed from the ground up to enable the best user experience possible on a mobile phone. It leverages web and Internet content to provide advanced services such as mobile mashups.
Why did you pick the Apache v2 open source license?
Apache is a commercial-friendly open-source license. The Apache license allows manufacturers and mobile operators to innovate using the platform without the requirement to contribute those innovations back to the open-source community. Because these innovations and differentiated features can be kept proprietary, manufacturers and mobile operators are protected from the "viral infection" problem often associated with other licenses.
When will Android be available?
An early look at the SDK will be available for download on November 12, 2007.
What are the benefits of this platform to developers?
Developers can take advantage of a comprehensive platform that gives them full access to the device, enabling them to develop innovative, integrated applications and more compelling services. Developers will also appreciate the rich built-in libraries that bring powerful and well-developed functionality that can easily be integrated into applications built for the platform. Open Handset Alliance members also plan to make it easier for platform developers to distribute and commercialize their applications.
Can you tell me more about Android's architecture?
Complete documentation will be available on November 12, along with the SDK.
If the Open Handset Alliance is giving it all away for free, how will the platform be differentiated?
Because the Apache license does not have a copyleft clause, industry players can add proprietary functionality to their products based on Android without needing to contribute anything back to the platform. As the entire platform is open, companies can remove functionality if they choose. Applications are not set in stone, and differentiation is always possible. For example, if you want to include Hotmail instead of Gmail, it will not be an issue.
How will the open source effort be managed?
There will be a publicly accessible repository, similar to how the Linux kernel is managed. Each platform module is assigned an owner who validates contributions, and new module additions are governed by the original contributor.