Android UI & First Handsets Unveiled

A highly promising work in progress.

While Google’s open source Android mobile phone OS got us all hot around the sweaty bits and subsequent talk of an actual handset made us positively moist, what we really wanted were some cold, hard photography (and preferably some steamy videos). You got it…

Late yesterday evening, Google lifted the curtain on its prototype software, threw in a couple of tasty development handsets and even posted a video hosted by Sergei Brin and Steve Horowitz. Can’t say fairer than that?

So – presuming you have go straight for the video pr0n link at the end of this article before returning (you did return, right?), what do we learn? Well, certainly everything is a bit familiar currently looking like a cross bread of Windows Mobile and the mobile OS X used on the iPhone with some impressive 3D OpenGL rendering thrown in.

As for the apps, Google Maps – perhaps predictably – already looks great, photo slideshow works well and as for running Quake on any handset… where are my high fives? That said, since Android is being designed for multiple handsets at both the high and low end of the market it has to accommodate both keypad and touch sensitive controls and as such the layout seems to suffer at this stage looking slightly unintuitive on keypads and too small for fingers. Still, we’re talking prototypes here and early ones at that.

As for the handsets, there’s not a lot to say. We have an entry level Palm look-a-like and a flagship HTC look-a-like. It would be interesting to know what horsepower they possess under the hood to run those fancy 3D animations, but otherwise it’s a case of sit tight and wait and see.

Finally for all you eager developers who can’t wait to get your customising mitts on Android, the draw just got even bigger: $10m has been set aside by Google to give prizes to the best applications. The first round will kick off on 2 January and run until 3 March with the top 50 entries receiving $25,000 to fund further development and a chance to win one of 10 $100,000 prizes and ten $275,000 prizes.

The SDK can be found here (and an app building video guide here) so give up your day jobs and ”start coding”.

Get the feeling things are going to become mighty interesting between now and Q3 ’08? Me too…

THAT Android Demo
Android Developer Challenge
Android SDK

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