Monday, September 22, 2008

Android - Google's 'Dream'

Android - another addition to the U.S smart phone industry. The smart phone market boils to two key players - Apple iPhone and it's competitor RIM Blackberry. The irony, however is that nobody even mentions Windows SmartPhones in that list (that has been in the market for quite a while).

Android OS dubbed GPhone, is about to be launched on September 23, 2008 integrated into T-Mobile's HTC phone, and is called 'Dream'. This would definitely spark a fierce competition between Dream and iPhone during the Christmas period.

Built on the Linux kernel, Android is a so-called open platform where nobody is charged for using it on the phone or for building applications on the phone. Though iPhone has a similar set up for its users and developers where millions of iPhone applications have been downloaded - the catch is that, all applications will have to be available only through iTunes store.

The highlights of Android is guessed to be
  1. Mobile OS-Linux that will include a in-built browser, 2D and 3D graphics, SQLite DB, video and audio playback, GSM, Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G wireless, camera, compass, GPS - that's a standard, neat list
  2. QWERTY keyboard based touch screen with haptic feedback (You can feel the bumps of keys and virtual games)
  3. A complete Java based development environment with a plug-in to Eclipse.
  4. Core applications built with OS - GMail, GDocs, Maps
  5. The price tag is guessed to be around $199 to position itself with iPhone, and to be a direct compeititor. There are rumors that it would be $150 for a existing customer account upgrade.

For an Android walk-through, click here and more screenshots here

As always, an average customer knows what he wants to do with a phone: make and receive calls, send and receive text messages and access some basic online information. However, a couple of months into using iPhone, I can see the excessive dependence on information on the go - Maps, search for business in a locality, emails, messengers and increased productivity.

This launch will be closely watched by a users and developers alike. Unlike iPhone, the impact this launch will cause will not be effectively gauged right after the release - it will take sometime to sink into the minds of people as yet another smart phone. This phone will certainly make its impact on the cost of the mobile and its applications.