Looking Back, Looking Forward ( Part 2 of 3)

Last week I started this mini-series as my way of looking back over 2007 without making one of those cliched top 10 lists that seem to be so popular the last weeks of December. This way I’m not confined to the past and I have a chance to look down the road a little bit and talk about what we might expect in 2008 from Google and the Open Handset Alliance.

While it was rumored for months, the gPhone never showed up. Instead, his bigger, badder brother, Android, did. Android was the open source operating system that was going to run thousands, if not millions, of ‘gPhones’. Designed as an initiative of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), Android was announced as the platform that would be showing up on handsets made by LG, Motorola, Samsung, and HTC. The OHA is comprised of mobile operators, software companies, commercialization companies, semiconductor companies, and handset manufacturers. Notable names were Intel, Texas Instruments, nVidia, eBay, Synaptics, T-Mobile, Sprint, and of course Google.

Even with all of the great companies involved, Android was not met without criticism. Right away people were taking shots at Andy Rubin, the Director of Mobile Platforms for Google as well as the CEO of Android. They were quick to point out past ventures and projects that are not around any longer. Two of the biggest names to throw rocks at Android were John Dvorak and Robert Scoble. Both had different reasons for trying to knock it down a notch or two. To me, Dvorak’s comments were far more off the mark. In fact, I recently sat down with two other AndroidGuys to go over his piece from November 6th. We spent about 20 minutes picking it apart and are planning to release the podcast of it later this week.

Android itself also saw its share of negative press a few weeks back when a small segment of developers voiced concerns over the first release of the Software Developers Kit. Terms like buggy, incomplete, and frustrating were thrown around while Google was called unresponsive to developer complaints. While it was a hot topic for around 2-3 days, the subject cooled once people realized that we’re dealing with a pre-release version months before hitting the market. In the end, it seemed like a select group of developers getting a lot of press. Much ado about nothing.

We’re still a good six months away from Android hitting the streets on phones, but that doesn’t mean we have to wait that long to see it in action. Over the last few months, we saw pictures of it running on a reference board as well as a black version of that ugly white handset from the announcement video. Even more promising is the recent rumor of Google’s two-table setup at the Mobile World Congress expo. February is right around the corner, so we’ll see what goes down in Barcelona. Hopefully, we’re only a few short weeks away from the next level in mobile technology.

Check back soon for part three of this series! A few of the topics I’ll be covering include other Google initiatives, changes made by network providers, and of course, the 700MHz spectrum auction.

If you didn’t get a chance to read part one, click here.

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