Friday 16 November 2007

Future of Mobile: Android and the Open Handset Alliance (OHA)

by Dave Burke (Google)

Software development kit released on Monday:

  • Exposes Java for application developers -- SDK is based on Eclipse (works on Windows, Mac & Linux)

  • Free phone stack provides at least 10% reduction of bill of materials for device
  • Applications run as individual Linux processes with different user ids
  • Complete two-way sync for user data (google gears?)
  • Leveraging open APIs to expose application functionality
  • Scalable to work with different device capabilities & input

  • Component-based -- user can replace components
    • e.g.
  • Overall architecture:
    • has freetype, media framework, SGL, OpenGL, LibWebCore (part of WebKit) libraries

    • Java runs in Dalvik Java VM
    • Four core apps: home, dialer, contacts, browser (can all be swapped out)
    • Can run MIDP applications in parallel
  • Full source will be released with first handset
  • Browser has visual history
  • Can use Google Maps as a control in your own applications
  • Example development process:
    • Emulator is real ARM emulator
    • Can create user interface declaratively using XML
    • Plugin picks up ids from UI XML and makes them available in java code completion
    • Can extend javascript in running browser component with native Java code
    • manifest file has permissions where can add security permissions
  • Application Developer Challenge will distribute $10 million in awards to developers of applications for the platform
    • Developers retain all intellectual property and other rights to their applications while granting Google a license to evaluate and test the application for purposes of the Challenge as well as a license to display the application to promote the Android platform. More information will be provided when we make the Terms and Conditions available
  • Android has simpler security system (for the user) than MIDP -- need details here

  • Already works with real handsets but not available to public
  • WebKit engine supports Netscape-style plugins

  • Released under Apache license at the moment
  • Designed for high-end platforms that include an MMU
  • Own set of APIs providing full access to the device as opposed to MIDP
  • Java is 1.5 so has generics etc.

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