Google is leading a cross industry group proposing an open software platform based on Mobile Linux for mobile devices which also includes heavyweights such as Qualcomm and Motorola.
The platform, which has been dubbed Android, also has the backing of the 34 members of the Open Handset Alliance.
Essentially, the Android platform consists of an operating system, middleware, user interface and applications software which will be available to developers under an open-source licence.
This means developers in handset and operating companies will be able to customise the software in their products more cost-effectively.
According to Ken Klein, CEO of Open Handset Alliance memebr Wind River, the company is investing to help deliver on its massive promise: faster time-to-market and dramatically lower bill-of-material costs for Linux-based phones.
“As a Linux commercialization partner for the Alliance, we’ve made significant contributions to ensure an optimised Linux distribution that delivers the highest level of silicon performance, and to provide the Linux services necessary for OEMs to quickly create Android-based handsets,” said Klein.
The hope is this will drive further innovation in the introduction of new mobile services such as mobile Internet. The aim is to support Java ME-based mobile services on the Android platform.
“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,” said Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt.
“Our vision is that the powerful platform we’re unveiling will power thousands of different phone models,” said Schmidt.
According to René Obermann, CEO at Deutsche Telekom, parent company of T-Mobile: “We see the Android platform as an exciting opportunity to launch robust wireless Internet and Web 2.0 services for T-Mobile customers in the US and Europe in 2008.”
The first software development kit will be available next week and first commercial implementations of Android are expected to be in the second half of 2008.