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Google Android Invasion

Posted January 14, 2010 12:00 AM by Kaplin

By now you've probably heard about Google Android due to the recent Android phones that have been released; but, the truth is, Android is a lot more than just a "Google phone". Android is software designed to be a complete platform for mobile devices, which includes an open-sourced, mobile operating system based on a modified Linux kernel.

Because Android is open-source, it is easy for developers to create their own applications for the Android platform. Part of the open-source rules dictates that Google must release the complete source code for every version of the Android software. By releasing the entire source code, programmers can not only develop applications to work with the software easier, but also adapt Google's code in their own way by adding features or making whatever modifications to the operating system they'd like.

Android OS vs iPhone
As far as phones go, the open sourced nature of the OS give Google devices a big advantage over the iPhone. As you probably know, Apple is very strict about which apps are allowed on their devices and are currently in a legal battle with Google over the rejection of the Google Voice application.

iPhone owners might argue that a jailbroken device has much less restrictions, and although that is true, it is an annoyance -- especially when Apple releases their own update and the homebrew community doesn't foster the same big name developer support.

Google has built itself a good library of 1st party internet applications, virtually all of which are available on their mobile devices. Included with every Android phone are the following applications: Gmail, Google Maps, Google Voice, Gchat, YouTube, Google Places, and Andoird Market (Google's version of the iTunes store).

Android's First Attack
The first Android-backed device to hit the market was the HTC Dream, also known as the T-Mobile G1, which was released over a year ago. The handset itself received mixed impressions, but overall reviews for the device, and especially Google's new operating system, were extremely high. People were very excited about what the future could hold for Android devices once Google had time to mature their software and develop an app library.

Since Android 2.0 has been released, homebrewers have been able to successfully install the new operating system on their older Android phones, such as the G1.

Android 2.0 - Eclair
Android 2.0, also known as Eclair (following previous releases codenamed Cupcake and Donut), is already available -- most notably on the Motorola Droid and Google's own Nexus One, have peeked consumer's interest in Android.

One of the biggest features announced with Android 2.0 was that all mobile devices with the upgraded software include free GPS navigation. As you can imagine, stocks of both TomTom and Garmin plunged when Google made this announcement.

Other must have features that were added with version 2.0 include built-in Exchange email support for multiple accounts, integration of many social media services, an upgraded web browser, a multi-touch interface, and upgraded camera software including digital zoom.

Now that the first devices with the improved Android 2.0 software are out and users have even been able to install Android 2.0 on their older Android handsets, this software is finally ready to move on from the early adopter phase to mainstream consumer use.

Android - Not Just for Phones
Although Android is often solely considered a mobile phone platform, that's really just the tip of the iceberg. Google Android is a complete software package that can power laptops, GPS navigators, photo frames, televisions, remote controls, DVR set-top boxes, and much more. Barnes and Noble's new e-reader also runs on Android.

Remember, there is a reason that Google has become one of the largest, most successful companies in the world. The products they make work... very well. Add that to the fact that virtually all of Google's consumer products are free, and they have a winning combo.

Do you think Android will live up to the hype?
Anyone get their hands on an Android device yet?

More Info:
Android, and How It Will Take Over the World
Google: 18 Android Phones Coming This Year, Possibly More
Google Android Sees Second Coming at CES 2010

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#1

Re: Google Android Invasion

01/14/2010 5:37 PM

Great article Kaplin!

I definitely can see Android 2.0 with GPS giving TomTom a run for their money (why buy multiple portables when one does everything?). And I like Google's developer-friendly attitude, more-friendly it seems than Apple's and Nokia's approach to their "app" software folks.

I think the advertising-based "free" revenue model Google uses is a winner in the long term, especially during this tough global economy. Pretty sure Google's recent purchase of electrical power lines in rural areas also factors into their free strategy.

Guess the big question at the moment is whether Android will be usable in China, the way Apple's iPhone is designed to be?

Thanks for the great write-up - I'm already getting hungry for an Eclair!! :)

- Larry

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#2

Re: Google Android Invasion

01/15/2010 5:51 AM

I hope they're going to supply a FREE, very good Anti-Virus, Anti- Anything that can attack me app. As there are people out there, who would love to spoil your fun. Just like the problems we get with PC's. But Apple computers don't seem to come under the same sort of level and severity of attack, as your run of the mill IBM compatible PC does. Or does it?

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Google Android Invasion

01/15/2010 2:12 PM

The main thing to remember here in regard to viruses and trojans is that Android is a modified version of Linux. This makes it very different than a Windows based system. First of all an open-sourced platform will have exponentially more people looking at and working with the code. A result of this is that with more eyes on the code, they will find and fix more security holes.

