Some of the biggest mobile companies in the world have joined forces with search giant Google to create an open platform for mobile devices that will allow developers to collaborate more easily to power thousands of new mobile phone products.
The Open Handset Alliance, codenamed Android, comprises Google along with T-Mobile, HTC, Qualcomm, Motorola and China Mobile to name a few.
The aim of Android is to develop technologies that will lower the cost of developing and distributing mobile devices and services.
It will create a “mobile software stack” that will consist of an operating system, middleware, user-friendly interface and applications.
Consumers should expect the first phones based on Android to be made available in the second half of next year.
Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said the partnership will unleash the potential of mobile technology for billions of mobile users around the world.
“A fresh approach to fostering innovation in the mobile industry will help shape a new computing environment that will change the way people access and share information in the future,” Schmidt said.
“Today’s announcement is more ambitious than any single ‘Google Phone’ that the press has been speculating about over the past few weeks. Our vision is that the powerful platform we’re unveiling will power thousands of different phone models,” Schmidt added.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin reflected on how he and Larry Page used whatever open software existed in 1997 to bring about the innovation that led to Google’s existence.
“As I look at it and reflect 10 years ago I was sitting in a small grad student cubicle with fellow students and we were able to build incredible things,” he said. “We had a set of tools that allowed us to do that, all the great open technologies of the time based on Linux, Python, Apache and HTML.
“All those pieces allowed us to do great new innovative things and distribute them to the world. That’s what we’re doing today. We’re creating an open system to distribute all the code and allow people to innovate on today’s mobile devices.
“Today’s devices are more powerful than the big iron I was using 10 year ago. I can’t wait to see what the next generation of innovators can do with these tools,” Brin added.
“Motorola has been advocates of open software platforms and this announcement is not about any one vendor’s product,” explained Ed Zander, chief executive of Motorola. “It is an open source that can be used to create multiple products from multiple providers.
“This initiative will bring a rich consumer experience more rapidly to the market than ever seen before. It will result in mobile devices that are more engaging and easier to use.”
Paul Jacobs of Qualcomm agreed. “The wireless internet is opening up opportunities for the entire industry. It is time to focus on growing the pie rather than cutting it up. This initiative offers the potential for many different operating systems and operating environments to be supported on mobile handsets.”
By John Kennedy