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Gphone Is A Platform Not A Phone

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I told you...
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Google lifted the lid this evening on its Gphone - except it wasn't a handset at all but an open source mobile phone platform called 'Android' and the formation of the 'Open Handset Alliance' to back it.

Described by the company as "the first truly open and comprehensive platform for mobile devices", Android consists of an OS, user interface and applications with an SDK that will be released to developers on 12 November.

More than 30 technology and mobile leaders have agreed to be launch partners for Android including the notables of Motorola, HTC, T-Mobile and Qualcomm and you can bet more will follow if the platform proves popular.

"We hope to enable an open ecosystem for the mobile world by creating a standard, open mobile software platform," said Andy Rubin, Google Director of Mobile Platforms. "We think the result will ultimately be a better and faster pace for innovation that will give mobile customers unforeseen applications and capabilities."

Unsurprisingly however Google added that it has no plans to stop developing its apps for existing mobile platforms.

So when can we expect handsets? Not for some time. Google says the first wave will not appear until Q3/Q4 2008 so you can safely take out another new 12 month mobile contract and now worry about missing too much.

Given that the hit handset of the year is the infamously locked down (and relocked down and relocked down) iPhone it will be interesting to see how the manufacturers and developers react to Android. Seeing as it is open source however there is nothing to stop crafty programmers stealing all the best parts of the iPhone interface and making it available as a free upgrade for all Android handsets.

Contemplate that for a moment... Yes, this could really work!

Links:
Open Handset Alliance
Google Blog Announcement
Press Release

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