Another thing to consider is that with android each app or "service" as it's known in unix will have its own user account created for it and that service will only have permissions to modify data within that user account.

Nevertheless the possibility is always still there such as an app that would steal your personal information and one company has already released anti-virus software made specifically for Android.

Check this article for some good info on it.
Android May Not Need Anti-Virus Software

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#3

Re: Google Android Invasion

01/15/2010 8:02 AM

I have a budy that got the Android about two months ago. He loves the thing and I messed around with it for a bit and it is really nice, user friendly, and fast.

I do hope it takes some of the iphone market. I am not opposed to the iphone but Apple needs to be put in there place.

I am looking at both of these phones, as my cell plan ends in February, to upgrade to. I am however weary about the virus attacks that the guest above spoke about. Hopefully that doesn't happen.

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#5

Re: Google Android Invasion

01/17/2010 9:56 AM

I am getting ready to buy a new hand held GPS for hiking. Does anyone know of a hand held Android hikers GPS or software for such? I am using a Blackberry at present. The downside is that Sprint wouldn't cover some areas, so I guess I would need a special new phone with a built in independent GPS. I can use my present phone for most areas,but not with all the hand held GPS features. I would gladly buy a GPS that is Android based?

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Google Android Invasion

01/26/2010 11:07 AM

For those speaking of GPS IS IN THE Droid, the gps system is a condensed TomTom and is in fact better because more open source software have made is easier to communicate and talk to the Tomtom, which is a huge benefit especially when driving. There is a Motorolla Mount for the Droid that you can find here: http://www.motorola.com/Consumers/US-EN/Consumer-Product-and-Services/Mobile+Phone+Accessories/Chargers-and-Adapters/DROID-Phone-Holder-US-EN and the Droid automatically knows when its in car mode as soon as you insert it. It does have a few kinks as long as you don't overload it. I've found the 2 of three rule is good when using the GPS. For example, if your running the droid tomtom, streaming pandora through your car (the analog to digital conversion is amazing by the way), and then you get a phone call, it will take the phone call but then you have to press a button to restore your GPS map (but pandora will resume automatically). Other than that, and especially for your hiking purposes, the Droid should work well for you. Also, you will never have to buy a tomtom, and since tomtom is the top of the line portable GPS to add-on to cars, and is not a negligible amount of money in and of itself, the Droid will be a good investment for a permanent GPS system for you, your hiking experiences and your car. I've found the the gps applications on i-phone are not as spiffy and smooth running as the tomtom that comes with gps, especially considering the i-phone does not have the actual tomtom operating system in the i-phone, and the droid does, so (as an aspring Electrical Engineer hoping to obtain my masters, software engineer, aspiring computer scientist and sometimes hacker) knowledgable in the software and hardware peices of the phone, for whatever its worth I would recommend the Droid. It is also possible to turn your droid into a wireless router if you google instructions online. But if you don't feel comfortable configuring the phone yourself, its easier to set up tethering on your phone to access wireless internet. This could be a good back up in case of on emergency, depending on how far in the middle of nowhere you are hiking, accessing networks is probably unlikely but just in case, having tethering to access internet in case you may need it as a back internet source could be a good safety feature. Instructions and forums on how to do so are here: http://www.gadgetvenue.com/motorola-droid-wifi-tether-unofficially-12241219/ I would also recommend getting ghost armour. Just in case (because I didn't know what it was a year ago), it an awesome custom covers for phones (now also for the Motrolla Droid). If you google multiple youtube videos on ghost armour, you will find it is one of the best safety investment you can buy for your phone, and you will be amazed and the protective features it has and how much it protects against dropping your phone, throwing it, dropping it, or anything else that may happen during a hiking trip. To get your ghost armour look here: http://www.ghost-armor.com/motorola/motorola-droid-mobile-phone/prod_304.html and before you beleive everything the website says, I would recommend googling youtube videos of demonstrations with ghost armour so you feel comfortable with the purchase. My boyfriend just got the ghost armour and it actually is awesome. I plan on getting mine in the next month or so. It's defintiely worth the investment. You can find forums on how to do so step by step here: http://www.gadgetvenue.com/motorola-droid-wifi-tether-unofficially-12241219/

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Google Android Invasion

09/15/2010 6:22 PM

Thanks for your answer. Very comprehensive. I am planning on getting an Android phone, as my Blackberry is not competitive. I am presently with Sprint because of the unlimited program, but will consider all possibilities. I just got to your answer.

All the best,

Ron Wagner

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#8

Re: Google Android Invasion

10/03/2011 8:54 PM

Just a thought

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