07 Jan 2008

review of Google’s Mobile OS: Android

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or perhaps, aren’t interested in new and cool technologies, you must have heard of the iPhone.

The iPhone is a fantastic piece of technology, that goes FAR beyond microsoft’s very slowly improving Windows Mobile OS.

The iPhone hardware is fantastic, and the software is running a Darwin 9 kernel (same as Leopard). The biggest problem is that Apple has become very greedy.

They make AT+T pay them 10% of every iPhone users' bill.

They also have been extremely against anyone customizing, or modifying the interface, or adding apps. Quite ridiculous, when you consider the fact that most of the people who are willing to blow that much money on a tech device want to fiddle with it.

The other problem is that the iPhone is tied down to AT+T, which has a pathetic 3G network (and the iPhone runs on the ancient EDGE network).

In comes Google with its mobile Operating System: Android.

Android has been in the works for at least 2 1/2 years, and runs on the latest 2.6.23 linux kernel.

Also, it uses the open source webkit rendering engine. (same as used by Safari).

The SDK (Software Development Kit) is pretty good. It lacks some documentation, but has lots of good examples. The fact that it runs linux also helps for those of us who prefer that platform for coding on anyway.

It seems to be almost a blend of the iPhone and Windows Mobile.

The Today Screen is like WM, yet the core aim of the project is more like that of the iPhone.

It’s not fancy with the graphics, but it’s perfectly functional, unlike WM, that still requires either an accurately aimed stylus, or a separate application such as PocketCM.

It also, obviously has google Maps, and an email client.

Overall, I think my predictions should be obvious.

It will be an iPhone for the masses.

If you like the iPhone, but are a cheap-skate, if you like the iPhone but you hate AT+T, if you like the iPhone, but you hate Apple’s greedy/proprietary-ness, if you love all things Google, if you love Linux/Open Source stuff, then android is for you.

Despite Steve Ballmer, and his useless counter arguments (like actually daring to defend Vista), there is no stopping Google, or Android.

I’m sure by 2009 all the tech guys will be running around with Android. (I personally hope to have one by Q4 2008)

Best thing is, I’ll only have to upgrade my phone if I want better hardware. All the software updates will be free, and I’ll be able to program my own stuff too, in Java.