Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Uniqueness of Android – The Mobile Platform from Google

There is a huge furore and expectation in the mobile industry, after the announcement of “Android”, the mobile platform (consisting of an operating system, middleware and key applications), by Google last November. Its ripple effect in the developer community and the services industry is also pretty palpable.

In Google’s typical way, the 10 million dollar awards towards the best android applications had added the required momentum to bring the large developer community into its fold, and at the same time, harvest collective intelligence.

What is so unique about Android?
We have had many mobile OS like the Symbian, Windows Mobile OS, Mac OS X and Linux based Palm Nova, ALP etc, already flooding the market and fragmenting it.
So, why is another OS required?
If we are talking about something very radical, iPhone did it all. It took the market by storm with its mind-boggling features.
With all these in the market, isn’t android late? Still, why the interest?

Market Buy-in

Google has first of all roped in most of the players in the mobile market be it mobile operators, handset manufacturers, mobile application providers or software companies and even some commercialization companies.

The only significant players who are missing from the list for obvious reasons are:
1. Microsoft
2. Apple
3. Nokia
4. Palm
Two Major National US carriers missing are AT&T and Verizon.

Google is planning to keep it open source, the most happening way to get the acceptance in the market

1. It is the only OS so far that allows integration / use of the basic phone features with any externally developed mobile application,
2. It is designed to simplify the reuse of components. Any application can publish its capabilities and any other application can use it. Taking the cue from the enterprise world on service oriented architecture, android has built it into its fundamental architecture
3. It is built on the open Linux Kernel
4. It will be open source
5. Mashup-ready: Embed browser and map views directly in your applications

To the End User:
1. Choice will be unlimited. The end user is not tied to using the basic features of the phone as provided by the handset manufacturer. He could use his own choice from any third party provider as the default feature of the phone
2. The ability to seamlessly integrate core and new applications will produce a new generation of unheard-of applications that are going to change the way the mobile would be used. Like for example, the ability to alert friends who are in the vicinity about your presence or the ability to be notified of all the shops that have a product you are looking for, as you enter a mall.
3. The open platform should provide more cheaper and innovative mobile devices and services
4. Application life cycle and automatic process management frees the end user from worrying about what applications are active
5. Location based services and notifications
6. Standard 2d and 3d graphics with optional acceleration
7. High quality audio/video support including H.264 (AVC).
8. Low power operation

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