Android gets ready to take on iPhone

Google showed off it's new Android mobile operating system at their developers do in San Fran.

They showed it running on two phones, one a basic version and one with a touch screen that supported 3G.

It seems to operate in a similar fashion to the iPhone with its "home' button and applications accessible via icons. It can utilise systems like accelerometers to measure the devices position, GPS, etc.

Google demo'ed Google Maps which panes in sections as the users moves from location to location.

Though Android is similar to MacOS X on the iPhone, it's different as Apple does not release any of the iPhone's core OS and applications can only be officially distributed through iTunes. Android in theory is completely open and based on Linux (the OS is officially distributed through the Open Handset Alliance) and the development environment is available to anyone (though winners of the Google applications prize are gaining early access to pre-release betas of the new dev systems).

Android could be a real threat to traditional mobile operating systems (WindowsMobile, Symbian, etc) as there are no license fees to pay. Google will leverage Android to move into the hosted app market (which they want to own) as the mobile apps generally are front-ends on to hosted systems.

There are other threats such as LIMO and OpenMoko but currently these are niche players.
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