Now that two completely different versions of the software developer’s kit (SDK) have been released, it’s time to assess what’s being said about Google’s foray in the mobile arena. Did it improve on the initial offering? What changes were made? Does Android look like it’s going to live up to its hype?
Around 4-6 weeks ago, there was a lot of backlash surrounding the SDK and how it was buggy, missing vital information, and not quite what was expected. Google’s name was being tarnished by bloggers and tech sites as word quickly spread that they were “being unresponsive to the developers” working on Android. After a week or so of hype, the consensus among bloggers and fanboys was that people were just expecting way too much out of a pre-release SDK.
Fast forward to Mobile World Congress (MWC) and the public unveiling. The first few days of MWC had almost all interested parties singing Android’s praises as they found it to be considerably fast and intuitive, even on phone technology that was two generations old. “Imagine how fast it will be on new hardware!” A couple days later, Google drops the new SDK on the masses and all of a sudden, everyone divided themselves like some kind of Lord of the Flies tribes. Those who love it and see the future capabilities and those who loathe it and feel like it will end up being an also-ran in the cell phone market.
Did people really like the initial version that much? Why don’t they like the new version? I have my reasons and I’d like to share them with you. No matter how hard people try not to, they are going to subconsciously compare every other operating system to Apple’s iPhone. For this specific reason, they will be wrong in their assessment of Android.
See, the iPhone is not so much about what you can do with a mobile device. Rather, it’s about how it looks doing it. For those who understand and see the potential, Android is a completely different animal that, in concept, offers more. Android is about what mobile devices and phones will be capable of first. How it looks will be secondary. Having an open source OS, you’ll see skins and graphical user interfaces all the live long day. Like snowflakes, no two Android phones will look the same.
One must remember that an SDK is only the backbone for how things will operate. A good comparison would be to picture Windows on your desktop without any customization or programs installed. It’s up to you to make it run the way you want and look the way you like. And for those talking about all of the security concerns, stop worrying. Linux has proven to be a lighter, more secure operating system than Windows.
Take a look at that picture right there. See that? It’s the closest thing to an actual device running Android yet. That is, aside from the prototypes we’ve been seeing all along. Incredibly bulky and completely un-sexy, we’d still rock the crap out of it. Why? Because nobody else has one yet. Imagine the looks on faces when you break that bad boy out. “Oh this? Well, it’s the future my good man.“
For a more complete gallery of the device, head over to Engadget Mobile. Apparently, Texas Instruments is slated to start shipping this thing to developers within the next two months. Specs include their OMAP 3430 CPU running at 600 Mhz and video output at 720p.
Rather than do a post for each tech site out there, we’re going to do a meta-review for all of the initial reactions coming in from around the web. We’ll dock this one at the top of the site and continue to add to it throughout the week. Bookmark this post or subscribe to the feed as we’ll be busy with this one!
It’s definitely very promising,” an analyst for technology research firm Gartner, Carolina Milanesi, told AFP. “This means that we should be on track to see commercial devices in the second half of 2008. Yahoo! News
The interface was quite snappy — it was almost exactly as swift as the emulated software on any PC — and it looks good and tight with lots of nice transitions et al. Crunch Gear
The interface is dead quick and rather glorious, and while we had no internet connectivity on it, we still were able to have a peek at various applications. In a few words, we like what we see. Engadget Mobile
The one thing I will say is, Android is fast, fast, fast. Like, OMG fast. Faster than any phone UI I’ve had a chance to play with before. Information Week
… you won’t have to wait that long until you can stick it to Microsoft with a Google phone – they’ll be out in the second half of this year. Sign us up. T3.com
Showing that you don’t have to be cutting edge to run Android, Qualcomm was showing off a demo board, featuring 3G connectivity, GPS, Wi-Fi and a number of other elements. Different from the ARM demo from Monday, Qualcomm showed how 3D graphics would enable software developers to create state of the art interactive graphics.
LG plans to release this as of yet unnamed handset by the end of 2008 or the beginning of 2009. It should be noted that LG doesn’t currently offer handsets for T-Mobile, so could this be a hint of a handset that Sprint intends to carry? Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available to us.
Ok, so you’ve seen the reference models and prototypes from hardware and chip makers. You’re following the MWC show as closely as you can from a PC. You’re looking all over for an Android phone, a gPhone, a Google Phone, whatever… You might as well stop right now. Do not expect to see an actual device from the 4 founding members of the Open Handset Alliance this week. The companies (LG, Samsung, Motorola, and HTC) have not hinted at anything being revealed at Mobile World Congress. From day one, the target date for Android-based phones has been slated for “Second half of 2008” so let’s be patient.
If you’re relatively new to the whole Android thing, here’s what we know so far. Samsung has promised an Android phone by early 2009 and LG Electronics says the same thing, if not late 2008. HTC is expected to bring a handset to T-Mobile by the end of this year. It could be 4-6 more months before you get to see something brand new. For now, you’ll have to make do with prototypes showing off the operating system.