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Android: There's Some Real Software Here

Yesterday, Google made a development version of its Android mobile-phone software available for programmers to play with. Along with downloadable code, documentation and discussion groups, you can also watch a few videos in which various Google types demonstrate how Android's programs work on some test hardware.

It's highly dangerous to judge new software from canned demos, but Android seems to keep things simple: The screens you can see are free of extraneous chrome, more than a little reminiscent of the iPhone, and don't seem to rely on complicated sequences of key presses. To the extent that this limited evidence indicates that Google has spent time upfront to craft a concise, consistent grammar for Android's interface, that's good news; it's harder to clean up a messy set of controls farther along in development.

This, I promise, will be my last post on Android for a while -- it will be months before I will have any production hardware on which I could try out this software. (If you use an iPhone, however, you might see some of Android's code sooner: Android developers have already submitted their improvements to WebKit, the open-source code underneath the iPhone and Mac OS X's Safari browser.)

In the meantime, I'd like to ask any programmers reading this who have downloaded the Android software what they think of it. Would you enjoy writing for this platform?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  November 13, 2007; 2:10 PM ET
Categories:  Gadgets  
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I've downloaded the software, and installed the devkit. I've got to say, I'm impressed. The api is really extensive and well documented, and the whole release has been put together by people who are in the know rather than by a marketing team. The devkit includes an emulator, and it really is bare bones, containing no developed user interfaces for things like sending SMS's, setting clocks etc, although these things are well supported in the API. This means developers really will be writing the core fucntionality of the phone. The core API is implemented in Java, which is unusual as most power mobile phone developers are used to writing in C and C++, so those who were looking at porting their existing product base to the phone are a bit stymied. That said, I can't wait to sink my teeth, and invest some money and time into it.

Posted by: Peter Smith ( | November 13, 2007 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey .. Its Nice to see Android .. Its quite impressive and ahead of Time ( Nokia , Samsung , LG )...

Posted by: Shirish Jambhorkar | November 14, 2007 12:51 AM | Report abuse

Really good impression, I was used to see this kind of architecture on server systems, not on mobiles. Pocket PC is a small, convoluted system, extesible by means of, official name: hacks; on the style of of Apple][ and msdos. Here we have clean and complete structure, with new and interesting paradigms like "intent" and "packaging application state". Let's wait for the performace and stability figure. Well done Gooogle!

Posted by: Gianni Barberi | November 14, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: gfdg | November 16, 2007 12:34 AM | Report abuse

should we write an app to set alarm.Is it not supported by android?is there anything called Gallery? or Settings?

please reply me back at

Posted by: rajitha | November 16, 2007 12:39 AM | Report abuse

Q: Does anyone know if the hardware manufacturers in the group are working on appropriate models?

Posted by: Golo | November 16, 2007 3:48 AM | Report abuse

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