Linked by diegocg on Mon 12th Nov 2007 19:45 UTC
Google Google has finally released Android, the opensource platform that will be used by the Open Handset Alliance. The platform is based in the Linux kernel, freetype, sqlite, webkit, a 2D/3D subsystem and other pieces, but the application framework is built in Java using a embedded-optimized VM called Dalvik. The SDK is available for Linux, Mac and Win and it includes an emulator. Video here. Update: The WebKit browser failed to render the desktop version of OSNews, so now we feed it our mobile one.
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Uninspiring
by BryanFeeney on Mon 12th Nov 2007 20:16 UTC
BryanFeeney
Member since:
2005-07-06

It's an amalgam of open-source technologies, with a basic Java API on top of it: it's Hibernate/Struts for phones, except not as advanced as either. And a quick look would seem to indicate that the XML schema they've settled on is a bit ugly, e.g.

<TextView id="@+id/text1" xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
android:layout_width="wrap_content"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"/>

It depends how well it's dressed up, but it's a disappointing effort for the amount of time they've ostensibly spent developing this software stack. The absence of an equivalent to iPhone's LayerKit is particularly telling - Unix desktops are already using high-level abstractions like Cairo and Arthur and others and Apple has CoreImage, and LayerKit on the Mac: OpenGL and SDL simply doesn't cut it.

It does look like they've invested time in performance, but the usefulness of that is open to question given how fast mobile hardware is developing (even bog-standard Nokias come with some basic 3D acceleration these days). Frankly, I can't see many people flocking to use it, which is why loads of companies have "joined" the alliance, but none have made any public commitment to use the software in a future product.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Uninspiring
by BlackJack75 on Mon 12th Nov 2007 23:04 in reply to "Uninspiring"
BlackJack75 Member since:
2005-08-29

I think you underestimate one crucial point : the ease of development. Currently we have three choices:

- Windows Mobile: can't comment, my religion forbids it.

- J2ME (what I do everyday): Runs on pretty much every device but it just has too many limitations in every possible place. Even with a signed application there just is no way in hell you can make things easy for the end-user. Trust me, we try.

- Symbian: once you've read how to do a string comparison in Symbian, you know why you don't go further unless forced.

Android (as it seems to me) is bringing fast development on the mobile. It is finally a platform for which you can program using a welcoming language, java, while still being able to reach most of the phone's features (eg. acting upon a phone call).

Well, maybe I am wrong, but I for one, after having watched thre three introduction videos, am pretty excited.

Edited 2007-11-12 23:04

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: Uninspiring
by somebody on Tue 13th Nov 2007 09:56 in reply to "Uninspiring"
somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

...

basically, you adore Apple and IPhone and you're scared something else would pop out and be cool at the same time.

Face it, eclipse plugins (with RAD wrappers for development) around XML can pop out any time and don't even need to be developed by Google. All that google needs is proof of concept.

It does look like they've invested time in performance, but the usefulness of that is open to question given how fast mobile hardware is developing (even bog-standard Nokias come with some basic 3D acceleration these days). Frankly, I can't see many people flocking to use it, which is why loads of companies have "joined" the alliance, but none have made any public commitment to use the software in a future product.

This is open platform (or at least how I understand it, but I'm not so in mobile development). So, it can evolve. But evolving from open platform is much easier than evolving from closed one.

Lets take your favorite IPhone, closed hardware with closed platform. All evolving goes to Apple. Its not better than Symbian, heh even Symbian runs on different hardware,

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Uninspiring
by BryanFeeney on Tue 13th Nov 2007 10:30 in reply to "RE: Uninspiring"
BryanFeeney Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't adore the iPhone, I simply believe it has set the standard for user-interface design in the next generation of phones. This hasn't addressed that, if anything, it's a replacement for the current generation of Blackberry / SmartPhone software.

Nor did I say it was pointless or useless, I said it was disappointing and uninspiring. Creating a struts-style library isn't particularly difficult, nor is creating a limited number of data-abstraction layers.

As a result, while it evidently simplifies mobile development, I don't think it has the necessary hook to really grab mobile-phone makers attention, and so is unlikely to succeed on a large scale. Look at it this way, Google almost certainly contacted Nokia about this platform several months ago, but Nokia have chosen to use Symbian for the iPhone clone, and their own software stack for their own phones.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Uninspiring
by somebody on Tue 13th Nov 2007 11:59 in reply to "RE: Uninspiring"
somebody Member since:
2005-07-07

I don't adore the iPhone, I simply believe it has set the standard for user-interface design in the next generation of phones. This hasn't addressed that, if anything, it's a replacement for the current generation of Blackberry / SmartPhone software.

If you take like that (replacement for blackberry), then I agree.

Nor did I say it was pointless or useless, I said it was disappointing and uninspiring. Creating a struts-style library isn't particularly difficult, nor is creating a limited number of data-abstraction layers.

You're wrong and right here. Creating library is simple, yes. Having it politically, religiously and API wise correct is something completely different, it is as hard as it gets. By watching those videos I got the impression that was their main goal.

And as every open platform, it is burden of community to drive it forward with extensions (development and feature wise).

btw, I can't really understand what you expected. It is OS template that is providing background services to be integrated in phones. It is not compiz where you can easily make video that impresses masses. Did you expect to see some bling, gods revelation or what?

As a result, while it evidently simplifies mobile development, I don't think it has the necessary hook to really grab mobile-phone makers attention, and so is unlikely to succeed on a large scale. Look at it this way, Google almost certainly contacted Nokia about this platform several months ago, but Nokia have chosen to use Symbian for the iPhone clone, and their own software stack for their own phones.

Again wrong here. Google has THE name. And their brand is the one that will push this to vendors.

If Nokia would do as you suggest it should have already done, Nokia would not exist anymore (sorry, but corporations without brains cease to exist). You can't base your present on something that doesn't exist yet. But you can base your future on that (that is, if that something already exists and has proved it self).

Main feature that will drive Android is Google it self. If we look at GMail. It is a f***ing mail. The fact that people know its Google mail is driving it, not the features.

Reply Parent Score: 2